Order the new book, The United States Football League, 1982–1986.
Washington 9 at Tampa Bay 28 (Fort Lauderdale, FL)1984 Preseason Week 2 - Saturday, February 4, 1984
FORT LAUDERDALE (By JOHN LUTTERMOSER St.Petersburg Times Staff Writer) - "We were pretty sloppy," head coach Steve Spurrier said Saturday night, and he had plenty of dropped passes and pointless penalties to back up that statement.
But for a team that only started practice nine days before, the Tampa Bay Bandits didn't look half bad.
The Bandits coasted to a 28-9 win over the Washington Federals in their first preseason game.
Admittedly, the Federals who showed up at Lockhart Stadium were the guys who lost 13 of their first 14 games last year, not the strangers who won three of their last four.
But a check of the accepted sloppiness barometers doesn't reveal any danger zone readings for Tampa Bay.
The Bandits turned the ball over only once, when a long Nathaniel Koonce pass was picked off near the goal line in the third quarter.
They fumbled only once. That was on a center snap mishandled by free agent rookie quarterback Brad Perry, who had been a Bandit for about 72 hours at the time. Running back George Ragsdale recovered.
Tampa Bay was penalized eight times for 65 yards, which is not too bad for a first exhibition game.
And the Bandits did it with an almost completely new cast handling the ball.
With quarterback Jimmy Jordan, tailback Gary Anderson and wide receiver Eric Truvillion sidelined by injuries (only Jordan's shoulder problem is believed to be a major worry), second-year Bandits were mostly involved as blockers for brand-new Bandits.
Greg Boone's one attempt for 1 yard was the only time a player who carried the ball for the Bandits last year carried it Saturday. Ragsdale, who carried it eight times, was on the team last year but missed most of the season with a broken ankle and had no rushing attempts.
Mike Grayson, a rookie from Duke, did most of the damage. He broke off runs of 52 and 67 yards in the fourth quarter, scoring on the 67-yarder and winding up with 1555 yards on 12 carries.
Quarterback John Reaves did throw eight passes, but all 12 Bandit receptions were pulled in by new Bandits. Larry Brodsky and rookie WIlford Morgan led the way with three each.
Reaves only played one series, leading the Bandits on a 15-play, 90-yard drive that gave them a 6-0 lead with 8:01 left in the first quarter.
Free agent running back Larry Key scored the touchdown on a 22-yard pass play, taking a dump pass over the middle and running to the pylon at left corner of the end zone.
Key also carried six times for 23 yards on the drive, including 8-, 12-, and 2-yard rushes that produced first downs. Brodsky caught passes for gains of 10 and 25.
Tampa Bay scored all of the points it needed on its first two possessions. The second one started when cornerback Warren Hanna intercepted a Mike Hohensee pass and retuirned it to the Washington 32-yard line. It was the first of three Bandit interceptions against Hohensee, who clearly lost the first round battle with Reggie Collier for the starting job at quarterback.
Key made another first down with a 14-uyard burst off right guard. Then Koonce threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Morgan, a rookie from Bethune-Cookman.
That made the score 12-0. The first Bandit conversion attempt was blocked and a two-point try failed on the second touchdown.
Tampa Bay's third quarterback, Perry, also produced a touchdown on his first series. That one came at the beginning of the second-half, with the Bandits leading 12-3.
A 44-yard gain on a pass from Perry to rookie tight end John Brinkman set up a 20-yard Perry-to-Brodsky touchdown. Again, the Bandits went for two and failed.
Grayson's two long runs were the big plays on Tampa Bay's two remaining scoring drives. The 52-yarder, on an end run with a fake reverse to rookie wide receiver Darryl Crane, set up a 31-yard field goal by newly signed Jim Gainey. The touchdown run closed out the scoring with less than two minutes left.
Meanwhile, the Bandit defense was keeping the lead comfortable.
Washington only had one good chance to pull within striking distance, when Jamie Pope blasted up the middle on a 13-yard touchdown run to make it 18-9 with 11:28 left in the game.
Free agent linebacker Ed Jackson kept the lead from shrinking to seven
by sacking Collier on a teo-point conversion attempt. Then, after Gainey's
field goal made it 21-9, rookie defensive back Fred Nichols intercepted a
Hohensee pass on the 1-yard line with 5:50 left to defuse the last Federal