Walking into the stands at Raymond James stadium, I could only think one thing: “Man, if we lose I am going to look extremely silly.” Well, actually, that is a lie. The only thing I could really concentrate on was “Holy moly these stairs are steep oh god I am going to fall” as I walked into the upper deck. Seriously, Tampa. Those seats are scary.
Being a fan of the opposing team was a weird feeling. There was no hiding who we were with because the teal jerseys stuck out among all the red and there was a sort of friendship among us Jaguar fans, even though we had never met. In fact, my boyfriend and I were waiting for the gates to open when an older gentleman in a nice suit and a Jaguar hat came up to talk to us. We talked for a bit and he told us he was the father of fifth round pick Thomas Williams. That was pretty awesome. We also saw who we thought was Mike Walker’s family.
However, the fun came when the game started (mostly because I was able to ignore how high up we were oh god). I was feeling rather critical of the team after last week’s game against the Dolphins but they did not disappoint.
On the Bucs first try down the field, Earnest Graham fumbled on third and one. Reggie Hawyard, who had been out due to injury, forced the fumble and Paul Spicer scooped it up. Because of good special teams and great defense, the Jaguars found themselves on the 23 yard line. The short drive resulted in a field goal after Garrard‘s pass to Reggie Williams was short at the five yard line.
On the Bucs second time with the football, Jeff Garcia threw a terrible pass into Reggie Nelson‘s hands. After a Justin Durant flag, the Jaguars found themselves once again close to the end zone. After a Fred Taylor run and a Matt Jones first down, Garrard threw the ball to Dennis Northcutt for the touchdown.
After the Bucs punted the ball away, it was time to judge the offense’s real ability. After all, getting the ball close to the 20 yard line made it pretty easy to score. Now they were on their own 21 yard line. Now they had to drive it down the field. However, the Jaguars went three and out after Troy Williamson dropped the ball and Garrard got sacked.
As the Bucs drove down the field to their own endzone, Garcia threw another pick to Reggie Nelson. Honestly, as a fan in the stands, it was hard not to laugh a little. Unfortunately, my laughter was soon stopped as Garrard threw an interception to Ronde Barber.
Finally, in the second quarter, the Bucs drove down the field without a turnover and Garcia threw to Michael Clayton for the touchdown. After a Jaguar punt, they looked like they were going to score again until their kicker missed a field goal and the time ran out on the first half.
After the half, the Jaguars came out swinging. The first string offense drove down the field for a Garrard to Marcedes Lewis touchdown. It helped that Dennis Northcutt got a first down and then Tampa got a flag for roughing the passer. After that play, the second string offense (except the line) and defense came in.
The game slowed down a lot as the starters left the field. Cleo Lemon got to work behind the first string offensive line so the Jaguars could take a real look at him. Scobee kicked for another field goal. Trae Williams intercepted a ball.
The game came to a complete hault when Tampa’s Antoine Cash sustained a neck injury. Every player for both teams came out on the field to gather around him. I think that was good. Not only did it show respect but it had the added bonus of keeping the media out. He was taken off the field in a stretcher. It looked serious but recent reports say that he has been released from the hospital and that it is not as bad as it could have been.
Afterward, Scobee kicked for another field goal and were up by six. The Bucs drove down the field, in the last seconds looking like they wanted to score but a tackle by Trae Williams ended the game at Tampa’s 11 yard line.
It was a good, exciting game for a preseason game. Unfortunately, the pass game is still looking weak but the defense and special teams came out strong. They showed what they needed to after the Miami loss.