7:30 PM ET, August 20, 2004
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Jacksonville's defense demonstrated why the Jaguars have a chance to be better this season.
"It's only preseason, and we've got a ways to go, but if tonight is any gauge on how we're going to play in the regular season, I'm very satisfied," defensive tackle Marcus Stroud said after Friday night's 14-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Stroud's linemate John Henderson set the tone for a dominating first half by intercepting a pass on the first play from scrimmage, and the Jaguars (1-1) shrugged off early mistakes on offense and special teams to bounce back from a poor showing in their preseason opener at Miami.
Quinn Gray threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Hatchette, and Rich Alexis ran 1 yard for another TD for Jacksonville, which missed three field goals and failed to take advantage of two turnovers deep in Bucs territory in the first quarter alone.
"The main thing is we won the game," quarterback Byron Leftwich said.
"We wanted to come out and be better than last week. ... We didn't game plan anything. We put a lot more things in. It was the second step in getting ready for the regular season."
Tampa Bay was limited to 21 yards on 19 offensive plays in the first half, yet only trailed 7-0 at that point because of Jaguars' miscues.
The Bucs were held without a first down until Chris Simms completed a 15-yard pass to Will Heller midway through the third quarter. The second-year quarterback led two scoring drives in the last 25 minutes, with Martin Gramatica finishing both with field goals of 43 and 44 yards.
"We didn't particularly play well offensively. ... We just have to keep working and improving," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said.
Leftwich completed 4 of 11 passes for 55 yards and one interception for the Jaguars, who failed to produce points while he was in the game for the second straight week.
The most disappointing part of the night for the Jaguars, though, had to be the performance of Josh Scobee or Jeff Chandler, who did not put a good foot forward in their bid to become Jacksonville's kicker.
Scobee missed a 45-yard field goal and Chandler failed on attempts of 49 and 42 yards -- all in the first quarter. The Jaguars have missed five of six field goal attempts this preseason.
Brad Johnson was 3-of-6 passing for 8 yards, and the Bucs gained 1 net yard in the three series the Tampa Bay starter worked. Brian Griese played longer, but wasn't any more effective in going 2-for-5 for 8 yards -- mostly against Jacksonville's second-team defense.
Simms finished up for the Bucs, leading a field goal drive on his first possession and building on a solid performance in last Monday night's win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He was 13-of-23 for 104 yards.
"I don't think anything about the game was really good," Simms said. "(Jacksonville) played well and we put ourselves in a tough position to get anything going. You can't win like that."
Jacksonville outgained the Bucs by 214 yards in the first half, including a 98-15 advantage in the opening quarter, when the Jaguars offense nevertheless was unable to take advantage of Johnson throwing an interception on the first play from scrimmage and Griese's fumble that Mike Peterson recovered at the Tampa Bay 25.
Leftwich was intercepted on the goal line, killing the Jaguars' first threat. Eight minutes later, the second-year quarterback nearly redeemed himself by lofting a perfect 34-yard pass to Jimmy Smith in the right corner of the end zone.
Smith caught the ball, just ahead of cornerback Brian Kelly, but the pass was ruled incomplete when the defender stripped the ball loose as Smith was falling to the ground out of bounds.
Alexis scored his TD with just under two minutes remaining in the first half. Gray threw his touchdown pass to Hatchette early in the third quarter.
The Bucs played without injured starters Derrick Brooks and Shelton Quarles on defense and Charlie Garner and Derrick Deese on offense. ... The Jaguars rushed for 132 yards and finished with 339 yards total offense to Tampa Bay's 152. ... Jacksonville FB Mark Edwards left the game in the second quarter with a sprained knee and did not return.
Team Stat Comparison
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||2.9||4.5|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|TD||13:05||RICH ALEXIS 1 YD RUN (JOSH SCOBEE KICK)||0||7|
|TD||3:58||MATTHEW HATCHETTE 48 YD PASS FROM QUINN GRAY (JOSH SCOBEE KICK)||0||14|
|FG||9:10||MARTIN GRAMATICA 43 YD||3||14|
|FG||13:51||MARTIN GRAMATICA 44 YD||6||14|