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(Sunday, December 11th)
Final Score: Jacksonville 41, Tampa Bay 14
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Maurice Jones-Drew accounted for four of Jacksonville's six touchdowns Sunday, as the Jaguars stormed past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 41-14, at EverBank Field.
Jones-Drew finished with two rushing scores and two receiving touchdowns to go with 136 total yards. With the four scores, Jones-Drew has 73 career touchdowns, establishing a new Jaguars franchise record.
Blaine Gabbert threw for 217 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Marcedes Lewis grabbed two passes for 77 yards for the Jaguars (4-9), who snapped a three-game losing streak and earned their first win under interim head coach Mel Tucker.
"Guys were stepping up all over the field," Tucker said. "Offense, defense and special teams. We talked in the locker room before the game, we wanted to go out here and show everyone that we were a team. We needed to be relentless for 60 minutes in all phases of the game, and that's what we were able to get done today."
Josh Freeman returned to action for the Bucs after missing last Sunday's 38-19 setback against the Carolina Panthers. He threw for 181 yards and two interceptions on 16-of-30 passing, while running for 26 yards and a score.
LeGarrette Blount ran for 74 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries for the Buccaneers (4-9), who opened a 14-0 lead but turned the ball over seven times and have lost seven straight.
"You can't win a game by turning the ball over seven times," Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris said. "There's no way you can do that. We have to go out and get back to ball security and fundamentals of football."
Tampa Bay got off to a fast start, marching 80 yards in 10 plays on the opening drive of the game -- keyed by a big 28-yard completion from Freeman to Kellen Winslow on 4th-and-1 to get down to the Jacksonville eight. Two plays later, Blount powered his way up the middle for a one-yard touchdown run to give his team the 7-0 lead. It was the first time all season that the Bucs scored a touchdown on their opening drive of the game.
With 3:40 to go in the opening quarter, the Jags got the ball at the Bucs' 46 following a 35-yard punt, but didn't go anywhere. The first two plays of the drive gained three yards, then, on 3rd-and-7, Gabbert threw a pass over the middle that was intended for Lewis, but wound up in the hands of Ronde Barber, who took it up to the 48.
On the ensuing drive, the Bucs went 52 yards in six plays and Freeman capped it by scrambling for a 13-yard touchdown run to put his team up 14-0.
But that's where the fun ended for Tampa Bay, as Jacksonville responded with 41 unanswered points.
Midway through the second quarter, the Jags got the train rolling with a fantastic special teams play. Preston Parker fielded a Jacksonville punt at the Bucs' 20, made one move and was blasted by Montell Owens, causing him to lose the ball. Colin Cloherty scooped it up and returned it eight yards for a Jacksonville touchdown.
The Jags went 77 yards in four plays on their next drive -- keyed by a huge 62-yard completion from Gabbert to Lewis -- to reach the Tampa Bay two. Two plays later, Jones-Drew powered his way across the goal line for a one-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14 with 2:05 to go in the second quarter.
On the second play of the ensuing Bucs drive, the Jags defense stepped up with a big play, as Freeman was sacked and lost the ball on the goal line. It was recovered by Nate Collins in the end zone for a touchdown, giving Jacksonville a 21-14 edge.
Following another Buccaneers turnover on their next drive -- their fourth of the half -- Jacksonville took over and went 49 yards in nine plays before Gabbert finished off the drive with a five-yard touchdown strike to Jones-Drew to make it 28-14 just four seconds before the break.
Jacksonville added to its lead early in the final quarter, as Gabbert led a 10-play, 74-yard drive and Jones-Drew capped it with another five-yard touchdown catch to make it 35-14 with 10:22 to play in regulation.
The Jags capped the scoring with 2:31 to play as they went 55 yards in nine plays and Jones-Drew finished off his stellar day with another one-yard touchdown run to account for the final margin.
Jacksonville leads the all-time regular season series, 4-1...Winslow has at least one reception in 89 consecutive games...With the loss, the Bucs suffered their first seven-game losing streak since starting the 2009 season 0-7...Jacksonville outgained Tampa Bay, 325-280...The Jags converted 5-of-15 third-down opportunities, while The Buccaneers went 3-for-11 on third down.
12/11 18:18:26 ET
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