JACKSONVILLE – Another week, another fast start.
That was the story for the Jaguars' offense Saturday night. Really, it was the story for the Jaguars as a whole as they closed their week of work against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Jaguars lost their second 2016 preseason game, 27-21, to the Buccaneers in front of 59,782 at EverBank Field Saturday, but the Jaguars' starters and front-line players looked good for a second consecutive week to start the preseason.
That was particularly true offensively.
"I think it was good," quarterback Blake Bortles said after the first-team offense scored touchdowns on two of three possessions before leaving the game midway through the second quarter.
"We had a couple of mental errors in the first series with an offsides and a couple of pre-snap mishaps that you'd like to eliminate, especially to start the game when you are backed up. I thought the guys did a really good job of rebounding and coming back and putting up some points."
Bortles completed 8 of 11 passes for 85 yards and two first-half touchdowns and was particularly effective leading touchdown drives on the Jaguars' second and third possessions. The second possession ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass to running back T.J. Yeldon and the third ended with a 24-yard strike from Bortles to third-year wide receiver Allen Hurns.
The Jaguars' lone unsuccessful first-team offensive possession Saturday came after they started their first series 1st-and-21 on their own 11 after a penalty on the Jaguars' coaching staff.
Allen Robinson, a Pro Bowl wide receiver last season, keyed Hurns' touchdown drive with three receptions for 34 yards. Robinson finished with four receptions for 34 yards.
"I was a little disappointed on our first drive," Robinson said. "I feel like we kind of hurt ourselves. We got a penalty early in that drive. It was first-and-twenty, so we don't want to start drives like that. After that I thought we played well. We executed and came out fast, made it third and manageable and made our plays."
The Jaguars' first-team defense played two series, allowing a penalty-aided drive that led to a missed field goal and ending the Buccaneers' second drive with a tipped-ball interception by fourth-year veteran cornerback Dwayne Gratz off quarterback Jameis Winston.
The Jaguars were ahead 7-0 when the starting defense left the game, with the second unit allowing a touchdown when Winston passed four yards to wide receiver Mike Evans, who beat cornerback Nick Marshall's good coverage on the play.
The game marked the preseason debut of Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who missed the preseason opener for precautionary reasons. The No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft made an immediate impact with two tackles on the Buccaneers' first drive, including a tackle for a six-yard loss on the second play. He finished with three tackles.
Starting free safety Tashaun Gipson also made his Jaguars debut after missing the opener for precautionary reasons. He signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from the Cleveland Browns in March.
The Jaguars led 14-7 before the Buccaneers tied the game with a five-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Mike Glennon to running back Mike James with :23 remaining in the second quarter. Rookie Roberto Aguayo made it 17-14 at halftime on the final play of the second quarter.
Former Jaguars running back Storm Johnson gave the Buccaneers a 24-14 lead with one-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Jaguars defensive back Josh Johnson's 79-yard interception return pulled the Jaguars to within 24-21 later in the quarter. Aguayo's 34-yard field goal with 1:28 remaining made it 27-21.
PLAYER OF THE GAME …
Bortles.This could have gone to several first-team players on the Jaguars' offense, with a special nod to running back Chris Ivory continuing to show a battering, lower-the-shoulder running style. But Bortles had a second consecutive efficient game on Saturday and ended his three-series night with his best play of the preseason – the 24-yard, perfectly-thrown strike to Hurns in the middle of the North end zone. "Blake has practiced his butt off each and every practice at camp this year, so for him to come out and play like that is no surprise to me," Robinson said.
Photos from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars in week two of the preseason.
The first-team offense hardly could have started the preseason better. They have scored three touchdowns on five possessions with exceptions being Saturday's drive that began 1st-and-21 on their 11 and a field-goal drive in the preseason opener in which tight end Julius Thomas dropped a would-be touchdown pass. The Jaguars finished Saturday with 209 yards and 12 first downs.
This was a better effort than Week 1, with the Jaguars' first-team defense not allowing a touchdown. Ramsey looked impressive in his debut and defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks appears to be regaining his suddenness from his 8.5-sack 2014 season. The Jaguars' defense overall allowed 378 yards and 28 first downs.
Kicker Jason Myers made both of his extra points in the first half and kicker Sam Ficken made his in the second half.
INJURY UPDATES …
Jaguars cornerback Nick Marshall sustained a finger injury in the second half.
Cornerback Peyton Thompson and offensive tackle Jeff Linkenbach both were evaluated for concussions in the second half. Defensive tackle Abry Jones sustained a second-half quad contusion.
The following Jaguars players did not play against the Jets: left tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee), defensive tackle Roy Miller, offensive tackle Josh Wells (thumb), strong safety James Sample (shoulder), defensive tackle Sheldon Day (back) and defensive tackle Michael Bennett (hip). Offensive lineman Luke Bowanko (hip) and defensive end Jonathan Woodard (Achilles) remain on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
STANDING OUT …
*With the above-mentioned players out, Luke Joeckel started at left tackle with Mackenzy Bernadeau starting at left guard.
*Jones started in place of Miller at nose guard.
*Gratz had the Jaguars' first takeaway with an interception off a tipped ball to end the Buccaneers' first drive. Safety Johnathan Cyprien had a nice pass breakup on the second down preceding the interception after being called for interference on the Buccaneers' first drive. …
*Marks, who had improved significantly in practice in the last week as he returns from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (2014) and torn triceps (2015), continued to look good. He was particularly disruptive during a series late in the first quarter.