Getting their most extended playing time of the preseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' starters dominated the first half of Saturday's preseason game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The visiting Buccaneers held on for a narrow 27-14 victory, but they led 24-0 at halftime thanks to a stifling defense and the accurate passing of starting QB Josh McCown.
McCown completed 13 of 16 passes for 112 yards, one touchdown and one interception in two quarters of play. His final throw of the night was a perfect lob to the end zone that rookie WR Mike Evans hauled in for a 24-yard score just before halftime. Evans got wide open after fooling CB Ron Brooks with a stutter step and go. Evans finished the game with three catches for 44 yards while fellow starter Vincent Jackson led the team with five grabs for 43 yards, including two that converted third downs on that final drive of the first half.
Tampa Bay's first two touchdowns came courtesy of a swarming Bucs' defense, which forced three turnovers while the starters were on the field in the first half. A Mason Foster fumble recovery set up Doug Martin's one-yard touchdown run, and DT Clinton McDonald returned another fumble 17 yards for a touchdown after DE Michael Johnson knocked the ball from QB E.J. Manuel's grasp in the second quarter.
Tampa Bay's starting defense allowed just 82 yards in the first half, as Foster led the way with six tackles, a fumble recovery, a pass defensed and a tackle for loss. Recently-signed DE Larry English got some time with the starting defense and came up with two sacks. S Dashon Goldson started the Bucs' defensive barrage with an interception on Buffalo's game-opening possession.
The Buccaneers improved to 1-2 on the preseason with the win. They will wrap up their exhibition slate on Thursday with a home game against the Washington Redskins.