JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – After tensions flew high on Day 2 of the Buccaneers’ joint training with the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville resulting in three fights and a heated verbal exchange, the Bucs faced off against them at EverBank Field before an audience of over 56,000 Thursday night coming in at a preseason deficit–they lost their match at Cincinnati 24-13 last week, while the Jaguars defeated the New England Patriots 31-24. The Bucs and Jags faced off in the 2016 preseason as well, resulting in a Buccaneers victory of 27-21. Tonight made their twelfth preseason match, with the Jaguars currently leading 7-4.
First Quarter: The first close call came early. At 12:45 in the first quarter, Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles passed to T.J. Yeldon, who was tackled by Tampa’s Kwon Alexander. Jacksonville recovered the ball with a gain of two yards to 3rd and 9. T.J. Yeldon subsequently sustained a hamstring strain, and his return was questionable.
The Buccaneers got on the board on their second scoring drive of 11 plays and 83 yards, capped off by a two-yard run by running back Doug Martin. However, kicker Nick Folk’s attempt at the extra point was blocked by Jacksonville’s defensive end Calais Campbell, bringing the sore to 6-0 Tampa Bay.
Tampa star running tackle Demar Dotson sustained a groin injury in the first quarter and was removed for the remainder of the game.
Second Quarter: Despite wide receiver Mike Evans’s high frustration during joint practice Tuesday, he came through in a pinch for Winston on the team’s third scoring drive, catching a long pass with a gain of 21 yards. Buccaneers kicker Nick Folk successfully capped off the Bucs’ scoring drive with a 35-yard field goal, bringing Tampa’s lead to 9-0.
In the next major close call of the game, during the Bucs’ fourth scoring drive, Winston’s pass to Mike Evans, which would’ve all but secured another touchdown, was incomplete. During that same scoring drive, while the team was at 3rd and 10, Winston made a last ditch pass mid-sack, but it was incomplete. The team lost a yard on the fourth down. To secure the lead, Folk made a successful 29-yard field goal, bringing Tampa’s lead to 12-0.
In the Jags’ fourth scoring drive, Bortles was sacked by Tampa wide linebacker Lavonte David resulting in a loss of seven yards.
In a tough fourth scoring drive, Jacksonville’s Jason Myers capped it with an attempted field goal, but it landed far left of the goal post.
At 0:24, Winston fumbled the ball, punt return Adam Humphries recovered the ball and carried it into the end zone, but there was no call. After review, the recovery was ruled as no good because the ball was in the air as a result of a fumble.
The first half ended with the Buccaneers saddled with holding penalties and leading with a score of 12-0.
Fourth Quarter: Tampa’s Nick Folk attempted a 47-yard field goal, but missed off to the right of the goal post.
With 7:58 left in the game, the Jaguars scored their first touchdown. Full back Marquez Williams caught the pass and made the close carry to the corner of the end zone. Myers’s extra kick, however, was no good, bringing the score to 12-6.
The Jaguars further reduced the lead with a safety, bringing the final score to 12-8.
While this was a preseason match, Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s standards remain very high, especially for star quarterback Jameis Winston. When asked about Winston’s wild pass during the sack, he said, “That’s not something a quarterback like him plays…Besides that one play, he was sharp.”
The Jaguars have their share of plays to review as well, given the two missed touchdown opportunities in incomplete end zone passes.
The Jacksonville Jaguars next face the Carolina Panthers at EverBank Field on August 24 at 7:30pm, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will next play the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium on August 26th at 7:30pm.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org