The Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up where they left off last season, defeating the New York Jets 30-14 at Tokyo Dome on Saturday in the American Bowl in the NFL’s exhibition opener.
Rookie Chris Simms, who started the second half for Tampa Bay, led a drive that culminated with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Barlow 45 seconds into the fourth quarter to put the Buccaneers ahead 20-7.
Tampa Bay widened the lead to 27-7 with 12:07 remaining when Tim Wansley knocked the ball loose with a hit on New York quarterback Brooks Bollinger. Wansley scooped up the fumble and ran for a 47-yard touchdown.
Tampa Bay’s Ralf Kleinmann made it 30-7 on a 37-yard field goal with nine minutes remaining.
Thomas Jones gave the Buccaneers a 13-7 lead with 12 seconds left in the first half by scoring on a 4-yard run.
Jets fans didn’t have much to cheer about, but the highlight for Japanese fans came in the final minutes of the fourth quarter when Bollinger completed a 44-yard pass to Yoshinobu Imoto.
Imoto was one of two Japanese players in the American Bowl. Linebacker Shinzo Yamada played in one series for Tampa Bay.
Bollinger then threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Reid just before the two-minute warning to cap the scoring.
The trip to Japan is part of an effort by the NFL to broaden the appeal of American football in foreign markets.
Saturday’s game was the 12th American Bowl played in Japan. Last year, the Washington Redskins defeated the San Francisco 49ers 38-7 at the Osaka Dome in western Japan.
The Jets scored on their opening drive after Lamont Jordan ran the ball in from the one-yard line. Chad Pennington completed a key 42-yard pass to Curtis Conway to set up the play.
Tampa Bay stars Warren Sapp and Keyshawn Johnson saw limited action, as did most starters.
The Buccaneers got on the scoreboard in the first quarter when Martin Gramatica kicked a 37-yard field goal.
Pennington came out of the game after the first quarter and was replaced by Bollinger. Tampa Bay quarterback Shaun King replaced Brad Johnson early in the second quarter.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Dallas Cowboys running back Ennis Haywood died accidentally from a mixture of drugs and ethanol complicated by his asthma, the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office has ruled.
“Although the mixed ethanol and drug ingestion was the primary cause of death, a significant condition contributing to the death was bronchial asthma,” the office said in a statement issued Friday.
Haywood’s blood alcohol level was measured at .07 percent, medical examiner’s spokeswoman Linda F. Anderson said, and could have been more than double that amount at the time he entered the hospital.
“More than likely his blood alcohol level was much higher when he was admitted, but they did not take a blood alcohol level until 12 hours after he was admitted,” Anderson said.
Haywood, 23, died during a May minicamp at Medical Center of Arlington, where he was taken after he began vomiting in his sleep. Paramedics were called after family members were unable to find a pulse.
Further tissue and toxicology tests were conducted after an initial autopsy failed to show the cause of death.
The medical examiner’s office said that it had determined he died from “mixed ethanol and drug ingestion (codeine and unidentified benzodiazepine).” The death was formally ruled accidental.
It also confirmed what his mother, Carol Haywood, said at the time — that her son could have been a victim of asthma.
A woman who answered the phone at her home on Friday afternoon said Carol Haywood wasn’t immediately available for comment.
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