Buccaneers dominate first half in preseason victory over Jaguars
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jameis Winston continued his solid preseason, completing 21 of 29 passes for 196 yards and helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat woeful Jacksonville 12-8 on Thursday night.
Winston had two passes dropped, including what would have been a 43-yard touchdown strike to Mike Evans in the first quarter.
The Buccaneers (1-1) scored on their first three possessions, getting a short touchdown run from Doug Martin and two field goals from Nick Folk. Tampa Bay dominated Jacksonville in two quarters that featured mostly starters, outgaining the Jags 240-59 and looking like the much better team.
Folk, who won the kicking job last week after the Bucs waived former second-round draft pick Roberto Aguayo, had an extra point blocked by Calais Campbell. He also missed a 47-yarder wide right in the fourth quarter.
Evans finished with five catches for 57 yards, but missed a chance for a huge gain when he let Winston’s perfectly thrown deep ball slip through his fingers. It was about the only thing that went right for the Jaguars (1-1).
Jacksonville’s night went so awry that coach Doug Marrone now seemingly has open competitions at quarterback and place-kicker.
Backup quarterback Chad Henne got some work with the first-team offense, fueling speculation that Blake Bortles has lost his grasp on the starting job.
Henne entered late in the second quarter after Bortles played four series that ended in punts. Even though the move had been planned beforehand, it surely created the appearance that Marrone and football czar Tom Coughlin are wavering in their commitment to Bortles.
Marrone and Coughlin have publicly supported Bortles all year, even picking up the fifth-year option in his rookie contract. But Marrone pulled the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft last week following two interceptions. Marrone said Bortles’ “arm looked tired.” Bortles denied having any issues.
Bortles completed 8 of 13 passes for 65 yards against the Bucs. He doesn’t have a touchdown or a turnover in two preseason games.
Henne’s first pass should have resulted in a touchdown, but Keelan Cole dropped it at the goal line. Henne finished 6-of-10 passing for 44 yards.
Jason Myers missed from 40 yards out, leaving him 1 for 4 on the season. He also missed an extra point in the fourth. The Jaguars don’t have another kicker in camp, but that likely will change Friday.
Dede Westbrook, a fourth-round draft pick from Oklahoma, finished with five catches for 101 yards. He was one of the few bright spots for Jacksonville. Westbrook and third-string quarterback Brandon Allen got the Jags to the 2-yard line in the final 2 minutes, but Allen misfired on a fourth-and-1 play.
The Buccaneers played without two starters: cornerback Brent Grimes (leg laceration) and linebacker Devante Bond (sprained knee). The Jaguars were without rookie running back Leonard Fournette (foot), receiver Marqise Lee (ankle) and their top three cornerbacks. Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Aaron Colvin did not dress.
Jacksonville, which wants to be a power run team, ran seven times for minus a yard in the opening half. The Jags managed four first downs and got booed by the home crowd when Bortles badly underthrew a wide-open Allen Robinson in the seam.
Tampa Bay: Starting right tackle Demar Dotson left the game with a groin injury and did not return. Cornerback Josh Robinson injured a hamstring.
Jacksonville: Running back T.J. Yeldon injured his left hamstring and did not return. Cornerback Charles Gaines injured his right eye.
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