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5 Most Impressive Bucs CB Ronde Barber On a night that saw Tampa Bay's offense turn the ball over four times and kicker Matt Bryant miss a 23-yard field goal, the Bucs defense turned in a respectable effort vs. the Jaguars. Barber had one of the more impressive plays of the game. In the second quarter after quarterback Jeff Garcia had tossed his second interception of the contest, Barber came up huge by intercepting Jaguars QB David Garrard. The Bucs offense took advantage of that pick by putting together a nine-play, 43-yard drive that ended with a touchdown. Barber finished the game with two tackles, two passes defensed and one interception. DT Chris Hovan Tampa Bay's defense fared well vs. Jacksonville's physical offensive line and running backs, and Hovan was a big reason why. He had an active night in the trenches and proved to be extremely disruptive. Hovan and rookie cornerback Aqib Talib provided pressure on QB David Garrard on Ronde Barber's interception in the second quarter. On the ensuing drive, Hovan broke into the offensive backfield and tackled RB Greg Jones for a 2-yard loss. On the same drive on third down, Hovan sacked Garrard to force the Jags offense to go three-and-out. Hovan registered three tackles, three tackles for a loss, two quarterback hurries and one sack vs. the Jaguars.
DT Jimmy Wilkerson Wilkerson continued to impress in the preseason with his effort vs. the Jaguars. Tampa Bay's pass rush was inconsistent vs. Jacksonville, but Wilkerson delivered from the under tackle position on a third-and-7 play in the second quarter when defensive end Greg White pressured QB David Garrard from the right end position, which forced the signal caller up into the pocket and allowed Wilkerson to sack Garrard to end a drive and force the Jags to punt. Tampa Bay wound up starting the next drive on its own 46-yard line. Wilkerson finished the game with two tackles and one sack. WR Michael Clayton Number 80 hasn't been purposely avoiding the end zone as if it was the plague. He's just been in a drought, evidenced by the fact that the former first-round pick has caught just one touchdown over the past three seasons and last reached the end zone for a score on Oct. 15, 2006. Clayton's thirst for the end zone was temporarily quenched on Saturday night when he hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jeff Garcia by getting open down the seam in-between cornerback Drayton Florence and safety Reggie Nelson. Earlier on that drive, Clayton did a great job of catching a pass across the middle of the field that was thrown behind him by Garcia for a 12-yard gain on a third-and-6 play. Although he had a dropped pass earlier in the game that would have gone for a short gain, Clayton's touchdown reception capped off a nine-play, 43-yard drive that was made possible by cornerback Ronde Barber's interception. Clayton finished Saturday night's contest with two receptions for 22 yards and one touchdown.
RB Clifton Smith Smith, otherwise known as "Peanut," turned in an impressive training camp, and that translated into success on the field in the fourth quarter. With the Bucs trailing the Jags 23-17 with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, quarterback Luke McCown leaned on Smith in the passing game, and he delivered. On third-and-14 with the Bucs at the Jaguars 36-yard line, McCown dumped the ball off to Smith, who hauled it in and showcased impressive speed and moves en route to working his way 21 yards up the field down to Jacksonville's 15-yard line. While Smith should have gotten out of bounds to stop the clock, he did manage to gain 7 additional yards on the play. A few plays later, McCown dumped the ball off to Smith again, this time for a 4-yard gain down to Jacksonville's 11-yard line with 29 seconds remaining in the game. Unfortunately for Smith and the Bucs, their comeback effort fell short as McCown threw an incomplete pass to WR Chad Lucas well short of the goal line as time expired in the fourth quarter. But Smith finished the contest with three receptions for 41 yards (13.7 avg.).
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