Fournette and head coach Bruce Arians expressed disagreement on the play following the Sunday, Nov. 28, victory. It all spawned from Isaiah Rodgers’ 72-yard kick-off return for the Colts after the touchdown. Rodger’s return set the Colts up at the 32-yard line with 10 seconds left before cornerback Pierre Desir sealed a victory for the Bucs.
Arians doubted in hindsight that Fournette taking it 28 yards to the end zone was the best call.
“I think if well all had a do-over, we would have told Lenny to fall down at the two (yard line) and not give them the kick off return,” Arians said.
Fournette didn’t hesitate to accept Arians’ idea.
“If coach wanted that, I would have did it. We didn’t talk about it at all,” Fournette said, who admitted he enjoyed scoring that touchdown. “But it was great capping off the game like that with a punch, and it got scary at the end, but like I say, it’s a team sport, and we came together, and we made it happen.”
Fournette made things happen for the Bucs all day with 100 rushing yards, 31 receiving yards, and four touchdowns overall. He also gave a speech at halftime when the Bucs trailed 24-14 that got the team going again.
Fournette Has No Problem Sharing the Load
While Fournette emerged as the main running back this season, he welcomed Ronald Jones II’s contribution at Indy.
Jones rushed for 37 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. His touchdown put the Bucs ahead to stay in the third quarter, 28-24.
“I think coach did an excellent job of rotating the backs. A lot of fresh legs at the end. Rojo came in and did his job, and as a unit it’s all about winning no matter what it takes,” Fournette said after the game.
Fournette ultimately got the ball with the game on the line, tied 31-31. He rushed for 36 yards on two carries and caught a 13-yard pass during the game-winning drive.
“It means a lot,” Fournette said about the coaches showing that trust. “But you have to earn it, too. That’s doing the reps in practice, going over after practice with Tom (Brady), running the routes that we’re trying to perfect, make sure he’s comfortable throwing us the ball, trusting us, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Before the season, the lead running back role looked like two-player races between Fournette and Jones. Fournette ended up carrying the ball far more and becoming the main starter after Jones’ early struggles.
Jones hasn’t run for more than 63 yards in a game this season while Fournette has 621 yards and seven touchdowns.
Arians Pleased With Jones’ Performance
Regardless of past weeks, Fournette and Jones splitting carries worked for the Bucs and Indy.
“Ro came in and ran his a– off, so Lenny was good and fresh in the fourth,” Arians said after the game.
Jones has 70 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in his past two games.