As both teams entered week 8, the Titans sat at 3-4 while the Bucs sported a 2-4 record. The Bucs have already had their bye week, while the Titans bye will be coming up in week 11. After a successful debut that featured a victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, the Titans elected to start Ryan Tannehill over struggling Marcus Mariota.
The Titans won the toss and deferred. The Bucs drove the field with the help of a 43-yard pass interference penalty. They had the ball 1st and goal at the 4-yard line. The Titans defense got tough and held Tampa to a 22-yard field goal.
If it weren’t for two Tampa turnovers, the Titans would have been in trouble. They scored touchdowns after both the fumble and the interception for fourteen of their seventeen points. Their field goal came as a result of a long kickoff return. All told the Bucs had 215 net yards in the first half to the Titans paltry 70. Also, the Bucs ran 45 plays to the Titans 21!
The second half started with the Titans turning the ball over to the Bucs on a third-down fumble by Derrick Henry, as the Titans were moving the ball successfully. Tampa Bay took advantage of the miscue and went 4 plays for 56 yards to take their first lead of the game 23-17. After the teams traded possessions, the Titans put together a drive that ended on a Cody Parkey 42 yard field goal to close the margin to 23-20.
On the Titans 1st possession of the fourth quarter, they put together a 90 yard, 12 play drive that ended with a Ryan Tannehill 8-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver A.J. Brown. The score put the Titans back on top 27-23.
After this point, it was a battle of the defenses. The Titans stopped the Bucs on a fourth and one at the Titans 33-yard line. 1:53 was left in the game. The Bucs only had one timeout, but they managed to stop Tennessee after three running plays and got the ball back at their 24-yard line with 42 seconds left on the clock. The Bucs got a quick first down and spiked the ball. On the next play, Jameis Winston tried a deep pass, and it was intercepted by Logan Ryan at the Tennessee 25 yard line, with 18 seconds remaining, and Tampa had no time outs to save them. Ryan Tannehill took a knee at the 24-yard line, and it was game over.
The Titans even their record at 4-4 while the Bucs drop to 2-5.
Tennessee is on the road next Sunday at Carolina. The Bucs head to the Pacific Northwest for a match up with the Seattle Seahawks.
**Notable Post-Game Quotes**
Bucs Head Coach
Bruce Arians on the two Jameis Winston interceptions.
“Everybody is going to say Jameis threw interceptions. Jameis did not throw one damn interception that was his fault. His receivers let him down today. Guys stopped on routes that were supposed to be going down the middle. That last play that was supposed to go down the middle should have been a big play. He played his tail off. You can write that if you want. It’s the receivers, not the quarterback. The receivers totally screwed it up.”
Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel on why he called the fake field goal. “We want to go win the football game. Understand that we practice and that we study, we get looks, and we feel very confident in the look that we’re going to get. They made a play, and we didn’t, just like we made a play at the end of the game when it was 4th and 1.”
*As an added note here, Brett Kern was ruled down by contact prior to the ball coming loose. The Bucs picked up the ball and ran, but the whistle had clearly been blown.
With that fact in
mind, Referee Adrian Hill was asked the following post-game.
Question: What did you see from your vantage point?
Hill: “as the referee, I did not see the play. The ruling was that the runner was down by contact and short of the line to gain.”
Question: When the whistle blew, did you see the ball
Hill: “ Certainly after the whistle, we definitely saw the ball come out. But the ruling on the field was that the runner was down by contact before the ball came out. That’s why the whistle blew. The whistle was blown because the ruling was that the runner was down by contact.”
Question: Is that not reviewable?
Hill: “ The reviewable part of the play is if the runner was down by contact. If it’s reviewed and we saw that the ball came out early, and Tampa Bay recovered, we could give Tampa Bay the ball at the spot of the recovery, but we cannot award any advance after.”
few key stats.*
1. Tampa WR Mike Evans had 11 catches for 198 yards through 3 quarters but not have a catch in the fourth quarter. The Titans put double coverage on him, and he was not targeted!
2. With Tight End Delanie Walker inactive, TE Jonnu Smith picked up the slack and was a key to the Titan’s success. He ended up with 6 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
3. Running Back Derrick Henry carried the ball 16 times for 75 yards. He had a long of thirty-four yards but was often bottled up at the line. He did have another long run called back because of a holding penalty.
In closing, it wasn’t a pretty win, but in the NFL, all you look for is that W at the end of the day!