The Raheem Morris took it's first statistical positive step last night with the Bucs notching their first win of the (pre)season. The game was in doubt until a failed two point conversion late in the 4th quarter, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers walk out of Jacksonville with the win, and pull to .500 on the preseason at 1-1.
Playing to a half full stadium, the Bucs got off to a poor start, as the first play from scrimmage resulted in a 74 yard TD pass from David Garrard to Troy Williamson. The Jags went play action and Williamson, a burner with questionable hands, got behind Sabby Piscitelli and Garrard dropped in a perfect pass. 0-7 Jags.
Byron Leftwich would come in and lead the Bucs on a drive that stalled at midfield, punting to the Jags, who returned the favor and punted back to the Bucs. After a short drive that failed on a 3rd and 6, Mike Nugent came in and botted a 46 yard field goal to bring it to 3-7 Jags.
The next several drives for both teams resulted in zero points, as punts were aplenty. Leftwich gave way to Luke McCown, who quickly went 3 and out. After the punt, the Jags marched 89 yards in 6 plays and capped the drive with a 1 yard TD run by Greg Jones. 3-14 Jags.
McCown finally started to heat up after Sammy Stroughter returned the kick off to the Jacksonville 20, and on the second play, McCown found tight end Jerramy Stevens for a 17 yard TD pass to get the Bucs their first TD of the game and move the score to 10-14.
On the next Bucs drive (that started close to midfield), McCOwn would lead the team inside the 10 and find rookie wide receiver Sammy Stroughter on a 9 yard TD pass, the 2nd for McCown of the night and first for Stroughter. 17-14 Bucs.
The half would end with no more scoring and as McCown gave way for Freeman, Bucs fans were given a glimpse of the future. Freeman would connect on some good throws/catches and on 3rd and 8 from the Jax 28 yard line, we caught sight of what Freeman could do. No he didn't throw a 28 yard strike, instead shutting down the arm, turning on the jets and scrambling for a 28 yard TD. He also capsized during his celebration. Bucs 24 - Jags 14.
The Jaguars would add a field goal, Mike Nugent would miss a 46 yard field goal, and with the score 24-17 Bucs, the Jags would convert a 4th down attempt and a 3rd down attempt and get in position to see Todd Bouman and Tyler Lorenzen hook up for a 20 yard TD pass. The ensuing 2 point conversion would fail, leaving the score 24-23 Bucs.
After a failed onside kick and a knee taken by the Bucs, Morris would get his first victory as a Buccaneers head coach.
No turnovers for the Bucs and an equal measure of success in the run and pass portion of the game saw them claim victory. Next up for the Bucs. A home date with the Miami Dolphins.