Coach Gus Bradley rips into Jaguars after latest setback, a mistake-filled, 38-31 loss at Bucs

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TAMPA, Florida — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley had somehow managed to stay positive.

Through all the growing pains, all the costly mistakes, all the mind-numbing losses, Bradley remained upbeat and optimistic with his team.

His approach changed dramatically Sunday.

Bradley ripped into his players following a 38-31 loss at Tampa Bay, his team's 12th consecutive road loss. The Jaguars (1-4) turned the ball over twice, gave up six sacks, had several special teams meltdowns and allowed 183 yards rushing.

And Bradley had seen enough.

"I'm hoping that this setback shocks us to get things right, you know," said Bradley, who fell to 8-29 in three seasons. "I believe in these guys. The reason I'm upset is they're capable of better. That's the reason I'm upset. I'm not upset because we're not very good. We're capable of being better and we're not showing it. That's what frustrating.

"You say, 'Hey Gus, you said this was built.' It is built. We've got enough good players in that locker room do better than what we're doing on the field today. That's a fact. I've always tried to be honest with everybody — the fans and you guys — and that's how I'm feeling."

Players said it was the most frustrated and annoyed they've seen Bradley during his tenure.

"He went in on us," veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis said. "Enough is enough. That's the message he sent. We can't keep doing this. It's old now. The excuses are old. Being young and all that, that's old. At some point you've got to grab the bull by the horns and control it."

Jacksonville did little right.

Blake Bortles completed 23 of 33 passes for 303 yards, with a career-high four touchdown passes and an interception. Allen Robinson had seven receptions for 72 yards and two scores. And Allen Hurns caught a TD pass for the third consecutive week, finishing with five catches for 116 yards.

But Bortles overthrew Robinson twice on deep passes and threw an interception near the sideline while missing Robinson running wide open across the middle of the field. Bortles also was sacked a season-high six times.

The offensive miscues weren't even close to being the team's biggest problem.

The league's fourth-ranked defense against the run was gashed early and often. Doug Martin ran 24 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and Charles Sims added 51 yards on the ground.

"We didn't show up today in a lot of different ways," defensive tackle Roy Miller said. "We got to go out there and figure this out. It's on us. Everybody's tired of putting in all the work and not seeing the benefits of it. Enough is enough."

There were other issues, too.

Running back Corey Grant, an undrafted rookie from Auburn and fifth on the depth chart, fumbled a pitch near the goal line late in the third quarter and with Jacksonville leading 24-23. Tampa Bay recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.

"It's not a great feeling, especially with the part of the game it was," said Grant, who added that it was his first fumble since his freshman year in high school. "I feel like I was ready. That's just playing football. That's from Pop Warner league. That's just a mistake. I learn from it and keep going."

Even more egregious was running back Bernard Pierce's special teams gaffe in the second quarter. Pierce had a clear shot at tackling punt returner Bobby Rainey near the sideline, but for some reason, turned and started blocking a Bucs player. It was almost as if Pierce thought the Jaguars were returning the punt. Rainey ran by for a 58-yard gain that set up Tampa Bay's first touchdown.

"I honestly don't know what happened," Pierce said. "I don't know. I really don't have an answer for you."

Bradley knew exactly what happened: his team was outplayed again.

"We're very capable of playing better than we did," Bradley said. "And we didn't. We missed it. Again. Hopefully the shock gets us to where we go, 'Let's bow up to it and let's go take responsibility and let's really put our mindset to get this done right.'"

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