American Football: Buccaneers plunder Jets to win American Bowl

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The Independent Online

Tampa Bay Buccaneers opened the NFL's pre-season with a 30-14 win over the New York Jets in the annual American Bowl game in Japan.

The Super Bowl champions used their trademark tough defense at the Tokyo Dome to grind down the Jets, who are the reigning AFC East champions. The Jets struck first with a 73-yard drive capped by a one-yard scamper from running-back LaMont Jordan.

The Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, who completed all four of his passing attempts, gave way to rookie Brooks Bollinger before the end of the first quarter as Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden and his counterpart Herman Edwards pulled their starters early in the game.

After the Jets score, Tampa Bay dominated the action and put points on the board from a 37-yard field goal by Martin Gramatica. Shaun King, who replaced starting quarterback Brad Johnson, led the Buccaneers on two drives, resulting in a field goal by back-up kicker Ralf Kleinmann and a four-yard run by Thomas Jones. The Bucs led 13-7 at half time.

Tampa Bay's rookie quarterback Chris Simms then added to the lead with a four-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Barlow, before cornerback Tim Wansley returned a fumble for a touchdown.