Photos from the Buccaneers' Preseason Week 1 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Game Ball:** DT Clinton McDonald exemplified the Buccaneers' coordinated pass-rush on Thursday night, finishing the game with two tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit. Tampa Bay's starting defense was impressively aggressive in the first quarter, putting pressure on QB Sam Bradford and allowing a total of -1 passing yards. Pressure from all angles had Bradford on the run and hustling linemen like McDonald and Jacquies Smith turned the subsequent scrambles into four sacks..
Play of the Game: It was, unfortunately, the very first play of the game. Buccaneers WR Kenny Bell took the opening kickoff to the left sideline and turned up to the 16-yard line before the football was poked out of hands by LB Najee Goode. S Chris Maragos recovered for Philadelphia and the home team scored three plays later, never to relinquish the lead.
Turning Point: If that game-opening turnover wasn't enough, the Philadelphia defense gave its team another early scoring opportunity when DT Fletcher Cox was able to swat the ball out of the hand of QB Jameis Winston four minutes into the contest. Cox was ably blocked by G Ali Marpet, but he managed to get his left arm into the danger zone as he was shoved by. Cox also recovered the loose ball at the Bucs' nine, leading to another short touchdown drive. That was a demoralizing moment for a Buccaneers team that had just put together a very good defensive stop to get the ball back to the offense.
It Was Over When: C.J. Smith intercepted Ryan Griffin's pass into the end zone with 29 seconds to play, and not a moment sooner. Griffin had led an impressive two-minute drill down to the Eagles' seven-yard line, keyed by a 25-yard catch by WR Freddie Martino, and the Bucs were in position to possibly send the game into overtime. On first-and-goal from the seven, Griffin tried to find WR Bernard Reedy in the left corner of the end zone, but Smith cut in front of the receiver to haul it in and end the game.