With Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback David Garrard injured, the team pinned their hopes on their running game and defense. As it turned out, it worked just well enough to win as the Jaguars (5-2) escaped with a 24-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4). The Jaguars’ defense made the lead stick with a timely interception of a Jeff Garcia pass and forcing a couple of punts.
The Jaguars took the lead 7-3 when they ran on fifteen of their first 16 plays with the lone pass going to running back Maurice Jones-Drew for 15 yards to the Bucs’ 1-yard line. RB LaBrandon Toefield ran the ball in for a touchdown on the next play. Jaguars’ placekicker John Carney kicked a 41-yard field goal to make it 10-3 halfway through the secoind quarter when it appeared the team’s game plan was working according to plan, as cornerback Aaron Glenn picked off a Jeff Garcia pass and ran 28 yards for another TD making the score 17-3. The interception was Garcia’s first of the year.
But Tampa Bay would narrow the gap to 17-10 when Garcia threw a 58-yard TD pass to wide receiver Joey Galloway, followed up by a 22-yard FG by Matt Bryant. The Buccaneers would take the lead 20-17 on a 19-yard run by RB Michael Bennett then extend that lead to 23-17 with a 42-yard FG by Bryant. But Jaguars QB Quinn Gray would give the team the lead for good with a 8-play, 53-yard drive that would end when he threw a 8-yard TD pass to WR Matt Jones in the corner of the end zone to make the score 24-23 Jacksonville.
Garcia had one of his worst outings this year, going 19-for-41 for 267 yards with a TD and 3 INT’s. Joey Galloway led all Bucs receivers with 6 receptions for 115 yards and a TD. RB Earnest Graham led the Buccaneers with 62 yards rushing on 14 carries. QB Quinn Gray had a poor outing for the Jaguars, going 7-for-16 for 100 yards with a passing TD. The running attack was led by RB Fred Taylor, who rushed for 68 yards on 24 carries. RB Maurice Jones-Drew added 48 yards on 10 carries. The victorious Jaguars will visit New Orleans next week to take on the Saints (3-4) while the Buccaneers will host the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium.