Second-year QB Luke McCown completed 10 of 16 passes and scrambled impressively in a fourth-quarter rally that came up three points short
Did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers really want to go to overtime for the second straight preseason week on the strength of a last-second, 53-yard field goal? Well, sure, since they were at home this time and, more importantly, they were the ones trailing in the final seconds.
Unfortunately, Matt Bryant's valiant attempt, while straight enough, went about 52 yards and the Bucs lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-17. That's the same score by which the Bucs won last Friday in Tennessee after Rob Bironas' 53-yard field goal at the end of regulation forced overtime. That time, Bryant hit a 33-yarder in the extra period for the Buccaneer victory.
It may have been a disappointing final play, but the Bucs should be pleased with a strong, fourth-quarter rally behind second-year QB Luke McCown. Not to put too tight a spin on a night in which the Bucs were out-gained by a 228-123 edge through the first three quarters, but as August games go this one did have a few things to offer to a Buc fan looking for hope in 2005. To wit: The team's veteran leader looked like a young man in MVP form; the prized rookie got the ball early and often; the kickers did make three other kicks before that last try; several '05 draft picks came up big in the fourth quarter; and, blessedly, there were no significant Buccaneer injuries.
"There will always be a silver lining in a preseason game, if you look at the film hard enough," said Head Coach Jon Gruden.
Of course, it also had the shortcomings of a preseason game, mainly discontinuity on offense before the fourth quarter and a disjointed feel overall. Tampa Bay couldn't have been thrilled with the 66 yards of offense it gained in the first half, nor the special teams miscue that led to Jacksonville's first field goal. The defense allowed three sustained drives in the game, but none by the starting unit. The Bucs are now 1-1 on the preseason, heading into a road game at Miami next Saturday.
"[There were] a couple of bad penalties on offense," said Gruden. "We missed a couple of targets that were open. This is a heck of a defense at Jacksonville. We need to get something going on offense; that's not good enough. Defensively, we kept them out of the end zone [in the first half], which is a good sign. We have to play a lot better."
The veteran leader was linebacker Derrick Brooks, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2002. If preseason games are for young players fighting for roster spots, somebody forget to tell Brooks, who is entering his 11th year. Already an eight-time Pro Bowler, Brooks came out as if his job was on the line, making three outstanding plays on the game's first four snaps.
On Jacksonville's first play from scrimmage, Brooks sniffed out a play-action pass to FB Greg Jones and dropped him in the open field after a gain of just two. After the Jaguars passed for a first down on the next play, Brooks nearly took one the other way when he cut across the flight plan of a pass to WR Jimmy Smith on the offense's left. With open field in front of him, Brooks was visibly upset to have the pass glance off his hands; perhaps that fueled him to burst through the offensive line on the next play, when he caught RB LaBrandon Toefield in the backfield for a loss of two.
Typically, Brooks dwelt on the missed interception at the end of the game.
"There are no excuses, I should have caught it," said Brooks. "I hate that. I probably won't sleep all week. I don't drop interceptions. I dropped two in training camp and I have to get that problem solved before next week."
Brooks and the Bucs' starting defense stayed on the field for the entire first quarter, allowing 66 yards, including just 14 on six rushing plays. With the game tied 3-3 after one quarter, Jacksonville's first-team offense stayed on the field in the second quarter against Tampa Bay's second unit and put together a methodical, 10-minute, 77-yard field goal drive, leading to Josh Scobee's second 29-yard field goal. Earlier, in the first quarter, Scobee had turned Torrie Cox's muffed punt into the Jaguars' first three points. Similarly, Tampa Bay scored first after WR Chad Owens muffed a punt in the first quarter, with Matt Bryant nailing a 38-yard kick.
The prized rookie was first-round running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, who played only one snap in the preseason opener and did not get the ball in Tennessee. Williams carried on each of the game's first three plays and five times overall. Though his efforts resulted in only 13 yards, his best run was called back by a penalty and he generally hit the holes with pleasing quickness.
The kickers were Bryant and Todd France, who are now five-for-six on the summer. France made a 49-yarder just before halftime after CB Juran Bolden forced and recovered a fumble by RB Alvin Pearman, and Bryant hit from 26 and 38 yards. As long as we're on those who put foot to ball, we should also mention P Josh Bidwell, who looks primed for a huge season. After amazing onlookers with his booming kicks in training camp, Bidwell averaged 56.7 yards with a 50.0 net on three kicks in Tennessee. He followed that up with a 54.0 yard gross and 39.5 yard net on four punts against Jacksonville Saturday night.
"I think we've got two pretty good kickers and it's a competitive situation," said Gruden. "Outside of that last desperation field goal, I thought we kicked the ball well."
The 2005 draft picks who almost turned the tide in the fourth quarter were seventh-round WR Paris Warren and third-round TE Alex Smith. Warren turned a short pass into a 45-yard touchdown pass by weaving through the Jaguars' defense and dancing perilously down the sideline with five minutes left in the game after making a short catch. Second-year QB Luke McCown, another player acquired on draft weekend (in a trade with Cleveland), directed that 86-yard drive, and finished it with a two-point conversion pass to Smith that pulled Tampa Bay to within three points.
McCown, actually, was quite impressive, with the exception of one goal-line pass that involved a poor route by a young receiver, according to Gruden. Not only did McCown complete 10 of 16 passes for 131 yards and direct the team's only touchdown drive after the Bucs had fallen behind by 11 points, but he also ran twice for a team-high yards. Gruden has complimented the young passer's mobility during training camp, and that was reflected on a 19-yard third-down scramble on which he put a surprise move on veteran linebacker Nate Wayne. Unfortunately, facing a second-and-nine at the Jacksonville 10, McCown threw a quick pass in WR Chris Davis' direction that was intercepted by S Nick Sorenson, ending the Bucs' final scoring threat.
Rookie safety Hamza Abdullah intercepted QB Nate Hybl's first pass of the game to set up that final touchdown opportunity, after DT Bryan Save pressured Hybl into an errant attempt. The Bucs forced three turnovers and scored off of two of them, after securing two takeaways last week.
Tampa Bay's rush defense excelled for the second straight week. Though Jacksonville stuck with the rushing attack longer than Tennessee, the Jags gained just 95 yards on 29 carries, gaining 3.3 yards per tote. On the other hand, the Bucs now have only three sacks through two games, after getting none against Jacksonville. Gruden also bemoaned the Bucs' difficulties on third down, as the Jaguars converted on eight of 13 tries.
Game Notes: The Bucs are now 11-4 in the preseason under Gruden. The team was 3-1 in both 2002 and 2004, 4-1 in 2003 and is now 1-1 this summer. … The Bucs have lost only two home preseason games since Gruden's arrival. In 2002, the Bucs dropped a 40-10 decision to Washington in Raymond James Stadium in the third week of the preseason. They were 2-0 in 2003 and last year. … Tonight's game marks the first time the Buccaneers have lost their first home game of the season since 2001, when the preseason opened with a 17-14 defeat at the hands of Miami. The Bucs had won six of their previous eight preseason home openers, dating back to 1996 (the team played no preseason home games in 1998 as construction was completed on Raymond James Stadium). … Rookie FB Rick Razzano saw his first NFL game action after missing most of training camp and the preseason opener with a hamstring injury. Razzano played primarily in the second half as a lead blocker for RBs Earnest Graham, Derek Watson and Ian Smart. … Fellow rookie WR Larry Brackins also saw his first action of the preseason after battling his own hamstring injury. Bryant helped preserve the team's fourth-quarter touchdown drive with a diving, 14-yard catch on the sideline in Jacksonville territory. … After committing just four penalties for 25 in the preseason opener, the Bucs were a little more flag-prone on Saturday night, drawing nine infractions for 85 yards. Most notably, the defense committed two penalties on third down during Jacksonville's third-quarter touchdown drive, helping to preserve a 13-play march.
Inactives: Technically, there are no inactive players for preseason games. However, the Bucs had several injured players who did not suit up for Saturday's game, including RB Charlie Garner, G Doug Buckles, T Anthony Davis, T Derrick Deese, G Jeb Terry, G Matt Stinchcomb and DT Anthony McFarland. While the rest were held out due to injuries, McFarland was not at the game as he is attending his mother's funeral. Jacksonville played without WR Ernest Wilford, S Donovin Darius, CB David Richardson, RB Fred Taylor, LB Daryl Smith, WR Chris Cole and DE Bobby McCray.
Injuries: Jacksonville TE Todd Yoder, a former Buccaneer, suffered a sprained knee in the first quarter and did not return. The Bucs reported no significant injuries.
First Quarter Report
Defense dominated in the first quarter of play Saturday night, but a pair of turnovers led to short scoring drives for each team. Thanks to a pair of muffed punts, the Bucs and Jags each netted a first-quarter field goal, leading to a 3-3 tie. The Jags held a 66-47 yardage edge at the end of the period, and the Bucs' offense gained its only first down on the second-to-last play of the quarter.
Tampa Bay won the toss and elected to receive, sending CB Torrie Cox deep for the opening kickoff. K Seth Marler pooched it down to the 18 and Cox got it out to the 33.
Rookie RB Carnell Williams got the carry on first down but ran into a gang of tacklers at the 35and got just two yards. Williams took a pitch around left end on second down and found a bigger seam, cutting up it for five yards. On third-and-three, the Bucs chose to run, pitching it left to the rookie again, but he was stopped by CB Chris Thompson for a loss of one. The Bucs had to punt and Josh Bidwell blasted it 50 yards to return man Chad Owens, who got 14 yards back to the Jacksonville 25.
Jacksonville faked a handoff on first down and threw to FB Greg Jones in the right flat, but LB Derrick Brooks closed immediately and the play gained only two yards. However, a play-action on second down worked better as QB Byron Leftwich found TE Kyle Brady over the middle for a gain of 21 yards to the Jacksonville 48.
On first down, Leftwich tried to hit WR J.R. Smith on the left side but Brooks cut in front of the pass and almost intercepted it. The ball went through Brooks' hands, causing the linebacker to bury his hands in his face. Brooks' disappointment didn't last long, as he broke through the line on second down to catch RB LaBrandon Toefield in the backfield for a loss of two.
The Bucs blitzed on third down but Leftwich got off a quick pass to WR Reggie Williams, who fought hard for the first down but came up a yard shot thanks to S Jermaine Phillips' sure tackle. Chris Hanson's punt on fourth down went into the end zone for a touchback.
From the 20, QB Brian Griese threw a short pass to WR Joey Galloway, who weaved through tacklers for a gain of seven. A play-action pass to WR Michael Clayton was incomplete thanks in part to the heads-up pursuit of DE Paul Spicer, who forced an off-target pass by Griese. On third-and-three, a slant to Clayton was incomplete thanks to the physical coverage of CB Chris Thompson.
The Bucs had to punt, but they didn't give away possession, as it turns out. Bidwell hit a very high punt that Owens tried to field at the Jacksonville 19. The ball bounced off Owens' chest and bounded towards the Bucs, with LB Ryan Nece grabbing it on a dead run. After about one step, Nece was hit hard, forcing the ball to come flying out of his hands towards Jacksonville's end zone. The ball went out of bounds inside the five, and the Bucs were awarded the ball, as the officials ruled that Nece established possession before losing the ball. The line of scrimmage was set at the point Nece fumbled, the Jaguars' 25.
Williams went around right end for a nice gain on first down but the play was erased by holding on a receiver. That made it first-and-20 at the 35, and Williams' next run got just three yards. Griese ended up throwing to FB Jameel Cook on the next two plays, for a total of 13 yards, leading to a 38-yard field goal try. K Matt Bryant nailed it to give the Bucs' the first points of the game. Bucs 3, Jaguars 0.
It took a second effort on first down for Toefield to pick up three yards on a run up the middle. Leftwich's second down pass was too high for Smith to pull down on the right sideline, setting up third-and-seven. After an offside call on DE Greg Spires made it second-and-two instead, but the Bucs stopped the play anyway. Leftwich wanted a man over the middle, but the play was blanketed and, just before he was dropped, the quarterback threw a deeper pass in Smith's direction on the left sideline, again too high to pull in.
The Bucs returned the favor on the resulting punt, as CB Torrie Cox let it go through his hands, leading to Scott Starks' recovery at Tampa Bay's 23. An unsportsmanlike penalty pushed Jacksonville back to the 38, and Jones' catch on first down resulted in just one yard after a Buccaneer challenge established that Jones' knee had hit the ground after S Dexter Jackson's initial hit.
Toefield found a nice seam off right guard on second down, however, and got within inches of a first down. On third-and-one, RB Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala swept left for three yards and a first down at the Bucs' 26.
Leftwich went for the jugular on the resulting first down, trying to hit WR Reggie Williams in the end zone, but CB Brian Kelly stayed in tight coverage and the pass went off Williams' hands in the back of the end zone. A false start pushed Jacksonville back to the 31, and on second-and-15 Leftwich went for Smith in the end zone but Kelly was once again on the spot, leading to an incompletion. However, Leftwich had time to throw on third down and he found Owens over the middle for 17 yards and a first down at the 14.
Jacksonville ran on first down but DT Chris Hovan got a nice push and stopped Toefield after a gain of just one. Toefield swept right with a pitch on second down but LB Shelton Quarles got to him after just one more yard. The Jags used a timeout to contemplate their third-and-eight call, then tried to hit Williams in the back left corner of the end zone, missing again. K Josh Scobee came on to try a 29-yard field goal and quickly tied up the game. Bucs 3, Jaguars 3.
The Bucs began the drive with Griese's sharp pass to Clayton, who ran a 10-yard in and got 14 yards overall. Williams' sweep left gained three yards to bring the quarter to a close.
Second Quarter Report
The second quarter was like the first in that each team scored once on a field goal, leading to a 6-6 tie at halftime. Jacksonville, however, got their score on an extended drive while the Bucs turned another turnover into the tying points. At halftime, Jacksonville had a 171-66 edge in total yards and also had the game's only two sacks.
The Bucs faced a second-and-seven at their own 38 when the second quarter began but seemed to move the sticks when WR DeAndrew Rubin swept left on an end-around for eight yards. However, the Bucs were flagged 15 yards for a crackback block, leading to a second-and-18 at their own 27.
QB Brian Griese hit WR Michael Clayton over the middle for nine yards on second down, but his third-down pass in the direction of WR Joey Galloway was tipped away by CB Kenny Wright. The Bucs had to punt, and Josh Bidwell's 58-yard punt was returned 16 yards to the Jacksonville 22 by WR Chad Owens.
The Bucs brought out their second-team defense for the next drive. CB Torrie Cox closed quickly on an outlet pass to FB Greg Jones on first down, leading to a gain of only three. However, QB Byron Leftwich hit WR Jimmy Smith on a deep out on the next snap for again of 15.
From the 30, RB LaBrandon Toefield tried to go left but was hit hard by rookie LB Barrett Ruud after a gain of just two. A pass over the middle to Toefield picked up eight more, setting up third-and-one. Jumbo RB Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala came on to power the ball over right tackle for just enough for the first down.
Leftwich's next pass found WR Reggie Williams on the left sideline for a gain of 16 to the Bucs' 44. Ma'afala's next run gained four yards, and Leftwich threw a fade-stop to Smith for a nice gain on second down. However, that play was erased by an ineligible man downfield penalty, leading to second-and-11 from the Bucs' 45. Leftwich threw very quickly to Williams in the middle on second down, but CB Ronyell Whitaker dropped him with a hard hit after a gain of just five. On third-and-six, the Jags picked up a blitz and Leftwich hit Owens for eight more and a first down at the Bucs' 32.
Ma'afala bashed forward for three yards, and pressure forced Leftwich into a short pass to the same back on second down for four more. After a timeout and a false start, Jacksonville faced a third-and-eight at 30 and converted with a 12-yard catch-and-run by Owens, who cut over the middle and was wide open.
The Jaguars took a crack at the end zone from the 18 but LB Jeff Gooch just managed to break up an end zone pass to TE Kyle Brady. After a five-yard sweep right by Toefield, Leftwich enjoyed a well-formed pocket but no obvious target downfield, and he settled for a two-yard pass to Smith. The Jaguars sent K Josh Scobee out for a 29-yard field goal try and he nailed it to put Jacksonville up. Jaguars 6, Bucs 3.
Rubin got the resulting kickoff out to midfield with an exciting, 42-yard return up the right sideline, but an unnecessary roughness call on Whitaker pushed it back to the 35 with 3:23 left in the half.
On his first play in the game, QB Chris Simms faked a handoff and rolled left but his pass attempt to WR Ike Hilliard was knocked down by LB Greg Favors. It got worse for Simms, as he was sacked on successive plays by DT Rob Meier. Josh Bidwell came on to punt from the Bucs' 24 and hit another booming 55-yarder, but Owens returned it 28 yards to the Jacksonville 49 as the two-minute warning arrived.
QB David Garrard faked a handoff and spun right on first down, but his hard pass to TE Brian Jones was nearly intercepted by LB Ryan Nece. The Bucs had to wait just one more play for the turnover, however. RB Alvin Pearman took a handoff and started right but ran into a pack of Bucs almost immediately. CB Juran Bolden stripped the ball, though it took long enough coming out of the back's hands that Bolden had time to recover the fumble a few seconds later. The delayed fumble also led to a Jacksonville challenge, but it was denied and the Bucs gained possession at Jacksonville's 47 with 1:44 to play in the half.
Simms took a quick drop on first down and fired a hard, nine-yard pass to Hilliard. A handoff to RB Michael Pittman up the middle worked well on second down, as he exploited a big hole for a gain of seven and a first down at the 31. The Bucs called a timeout with 1:18 left in the half.
After the break, Simms was forced to throw his first-down pass away, and his second-down throw was too hot for Hilliard to handle. On third-and-10, Simms got open on a slant but Simms' pass was just a bit out of his reach. K Todd France came on to try a 49-yard field goal to tie the game, and he just snuck it over the crossbar for three points. Bucs 6, Jaguars 6.
After the kickoff, Jacksonville started at its own 31 with 50 seconds left in the half. Pearman gained nine yards on a first-down run up the middle, but the Jaguars were flagged for holding downfield on the next play. On second-and-eight, Pearman gained six more yards and the Jags let the clock run out.
Third Quarter Report
Jacksonville took a 13-6 lead in the third quarter when it put together its second extended drive of the game. However, the Bucs were threatening in the Jaguars' red zone when the period came to an end. Jacksonville still held a dominant, 228-132 edge in total yards heading into the fourth quarter.
Jacksonville started at its own 33 after David Allen's 27-yard kickoff return. RB Alvin Pearman tried the middle on first down but was stopped by DE Bryant McNeal for no gain. On second down, QB David Garrard threw short over the middle to WR Troy Edwards, who gained five yards. Garrard took a shotgun snap on third-and-five and was able to escape quick pressure to scramble for seven yards and a first down at the 45.
Garrard tried a quick pass off the line to WR Cortez Hankton on first down but the pass was nearly picked off by S Will Allen, who read the play extremely quickly. After Pearman got two yards on his second-down carry, the Bucs stopped a third-down pass to WR Matt Jones, but an illegal-hands-to-the-face penalty gave Jacksonville five yards and an automatic first down.
LB Barrett Ruud's well-timed blitz on first down forced an incompletion, but Garrard had time to find Jones over the middle for a gain of 14 on the next play. From the Bucs' 34, Pearman went up the middle for just one yard, but Edwards caught an eight-yard pass over the middle to make it third-and-one at the Bucs' 25.
Once again, Garrard moved the sticks on third down with a scramble, getting around the left end for seven yards. On the next play, Pearman made a nice move to get around the left end but Allen closed quickly to hold the gain to one yard. After Garrard dumped the ball off to Pearman for five yards under pressure on the next snap, the Bucs forced an incompletion on third-and-four. Once again, however, a Tampa Bay penalty resurrected the drive, giving Jacksonville a first-and-goal at the eight.
It took only one play from there for Jacksonville to find the end zone. Garrard took off almost immediately after taking the snap and slipped through several tackles to dive into the end zone for the go-ahead score. Jaguars 13, Bucs 6.
WR DeAndrew Rubin's 24-yard return got a low, bouncing kickoff back out to the 30. RB Earnest Graham got his first two carries of the game and turned them into 12 yards and a first down at the 42. QB Chris Simms then rolled left and completed a four-yard strike to WR J.R. Russell. Another hard run up the middle by Graham gained five yards and led to a third-and-one at the Jaguars' 49. Graham got the carry on third down and bashed for just enough for a first down at Jacksonville's 47.
WR Edell Shepherd went up in a crowd and made an impressive snare of a 12-yard pass on the next snap. RB Derek Watson got nothing on a run off right guard, but Simms enjoyed a well-formed pocket and fired an 11-yard pass to Russell on second down.
Shepherd caught a short pass over the middle on first down for a gain of seven, getting the ball three yards into the red zone, but a toss to Graham was good for only one yard. After a Buccaneer timeout, the Bucs ran again and got the necessary yards, with Graham finding just enough of a seam between left guard and left tackle for three yards down to the 13.
RB Ian Smart got the next carry but he failed to gain a yard when he tried to bounce it outside. That play brought the third quarter to an end.
Fourth Quarter Report
The Bucs rallied impressively in the fourth quarter but couldn't quite complete the comeback. After falling behind, 20-9, the Bucs scored a touchdown with a two-point conversion, but their last two drives just missed. One march reached the 10-yard line but ended in an interception; the other ended with a 53-yard field goal that came up just short. Jacksonville left with a 20-17 victory, dropping Tampa Bay to 1-1 on the preseason. A late surge behind QB Luke McCown allowed the Bucs to close the final total-yardage gap to 308-288 in Jacksonville's favor.
The Bucs faced a second-and-10 at Jacksonville's 13 when the fourth quarter began, and got to the five on first down when WR Edell Shepherd caught a pass over the middle and spun for extra yards. However, a third-and-two run by RB Earnest Graham lost three yards and the Bucs sent out their field goal team. K Matt Bryant nailed a 26-yard try to cut Jacksonville's lead to four points. Jaguars 13, Bucs 9.
QB Quinn Gray came in to lead the next Jacksonville drive and immediately threw on first down, leading TE Brian Jones a bit too much on first down. Rookie S Hamza Abdullah dropped RB Derrick Wimbush for a loss of one on the next play, but rookie WR Matt Jones out-leapt CB James Patrick for a 34-yard gain down the right sideline on third down.
Wimbush's next carry, a sweep left, gained nine yards to the Bucs' 33. After Wimbush moved the chains with a two-yard run, Gray found WR Cortez Hankton wide open on the right sideline for a 22-yard gain to the Bucs' nine. On first down, Wimbush bounced a carry around right end and easily loped in for the Jaguars' second touchdown. Jaguars 20, Bucs 9.
The Bucs started at their own 15 after the kickoff, with new QB Luke McCown throwing over the middle to TE Nate Lawrie for a gain of 17. On second down, McCown made a nifty double-move to escape a near-sack and was able to sprint up the right side for a gain of six to the Bucs' 38. After a three-yard pass to Lawrie, RB Derek Watson made it around right end for a gain of six and a first down at the Bucs' 47.
McCown tried to go deep to rookie WR Larry Brackins on the next snap but the pass was incomplete. Lawrie made a nice move after a short pass on the next play, advancing to the Jaguars' 39 for another first down. RB Ian Smart got a nice gain around left end on the next play but the play was erased by a holding penalty on WR J.R. Russell.
On first-and-20, McCown threw to the left sideline and Brackins made an impressive, stretching catch, dragging his toes for a gain of 14. McCown was sacked on the next play for a loss of five, setting up third-and-11 at the Jaguars' 40. McCown went down again on third down but Jacksonville was flagged for illegal contact, giving the Bucs an automatic first down at the 35.
The Bucs then held on the next play, moving the ball back to the 45. McCown's short pass to Watson was dropped, but Tampa Bay put the ball in the end zone on the next play. McCown scrambled right, then threw across his body to WR Paris Warren in the middle of the field. Looking for extra yards, Warren bounced to the right sideline and eventually found himself around the defense and headed for the end zone. The result was a 45-yard touchdown, the first one through the air for the Bucs this year. McCown hit rookie TE Alex Smith over the middle for the two-point conversion, pulling the Bucs to within three points with 4:46 to play. Jaguars 20, Bucs 17.
A penalty on the kickoff return forced Jacksonville to start at its own 14. On first down, big pressure from DT Bryan Save forced an overthrow by QB Nate Hybl that was intercepted at the Jacksonville 36 by Abdullah.
Smart took the first-down carry around left end for three yards, then got three more on an outlet pass in the same area. On third-and-four, McCown scrambled right and made an impressive move on LB Nate Wayne to gain 19 yards and a first down at the 11.
Smart's run over right tackle got just a yard. The Bucs lined up for their second-down play, but McCown called a timeout with 2:16 left on the clock.
The Jags, predictably, ran three times, with RB Rich Alexis gaining a total of five yards. The Bucs used their last timeout, the two-minute warning helped after first down and Save made a stop for a loss of one on third down. A penalty on the Bucs on the ensuing punt forced them to start at their own 25 with 53 seconds remaining.
A short pass to Brackins gained five yards but forced McCown to spike the ball on second down with 37 seconds left. McCown's third-down pass skipped in front of WR Derrick Lewis, leading to fourth-and-five. McCown kept the Bucs' hopes alive with an impressive touch pass to Lewis that resulted in an 18-yard gain, a first down at the Bucs' 48 and a stopped clock.
An illegal-contact penalty moved the ball to Jacksonville's 47 but took the clock down to 21 seconds. McCown scrambled left and found Lewis for eight yards on the sideline, but the clock kept running and the Bucs had to spike the ball at the 39 with five seconds to play. Amazingly, the Bucs were able to run one more play, with Lewis catching a four-yard pass and getting out of bounds with one second to go. K Matt Bryant came on to try a 53-yarder but his kick fell just a bit short.