Jags 24, Bucs 23, final

The Bucs dropped to 4-4 with a 24-23 loss to Jacksonville. Did you miss the game? Catch up with our exclusve in-game blog.

Bucs will lose, 7:16 p.m.

Ike Hilliard had the pass that would move the chains and give the Bucs a chance at a field goal on 4th-and-10, but Jags corner Rashean Mathis broke up the pass and forced a change of possession. The Jags will win this hard-fought contest and the Bucs will drop to 4-4 at the midway point of the season. Like last week's game against Detroit, the Bucs must feel as if they left a win out there on the field tonight

Final score, Jags 24, Bucs 23.

Buchanon back, 7:10 p.m.

Phillip Buchanon is back to take this punt from the Jags. He made it exciting, reversing field, but it's a short gain and a Bucs penalty for holding is going to compound it. Ryan Nece was the culprit. The Bucs will get it at their 34 with 1:43 left — and no time outs.

Jags to punt, 7:08 p.m.

After the two minute warning, the Jags will punt from their 21.

Gray sacked, 7:07 p.m.

Gaines Adams and Greg White set the Jags back further by sacking Quinn Gray for a loss to the Jags 12. Now it's third down and the Bucs are likely to get the ball back with about two minutes left — as long as they stop the Jags on third down.

Jags shoot off foot, 7:06 p.m.

A penalty – ineligible man downfield – forces the Jags to 2nd and 13. The Bucs get a break.

Another big third down, 7:05 p.m.

But this time Quinn Gray hits Greg Jones for a screen and a big gain to the Jags 25 with under three to play. That could be the back-breaker.

Bucs punt, 7:01 p.m.

Joey Galloway had the first down, but he couldn't hold onto a high pass from Jeff Garcia. Josh Bidwell's punt put the Jags back at their own 3 with 4:47 left. So the Bucs defense has to get it done again.

Bucs driving, 6:59 p.m.

Jeff Garcia hit B.J. Askew in the flat, who turned it into a big gain into Jags territory. The Bucs want to chew clock and score a touchdown here.

Spires has an ankle, 6:57 p.m.

Greg Spires has an ankle injury. His return is questionable.

Big play here, 6:55 p.m.

The Bucs had the Jags at 3rd-and-13 at their own 7. The result was an incomplete pass, but a flag afterward. The call is illegal touching on the offense. Matt Jones went out of bounds and then touched the ball. The Jags punted to Joey Galloway, who never had a chance to return it because Adam Podlesh punted it all the way to the Bucs 17 for a 76-yard punt with 7:58 left. There goes field position.

Waving off the cart, 6:54 p.m.

Greg Spires waived off the cart and walked off the field under his own power. He's favoring his right leg, but it talking with trainers, so he's not in too much pain. Hopefully an update will come soon.

Spires is hurt, 6:52 p.m.

Greg Spires just threw his helmet in pain after helping to stop Fred Taylor on a 2-yard gain. Trainers are looking at him right now. That's bad news for the Bucs, who are already short-handed on the defensive line as it is.

Bad start for Jags, 6:50 p.m.

The Jags got a big pass gain on first down, but Marcedes Lewis is called for offensive pass interference, setting the Jags back to their 5 facing 1st and 15. They'll get conservative here to avoid losing more yardage.

Huge miss, 6:47 p.m.

The Bucs had the game-changer, with Joey Galloway streaking down the sideline wide open. But Jeff Garcia needed a little more air under it. He overthrew Galloway by about two or three yards. The Bucs punt and set the Jags back to their 10 with 10:13 to play. Time for the Bucs defense to step up.

Strategy here, 6:44 p.m.

The Bucs should stay aggressive here, I think, but not overly so. They only need a field goal to give them the lead. But a touchdown puts pressure on Gray to drive the Jags to a TD of their own, and he's never worked a fourth-quarter, two-minute drill before. A Bucs touchdown would put a lot of pressure on the inexperienced QB.

Jones TD?, 6:40 p.m.

Quinn Gray hit Matt Jones on a fade route in the end zone for a TD and a 24-23 Jags lead with 11:37 left. It's hard to tell if Jones got his second foot inbounds, but after losing the first challenge, I'm sure Jon Gruden is thinking he needs that second time out he might lose if he challenges and is wrong. Besides, I'm not sure there's enough on the replay to overturn it.

Play counts, 6:38 p.m.

The Bucs lost the challenge. In this case, the official got the call right. The Bucs need to limit the Jags to a field goal here.

Replay coming, 6:36 p.m.

The Bucs are challenging that Ernest Wilford caught a third-down pass in the flat from Quinn Gray. He bobbled it, but it appeared as if he regained possession and got both feet in, slipping the second foot in by the slimmest of margins. I don't think the Bucs will win this challenge, giving the Jags a first down and the ball at the Bucs 9.

More on Gray, 6:34 p.m.

The timing isn't there between Gray and his receivers today. That's to be expected, given the few reps he gets with first-team receivers. If the Bucs can just make this a two-score game, they can force the Jags to rely on Gray to win it and I don't think he can.

Jackson flagged, 6:29 p.m.

The Jags get a break to end the third quarter, as Tanard Jackson was flagged for unnecessary roughness for hitting out of bounds. It looked like it was a good call, but my replay angle wasn't that great. The Jags get the ball at midfield to start the final quarter. That may be the break they needed.

Bucs add to lead, 6:27 p.m.

Matt Bryant's 42-yar field goal is good, giving the Bucs a 23-17 lead with 5 seconds left in the third quarter. The Bucs wanted a touchdown, but the way the Bucs defense is styming the Jags right now, it might not matter.

Unruliness in the stands, 6:25 p.m.

The fans at Ray Jay are booing a pass interference call that wasn't made as Rashean Mathis appeared to try and run through Joey Galloway to try and break up a pass. It was questionable, certainly, but it appeared the ball got there pretty close to when Mathis got there. It's one of those bang-bang plays officials have to make occasionally.

Sensational stop, 6:22 p.m.

The Bucs just sent the Jaguars 3-and-out again, this time wrapping up Maurice Jones-Drew on a third-down screen, a safety-valve pass that could have been dangerous. Then, Maurice Stovall had a partial block of Adam Podlesh's punt, giving the Bucs great field position again at the Jags 30 with 1:39 left in the third quarter.

Hello, Mike, 6:17 p.m.

Jeff Garcia hit Michael Bennett on a little swing pass in the flat and Bennett turned it into his first TD as a Buc with 3:19 left in the third. It's actually a run, because the pass was a lateral. But the Bucs have a 20-17 lead.

It's called momentum, and the Bucs have it.

The bigness of this game, 6:15 p.m.

Have I mentioned that a Bucs win, coupled with the Panthers' loss to Indy, would vault the Bucs back into first place in the NFC South? Plus, with the Saints on their way to their third straight win — they're beating San Francisco 24-0 in the third quarter — this division is getting tighter. It's not a divisional game, but this game is important, believe me.

Gray's day, 6:12

About the best thing you can say about Quinn Gray is that he hasn't made any mistakes so far. But he won't win this game for Jacksonville the way Jeff Garcia will for Tampa Bay, should the Bucs rally.

And he nearly just made a critical error. He lost the football and nearly took a safety before he crawled out of the end zone. The Jags will punt from their one. Joey Galloway took the punt and returned it to the Jags 35 with 4:43 left in the third. Greg Spires got the sack on Gray.

First the fourth down tackle by Barber, and now this. Do I sense a momentum shift?

Gray's day, 6:12

About the best thing you can say about Quinn Gray is that he hasn't made any mistakes so far. But he won't win this game for Jacksonville the way Jeff Garcia will for Tampa Bay, should the Bucs rally.

And he nearly just made a critical error. He lost the football and nearly took a safety before he crawled out of the end zone. The Jags will punt from their one. Joey Galloway took the punt and returned it to the Jags 35 with 4:43 left in the third. Greg Spires got the sack on Gray.

First the fourth down tackle by Barber, and now this. Do I sense a momentum shift?

Bucs taking their shots, 6:07 p.m.

With the Jags clogging up the middle, the Bucs are taking their shots down the field. They're coming close, but the Jags, thus far, are doing a good job of limiting potential damage. The Bucs had to punt on this drive, as the Jags take over at their own 4 with about 6:30 left in the third quarter. Great punt by Bidwell, and big mistake by Dennis Northcutt at least not fielding the punt. He did signal for a fair catch.

Key play for this game, 5:58 p.m.

The Jags opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 from their 49. I like this decision by the Jags, because they've run the ball well all day. Taylor is the set-back. But Quinn Gray snuck it over for the first down to keep the drive going.

Four plays later, the Jags went for it again on fourth down and ran it to LaBrandon Toefield. This time, though, Ronde Barber got him behind the line of scrimmage to give the Bucs the ball at their 40 with 7:59 left in the third. That could be a key play if the Bucs win this game.

Garcia's second INT, 5:54 p.m.

John Henderson just sacked Jeff Garcia to force the Bucs' QB's second INT of the day, giving the Jags the ball at their own 40 with 12:13 left in the third. Not sure if he underthrew it or if he knew Henderson was coming, but there was no receiver in sight.

Buchanon on kickoffs, 5:49 p.m.

Phillip Buchanon just returned the third-quarter kickoff for Tampa Bay, meaning that the Bucs have already lost faith in Chad Lucas after two lukewarm returns.

Halftime, 5:33 p.m.

The Bucs are down 17-13 at halftime and in much better shape than I thought they would be after that Jeff Garcia interception gave the Jags a two touchdown lead. The Bucs will have to rely on the pass today, as the Jags are stuffing the run. Garcia is Tampa Bay's leading rusher. The Bucs defense cannot allow sustained drives, which would wear them down late in the game. The good thing? The Bucs get the ball to start the third quarter.

Oh so close, 5:30 p.m.

Jeff Garcia came real close to the first down, diving forward and losing his helmet again at the Jags 3. But it's just short and the Bucs will kick a short field goal to make it 17-13 Jags with less than a minute to play. It looks like there might have been an illegal hit on the play. The Bucs fans sure think so after seeing the replay. Still, the Bucs needed something on this drive and they got 3 points. That's a good feeling for them entering the locker room.

The great thing about this drive? Maurice Stovall and Jerramy Stevens got into the act, both making big catches on the drive to keep things going. That's one thing I talked about needing to happen for the Bucs to win today. Sounds like they're taking their best shot at it.

There was a big penalty on the drive, as Maurice Stovall was called for offensive pass interference, setting the Bucs back to 1st-and-20 at the Jags 36. That's the third big offensive penalty of the day for the Bucs.

Trying to get it back, 5:16 p.m.

The Bucs are one play away from getting the ball back with about two minutes left, if the defense can hold on third and seven. I expect the Jags to run and then punt, if they don't get the first down. They're at their own 12 and I don't think they want Quinn Gray making a mistake.

Nope, the Jags tried a fly route and Matt Jones nearly wrapped up the ball. But his drop leads to a punt — and the Bucs get to save a time out and get the two minute warning. The Bucs have the ball at their own 37 with 2:01 left in the half.

Opportunity missed, 5:14 p.m.

Jeff Garcia took a sack on first down and it led to a punt as the two-minute warning looms. Now the Bucs defense must stop the Jags from scoring any more points this half.

Jags punt, 5:10 p.m.

The Bucs forced the Jags three and out after the Galloway TD and will take over with about four minutes left in the second quarter. That's a big stop for the Bucs, who can now try and cut this lead further. Phillip Buchanon just gave them good field position inside Jags territory.

Big possession right here, 5:09 p.m.

If the Bucs can force a three and out after the Galloway TD, that would be a big momentum swing in this contest.

Down 14, 5:05 p.m.

Tampa Bay is really going to have to test this Jags secondary downfield now — and they just did. Jeff Garcia hit Joey Galloway up the seam for a long touchdown pass with 5:45 left to cut Jacksonville's lead in half, 17-10, with 5:45 left. Faithful readers will know that I predicted that. It's Galloway's 75th TD reception.

Did I say Jacksonville had the game under control? Yes. And I'm sticking by that for now, because the Jags can run the ball and Tampa Bay cannot.

The streak is over, 5:01 p.m.

Remember Aaron Glenn? He just ended Jeff Garcia's interceptionless streak, picking off a quick hitch pass to Joey Galloway. He just jumped the route and read it cold. He returned it for a TD and the Jags have a 17-3 lead with 7:09 left in the second quarter.

The Jags have this one under control, which is scary because it's not even halftime yet.

Further worries, 4:59 p.m.

Kick returner Torrie Cox is questionable with a knee injury. The news just keeps getting grimmer. Chad Lucas — who was just called up from the practice squad — is back to return kickoffs.

I wrote all that, 4:57 p.m.

I just got done writing that Quinn Gray was comfortable in the pocket and he followed that by nearly throwing a pick on a bad decision on a screen pass that was well-covered. John Carney made a 41-yard field goal to give the Jags a 10-3 lead with 7:25 left in the second quarter.

I stand by it, though. The Bucs are going to have to make something happen defensively to win.

Gray comfortable now, 4:55 p.m.

I think the Bucs have missed their chance to get to Quin Gray. He just completed a wonderful downfield pass to Greg Estandia for a first down in Bucs territory. It was just his third pass of the day But by running so much in the first quarter, I think Gray got comfortable in the pocket, at least comfortable enough to make a play like that. This Bucs defense is going to have to make a play — as in force a turnover — to keep this game from getting away from them early, because it looks like the Jags are playing their kind of game.

Bucs miss a chance, 4:52 p.m.

Tampa Bay had a chance to get out of a 1st-and-20 hole, but back Michael Bennett was unable to hold onto a rainbow of a pass from Jeff Garcia downfield, forcing a punt. The Jags will get the ball at their 43 with 9:36 left in the second quarter.

I get the feeling the Bucs are going to be behind all day.

Penalties, penalties, 4:50 p.m.

David Joseph just undid a nice screen pass from Jeff Garcia to Earnest Graham with a hands to the face penalty, a 10-yard infraction. That's the second time the Bucs offense has stymied a drive with 1st-and-20 field position, thanks to a penalty.

Jags punt on third possession, 4:47 p.m.

Tampa Bay forced a three and out, putting Quinn Gray in a third-and-long. Out of the shotgun, Gray pump-faked left, turned around and found Tanard Jackson in his face. His screen pass was long. Good work by the D to force the punt. The Bucs have the ball at their own 28 with 11:50 left in the second.

So far the Bucs have tackled well, but they're going to need to be near-perfect today as the Jags seem intent on running it 50 times today.

Bucs punt, 4:41 p.m.

The Bucs had something going on that second drive, but an intentional grounding call on Jeff Garcia set the Bucs back 10 yards, with a loss of down. They had to punt. The Jags have the ball on their own 31 with 13:24 left in the second quarter.

Maurice Stovall did catch his first pass of the game. He'll need more if this offense is going to go today.

Flag on Bucs, 4:35 p.m.

Torrie Cox had a short return on the ensuing kickoff, but a holding penalty on Tampa Bay's Kalvin Pearson sets the Bucs back at their own 9 with 1:23 left in the first quarter.

Jags keep it on ground, score, 4:33 p.m.

The Jaguars aren't shying away from what they do best, and if they keep it up they're going to wear the Bucs out today.

The Jags ran it 14 straight times before Quinn Gray completed a short screen to Maurice Jones-Drew for a gain to the Bucs 1. It led to a LaBrandon Toefield TD run with 1:31 left in the first.

If I'm Jon Gruden, I'm worried. The Jags have come in here and run the ball on you 15 times for 68 yards in two drives and scored one touchdown. There's no way for the Bucs to pressure Gray because the run game is moving the football with relative ease. This doesn't bode well. Credit Jags OC Dick Koetter for crafting a game plan that plays to his team's strengths and that Jags O-Line for moving the Bucs around.

Jones in, 4:23 p.m.

Matt Jones is playing today for the Jaguars after being the inactive third quarterback the past two games.

Jags in good shape, 4:21 p.m.

The Bucs opted for a short positional kick and tight end George Wrighster turned it into a 29-yard return to midfield. The strategy backfired in this case.

Bucs on offense, take lead, 4:18 p.m.

Tampa Bay is stopped just inside the red zone, forcing a field goal attempt by Matt Bryant. His 44-yard kick was good to make it 3-0 Bucs with 7:26 left in the first. You would have liked to see a TD there, but the Bucs will take the points early.

The Bucs received nice field position on the punt, thanks to a Jags holding penalty that put them at their own 30 instead of the 20. Michael Bennett took the first carry of the game, gaining four yards. Two plays later Jeff Garcia gained 21 yards for a first down on a scramble. Garcia did it again on the next play, slid and drew a personal foul from rookie safety Reggie Nelson, who hit Garcia on the way down. I'm not sure Nelson hit him, to be honest.

Anyone worried Garcia is going to be the Bucs' leading rusher today?

Jags on offense, 4:10 p.m.

The Jags ran the football on their first six plays before they were forced to punt. The Jags ran the ball fairly well and this is a nice strategy to give new starting QB Quinn Gray time to get comfortable under center.

Bucs will kick off, 4:04 p.m.

Matt Bryant is set to kick it off, and Maurice Jones-Drew is not back for this kickoff. It's cornerback Scott Starks. That's certainly a nod to Jones-Drew's injury situation. Nice return by Starks, but it's coming back due to a Jags penalty.

Jags slot Glenn as starter, 3:04 p.m.

With starting right corner Brian Williams inactive, veteran Aaron Glenn will start. The 14-year veteran is still talented enough to play, but I doubt the Jags want him in single coverage against Joey Galloway. Keep your eye on him.

Also, Paul Spicer will start at end for Reggie Hayward, which isn't a big surprise.

Inactives, 3:02 p.m.

Here are today's inactives: Bucs — QB Luke McCown (third quarterback), CB Brian Kelly, RB Michael Pittman, LB Jeremiah Trotter, DE Patrick Chukwurah, G Dan Buenning, WR Michael Clayton, TE Alex Smith. Jags — QB David Garrard, PK Josh Scobee, WR John Broussard, CB Brian Williams, DT Derek Landri, T Richard Collier, G Uche Nwaneri, DT Tony McDaniel.

At Ray Jay, 2:45 p.m.

Some of the Jags and Bucs are on the field getting ready for today's game. So far, no sign of Maurice Jones-Drew. But only the Jags' special teamers are on the field right now. We'll see the full team in about 30 minutes — about the same time the inactives are released. I expect Jones-Drew to play.

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