Linebacker Hayes Pullard III returned an interception 62 yards for the go-ahead touchdown as the Jacksonville Jaguars rallied from an 18-point deficit and registered a 26-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night in a preseason contest at Jacksonville, Fla.
Pullard earlier cost himself an offensive touchdown by failing to report as an eligible receiver. But he made up for the miscue by intercepting Cincinnati backup Joe Licata and returning it for the decisive score with 7:48 remaining and the Jaguars (1-2) held on for the win.
Quarterback Andy Dalton directed two first-half touchdown drives for Cincinnati and was 6-of-10 passing for 77 yards and one touchdown in 1 1/2 quarters of action. Backup quarterback AJ McCarron was 8 of 12 for 107 yards and also threw a touchdown pass for the Bengals (1-2).
Jacksonville began the contest on a sour note when running back T.J. Yeldon lost a fumble on the opening drive. The Bengals took over at the Jaguars' 22-yard line and scored on the third play when Dalton hit Giovani Bernard in the left flat and the running back navigated 19 yards for a 7-0 lead.
Cincinnati made it 14-0 two minutes into the second quarter when Jeremy Hill scored on a 1-yard run to cap a 16-play, 69-yard excursion.
Pullard made his substitution blunder five-plus minutes later prior to a play in which he caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles. Jacksonville was called for illegal substitution because Pullard -- lined up as a blocking fullback -- failed to report as an eligible receiver and the score was negated.
The drive ended with Sam Ficken kicking a 29-yard field goal with 7:36 left in the half to get the Jaguars on the board.
McCarron tossed a 21-yard scoring pass just 56 seconds into the third quarter to give the Bengals a 21-3 lead.
Jacksonville began its comeback on running back Joe Banyard's 7-yard run in third quarter and added a two-point conversion on running back Denard Robinson's burst up the middle. Backup quarterback Chad Henne's 3-yard fourth-quarter pass to tight end Neal Sterling was followed by a two-point conversion throw to wideout Tony Washington in the back of the end zone to cut Cincinnati's lead to 21-19.
Bortles was 10-of-16 passing for only 52 yards while playing the entire first half.
Cincinnati had issues with injuries before and during the contest. Cornerback Adam Jones suffered a calf strain during pregame warmups and was scratched, receiver A.J. Green tweaked his right knee in the opening quarter and departed for precautionary reasons, and running back Cedric Peerman suffered a fracture left forearm in the second quarter.