Jacksonville reserve linebacker Hayes Pullard III returned an interception for a TD as the Jaguars came from behind for a 26-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL preseason game.
“He did a great job – his drop and how he read the quarterback and how he read the formation and the routes, he put it all together there,” said Jacksonville Head Coach Gus Bradley of Pullard’s game winning pick. “It was a great play by him.”
Trailing 21-19 in the fourth quarter, second-year Pullard intercepted Bengals (1-2) backup QB Joe Licata’s pass and returned it 62 yards for the score. The play and extra point increased the Jaguars’ lead to seven and would prove to be the game winner.
Pullard appeared in eight games last season for the Jaguars (1-2) and started two games in place of Telvin Smith. Smith registered a game-high six tackles Sunday night, three solo, including one tackle for loss and one pass defense.
Third-year QB Blake Bortles completed 10 of 16 passes for 52 yards against the Bengals, increasing his 2016 preseason total to 24-of-34 passing for 242 yards and two TDs.
“They were a good team and we came out slow,” said Jaguars’ offensive lineman Brandon Linder. “We weren’t on the same page on a lot of stuff. It’s something we’ve got to get better at.”
Offensively, the Jaguars did not allow a sack for the first time during the 2016 preseason.
Fourth-year running back Joe Banyard scored the first TD for the Jaguars, taking a shotgun handoff seven yards up the middle for a touchdown with 3:31 remaining in the third quarter. Banyard had his best game of the 2016 preseason, rushing for 54 yards on 11 carries.
Jacksonville backup QB Chad Henne’s three-yard fourth-quarter pass to tight end Neal Sterling and a two-point conversion pass to Tony Washington cut Cincinnati’s lead to 21-19.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton directed two first-half scoring drives and was 6 of 10 passing for 77 yards and one touchdown. Backup QB AJ McCarron was 8 of 12 for 107 yards and threw a TD pass.
The Jaguars erased an 18-point deficit. With a win, the Jacksonville Jaguars have now registered a home preseason victory in three straight seasons and 13 of the last 14. The Jaguars have never gone winless in the preseason.
Behind early – Running back T.J. Yeldon fumbled on the opening drive. The visitors took over at the Jacksonville 22-yard line and scored when Dalton hit Giovani Bernard for a 7-0 lead. Cincinnati made it 14-0 in the second quarter when Jeremy Hill scored on a one-yard run ending a 16-play, 69-yard scoring drive.
Bringing the“D” – Sixth-year defensive end Jared Odrick recorded his first sack of the preseason against Cincinnati. Odrick, who was drafted 28th overall in the first round of the 2010 draft, led the defense with 5.5 sacks last year. The Jaguars registered 5.0 sacks against the Bengals, their most in a preseason game this year. Along with Odrick, defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks, defensive end Chris Smith, cornerback Josh Johnson and defensive end Ryan Davis each added a sack against the Bengals.
Cats nipped – Cincy cornerback Adam Jones suffered a calf strain during pregame warmups, while receiver A.J. Green injured his right knee in the opening quarter and didn’t return for precautionary reasons. Running back Cedric Peerman suffered a fracture left forearm in the second quarter.