Jags Blanked By Bucs

Former Jaguars Instrumental In Tampa Victory

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Keenan McCardell, Rob Johnson and Frank Murphy would all agree: It's better to be from Jacksonville than in Jacksonville these days.

The Tampa Bay teammates, all with ties to Jacksonville, were part of a dominant effort Friday night, helping the Buccaneers to a 20-0 exhibition victory over the Jaguars.

Johnson, who began his NFL career with the Jaguars (0-2), kept alive his hopes to start for the Bucs (2-0) this season by going 8-for-11 for 74 yards and a touchdown pass to Murphy.

Murphy, who played his high school ball at West Nassau High School, finished with five catches for 40 yards, adding to his 95-yard kickoff return for a TD last week on the first play of the preseason.

"Two weeks, two touchdowns," McCardell said. "That's my man. It's Murph time! He was excited about coming back to Jacksonville, so I'm glad for him."

McCardell had one catch for 21 yards in limited action. His biggest moment came during pregame introductions, when he preened and pranced his way onto the field and soaked in the applause from fans who loved him during his six seasons here.

"It made me feel great," McCardell said. "It was unbelievable. I didn't know it would be like that."

The current Jags were nothing to cheer for. In fact, they were an ineffective mess for the second straight week, and some in the crowd of 47,036 were booing by the end.

Mark Brunell went 6-for-9 for 40 yards in limited play. He has two completions to his receivers in 21 passing plays over two preseason games -- a stat that speaks volumes about how much he misses both McCardell and holdout Jimmy Smith.

"My stand is that Jimmy is our best player, and he's not here, and that's unfortunate," Brunell said. "I'm confident it will be resolved, the sooner the better."

Again, Fred Taylor was the only bright spot for Jacksonville's offense. He had four carries for 25 yards and is averaging 5.6 yards per rush this preseason.

The symbolic moment of the Jaguars' night came early in the third quarter, after they recovered a fumble on Tampa Bay's 20. Backup quarterback David Garrard took an 11-yard sack on first down and Jacksonville settled for a 49-yard field goal attempt that was partially blocked.

In the fourth quarter, Hayden Epstein had another field goal try blocked, and out came the boo birds. It was the first preseason shutout the Jaguars have endured in their eight-season history.

"Hayden didn't have a good week in practice, but I didn't expect him to drive it into the back of our offensive line twice," coach Tom Coughlin said.

The Jaguars also had 12 penalties for 104 yards.

Meanwhile, the Bucs' passing offense -- redesigned by new coach Jon Gruden -- was better than last week, when it allowed seven sacks against the Dolphins. It produced 248 yards and took advantage of opportunities handed to it by the Jaguars.

In the second quarter, Tampa Bay defensive back Terrell Buckley picked off Garrard to give the Bucs the ball on Jacksonville's 39. Five plays later, Johnson and Murphy connected for a 3-yard touchdown play and a 10-0 lead.

After the second blocked field goal, Shaun King led the Bucs to their final touchdown, a 31-yard pass to Marquise Walker.

"You never want to say we're where we want to be," Gruden said. "We have a long way to go. But I like the demeanor of this team. The demeanor, attitude and energy is near where we want it to be."

Brad Johnson went 6-for-12 for 97 yards in just over a quarter for the Bucs. He's the likely starter, although Gruden hasn't ruled out a challenge from Rob Johnson.

The Bucs' defense gave up only 237 yards -- right on track for this stellar unit -- and may have muted some of the excitement the Jaguars' defense was feeling about stopping Brunell and Co. in practice virtually every day. The real truth so far: This offense can't move against anyone, especially without Smith.

"We've got the offense to make this go," Taylor said. "But with a very good friend of mine -- I don't need to say his name -- it can be even better."

Garrard finished 11-for-17 for 76 yards with one interception. He was sacked three times.

Bucs defensive lineman Warren Sapp didn't make the trip. He has swelling on his left knee.

Jaguars tight end Kyle Brady was a late scratch with a shoulder injury, although both teams appeared to make it through the game with no major injuries.

Copyright 2011 by News4Jax.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.