QUARTERBACK Quarterback Jeff Garcia displayed a chink in his armor vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, missing numerous opportunities in the passing game. Garcia finished the game 19-for-41 for 267 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. After going seven consecutive games and 197 pass attempts without throwing an interception this year, the flood gates seemed to open up vs. the Jaguars. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback came into Sunday's contest completing 70.4 percent of his pass attempts, but had a completion percentage under 50 percent vs. Jacksonville. In the first half, Garcia completed 12-of-20 for 154 yards, but was only 7-for-21 for 113 yards with two interceptions in the second half.
The Bucs offense got the ball to open the second half and was moving down the field for a potential score. But Garcia was rushed into a throw on first-and-10 at the Jacksonville 37-yard line by Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson and was picked off by safety Sammy Knight. Garcia and the offense weren't able to keep the momentum tht was captured by the defense with a big fourth-down stand, going three-and-out while missing wide receiver Joey Galloway deep down the sideline.
Garcia did take advantage of a short field on the following possession finding running back Earnest Graham on a 12-yard reception with 4:05 remaining in the third quarter. The drive culminated with a 19-yard touchdown run by running back Michael Bennett, giving the Bucs a 20-17 lead. The offense added three more points on the last possession of the third quarter when Garcia found Galloway for an 8-yard reception at the Jaguars 24-yard line for a 42-yard Matt Bryant field goal.
There aren't too many quarterbacks that can overthrow Galloway, but Garcia did just that on the Bucs first drive of the fourth quarter, missing the speedy wide receiver deep down the right side for what would have been a definite touchdown. Garcia led the Bucs into Jacksonville territory on a drive midway through the fourth quarter. Number seven found Galloway for 10 yards with 7:58 remaining, then hit fullback B.J. Askew for a 22-yard reception that put the Bucs at the Jaguars 47-yard line. However, Garcia missed wide receiver Ike Hilliard and Galloway on consecutive attempts and the Bucs were forced to punt.
On the final drive of the game, Garcia started off the drive finding wide receiver Maurice Stovall with a 9-yard reception with 1:43 remaining in the fourth quarter. The nine-year veteran found Galloway for a 12-yard catch on third-and-1 with 1:16 remaining. Garcia, however, missed another scoring opportunity when he overthrew Hilliard on an out-and-up pass pattern down the right sideline. The San Jose State alum couldn't keep the driving going on fourth-and-10 as he was intercepted for the third time when Hilliard was hit by Jacksonville cornerback Rashean Mathis that forced the ball into the air and fell into Jaguars safety Reggie Nelson's hands.
Garcia used his legs more than his arm on the first drive gaining 31 yards when he was forced to scramble twice out of the pocket. A 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty called on Jaguars safety Reggie Nelson on Garcia helped move the ball to the 20-yard line. However, Garcia took a sack on third-and-8 that thwarted the drive and ended with a Matt Bryant 44-yard field goal.
Garcia ended his franchise record 197 consecutive pass attempts without an interception when Jaguars cornerback Aaron Glenn picked off the three-time Pro Bowler for a 28-yard touchdown. The nine-year veteran bounced back quickly from the crucial mistake to hook up with Galloway for a 58-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter on first-and-10 at the Bucs 42-yard line. Before the touchdown reception, Garcia hit Galloway with a 18-yard reception second-and-5 with 6:27 remaining in the second quarter. He did a good job of running the two-minute offense to get some points on the board before halftime.
Garcia led the Bucs on a 10-play, 57-yard drive, going 4-for-7 for 53 yards and had a 9-yard scramble on third-and-10 from the Jags 13-yard line. He hit Stovall with consecutive receptions of 10 and 12 yards respectively. The big play of the drive was a 23-yard pass play to tight end Jerramy Stevens on a third-and-20 with 1:00 remaining in the first half.
RUNNING BACK Running back Earnest Graham had a consistent showing in the second half after a shaky first half, finishing the game with 62 yards on 14 carries. Graham had 49 yards on nine carries in the second half along with one reception for 12 yards, his only reception of the game.
On the first drive of the third quarter, Graham had a 14-yard run on first-and-10 from the Bucs' 23-yard line. On the same drive, Graham had an 8-yard run behind left guard Arron Sears with 13:02 remaining. Being forced to play from behind, although it was only 24-23, Graham only got three carries for 14 yards in the fourth quarter.
Graham was ineffective in the first half with 13 yards on five carries. In the first quarter, the fourth-year running back had just one yard on two carries. Graham's longest run of the second quarter was a 5-yard gain with 7:00 remaining on a first-and-10 from Tampa Bay's 19-yard line.
Running back Michael Bennett got into the end zone for the first time as a Buccaneer, finishing the game with two carries for 23 yards and one touchdown. Bennett had a 4-yard carry on the first play of the game. Bennett, however, was banished to the sideline for most of the second quarter and early in the third quarter after dropping a deep pass from Garcia on a "Rail" route with 10:00 remaining in the first half.
The former Wisconsin running back scored on a 19-yard run on a lateral from Garcia, diving into the end zone with 3:29 remaining in the third quarter.
Fullback B.J. Askew finished the game with two receptions for 25 yards. Askew's big reception of the game went unnoticed because the drive ended in a punt. On second-and-6 with 6:38 remaining in the fourth quarter, Askew had a 22-yard reception as he dodged two would-be Jacksonville tacklers to get the ball into Jaguars' territory.
The Bucs' running backs rushed for 85 yards on 16 attempts (5.3 avg.) on Sunday.
WIDE RECEIVERS Wide receiver Joey Galloway was the big target for Garcia vs. the Jaguars with six receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown. It was the passes that Galloway wasn't able to make a play on or dropped that hurt the Bucs on Sunday. Galloway is the fastest player on the Bucs and rarely has a ball out of his reach. However, Garcia overthrew the 13-year veteran early in the fourth quarter deep on a first-and-10 play.
Galloway didn't help is quarterback out with 5:06 remaining in the third quarter when he dropped a third-and-4 pass that would have given the Bucs a first down. Galloway came up with a big catch for a first down on the final drive of the game with a 12-yard reception on a third-and-1 with 1:16 remaining. In the first half, Galloway came up big on the Bucs first touchdown-scoring drive with two receptions for 75 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown reception on a first-and-10 play in the second quarter.
Wide receiver Ike Hilliard didn't have a big game, catching the ball with three receptions for 23 yards, all coming in the first half. But it's the catch the he didn't make that will haunt the 11-year veteran all week long. On fourth-and-10 with 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Garcia hit Hilliard on a 12-yard comeback route, but Jacksonville cornerback Rashean Mathis knocked the ball out of his hands and Nelson made the interception.
After a 10-yard penalty on right guard Davin Joseph put the Bucs in a hole on a second-quarter drive, Hilliard had 4-and-12-yard back-to-back receptions that allowed the offense a manageable third down. Hilliard's only other reception in the first half came on the final drive, an 8-yard reception on first-and-10 from the Bucs' 43-yard line.
Wide receiver Maurice Stovall got his opportunity in the offense with the ankle injury to wide receiver Michael Clayton and made the most of it finishing with a career-high five receptions for 47 yards. However, Stovall had two costly penalties, a holding and offensive pass interference, that hurt the Bucs. On a 10-yard reverse by Hilliard on the first drive of the third quarter, the play was called back on a holding penalty by Stovall. Stovall had a 9-yard reception with 1:13 remaining in the second quarter, but was called for offensive pass interference.
Stovall's only reception in the second half came on the final drive, a 9-yard reception on first-and-10 from the Bucs 34-yard line with 1:43 remaining in the fourth quarter. Stovall had two receptions for 22 yards on the final drive of the first half. Stovall's second reception, a 12-yard catch, showed his awareness on the field as he sat down right on the sideline as Garcia rolled out of the pocket and made sure he got both feet in before falling out of bounds to stop the clock.
TIGHT ENDS Tight end Jerramy Stevens had two receptions for 45 yards, both catches coming in crucial situations. Stevens' first reception, a 23-yard grab, came on a second-and-20 with 1:00 remaining in the second quarter. That catch helped the Bucs kick a 22-yard field goal by Bryant to end the first half. His second catch was a 22-yard reception on third-and-6 with 13:02 remaining in the third quarter.
Tight end Anthony Becht was mostly used in running situations. Becht, however, whiffed on a block on Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith on a third-and-16 play that forced Garcia to hurry a throw that fell incomplete.
The Bucs converted 4-of-14 (29 percent) of their third down attempts vs. the Jaguars with the tight ends making only one third-down reception.
OFFENSIVE LINE The Bucs had their hands full with a good Jacksonville defense and allowed too much pressure on Garcia, which resulted in two sacks and five quarterback hurries. The pressure up the middle from defensive tackles Marcus Stroud, John Henderson and Rob Meier had Garcia rushing out of the pocket for most of the game. Henderson forced Garcia into an interception and the Jaguars used the blitz to bring pressure as well.
Center John Wade did a good job with assisting Joseph and Sears on double-teaming Stroud and Henderson up the middle. However, there were no holes in the middle for Graham or Bennett as the Bucs used a lot of stretch running plays vs. Jacksonville. Wade gave up a sack by Jags defensive tackle Rob Meier on the first drive of the game, letting him slip through on a combo block with right guard Davin Joseph.
Left guard Arron Sears was back at pulling on running plays and was seen leading Earnest Graham through some holes in the second half. Stroud and Meier met at Garcia for a combo sack as Meier beat Sears with a power rip move where he drove Sears back and then slipped past him.
Left tackle Donald Penn did a good job in his pass rush keeping Jaguars defensive end Paul Spicer away from Garcia. Spicer had only one tackle in the game and had no hurries on Garcia after coming into the game with five sacks. Penn was the key blocker on Bennett's 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter when he had a pancake block on Jaguars safety Sammy Knight.
Joseph is getting beat too many times on pass rushes up the middle of the field. Stroud got his half a sack on a power move as he pushed Joseph back and shoved him out of the way. Joseph was the second half of the missed combo block on Meier on the first drive that yielded the first sack of the game.
Right tackle Jeremy Trueblood had an average day with his pass and run blocking keeping Jaguars defensive end Kenny Pettway and Spicer off-balanced. Trueblood did have a crushing block on a 10-yard Graham running play with 7:59 remaining in the second quarter.
Tampa Bay lost the time of possession vs. Jacksonville, 32:05 to 27:55, and gained 385 total yards offense.
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