Nothing special about Bucs' special teams in this game
Running back Clifton Smith finally made his preseason debut Saturday, but his first touch was hardly memorable.
Smith fielded a kickoff on the Bucs’ first possession and proceeded to fumble at the end of his 17-yard return. The Bucs retained possession after the ball eventually bounced out of bounds. Smith had missed the previous two preseason contests after a bout with what is believed to be gout, a condition that has been affecting him for nearly two months.
Overall, it was far from a banner night for special teams. Mercifully, kicker Connor Barth was steady again, kicking 51- and 40-yard field goals, but there were other areas for concern.
The Jaguars ripped off a long kick return to start the game, the second in as many weeks allowed by the Bucs. This time, the Jaguars’ Scotty McGee opened the game with a 47-yard kick return. The Bucs gave up a similar return against the Chiefs last week.
Later, rookie punter Brent Bowden gave the Bucs reason to worry. He had a rough night that included his 20-yard punt -- you read that right -- in the third quarter. The attempt was neither blocked nor closely pressured. Bowden appeared to shank the kick and gave the Jaguars possession at the Tampa Bay 30.
Two plays later, Jacksonville quarterback Luke McCown threw a touchdown to WR John Matthews to give the Jaguars the lead.