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August 17, 2012 @ 10:19 pm
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PR Game Analysis: Titans Run Over Sloppy Bucs, Win 30-7

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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In what was called a "sloppy" effort by head coach Greg Schiano, the Bucs were whipped on both sides of the ball by the visiting Titans in Tampa Bay's 30-7 loss to Tennessee. RB LeGarrette Blount was injured in the loss, but it is not believed to be serious.
In a game of trench warfare at Raymond James Stadium, the Buccaneers lost badly to the visiting Titans. Not only did Tennessee pile up the points in its 30-7 victory in Tampa Bay, the Titans out-gained the Bucs 341-81 yards. The Titans offensive line was dominant, blowing the Bucs defensive front seven off the ball en route to Tennessee rushing for 216 yards, while averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

Darius Reynaud led the way for the Titans with 75 yards on seven carries, followed by Chris Johnson, who rushed for 46 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Starting quarterback Jake Locker rushed for 24 yards, including a 21-yarder as Tampa Bay’s tackling was sloppy with the Bucs players exhibiting poor technique.

Locker struggled passing the ball, completing 4-of-11 passes for 21 yards and getting picked off by Ahmad Black, who returned the pick 29 yards to set up a 2-yard Josh Freeman touchdown pass to Mike Williams to give the Bucs an early 7-0 lead before the Titans roared back with 30 unanswered points.

The Buccaneers might have lost starting running back LeGarrette Blount for a while as he injured his left knee when he was tackled by a host of Titans, including linebacker Zach Brown and safety Al Afalava, on a 4-yard run prior to the two-minute warning before halftime. Blount, who said the injury was not too serious after the game, and Tampa Bay’s offense struggled against Tennessee as he rushed for only 11 yards on eight carries (1.4 avg.).

Blount is battling rookie Doug Martin for the starting running back job, and the team’s first-round draft pick in 2012 had the better night, rushing for 23 yards on seven carries (3.3 avg.), in addition to a 16-yard run being called back due to a holding penalty. Prior to rookie Michael Smith’s 17-yard run late in the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay’s offense was abysmal as the previous longest play of the night was a 9-yard run by Martin. Smith led the Bucs with 31 yards on seven carries (4.4 avg.).

Freeman was pressured all night by Tennessee’s defensive line and finished the game after the first series in the second quarter completing 4-of-10 passes for 21 yards and one score. Backup Dan Orlovsky was sacked four times by the Titans defensive front and completed just 1-of-5 passes for six yards as the offensive line was overwhelmed and overmatched on nearly every down.

Bucs head coach Greg Schiano called the team's performance "sloppy" after the game. That's an understatement.

First Quarter – Bucs 7, Titans 0

In dime defense, Bucs free safety Ahmad Black made a spectacular interception of Jake Locker on third-and-9 and returned the pick 29 yards to the Tennessee 2-yard line. On second-and-goal from the Titans 2, Josh Freeman hit wide receiver Mike Williams for a touchdown pass.

First Quarter – Bucs 7, Titans 7
Titans running back Chris Johnson (24 yards) and quarterback Jake Locker (21 yards) ran over the Bucs defense as Johnson ripped off a 14-yard TD with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. The Titans picked up two first downs on their scoring march as tight end Craig Stevens caught an 11-yard pass and Black was called for a 15-yard personal foul.

Second Quarter – Titans 10, Bucs 7
Bucs backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky was sacked by defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks at the Tampa Bay 10 and fumbled the ball. After a 5-yard loss by Johnson, rookie receiver Kendall Wright hauled in a 9-yard pass to the 6-yard line, but Locker’s third down pass to Jared Cook was incomplete, setting up a 24-yard field goal by Rob Bironas to give Tennessee the lead.

Second Quarter – Titans 17, Bucs 7
Orlovsky’s pass intended for tight end Drake Dunsmore was deflected by Akeem Ayers and picked off by cornerback Chris Hawkins, who returned it to the Tampa Bay 14. Two plays later, Johnson dashed 14 yards for his second touchdown of the night and the Titans were up 14-7.

Second Quarter – Titans 20, Bucs 7
Titans running back Darius Reynaud ripped off a 39-yard run on the first play of the drive into Tampa Bay territory. But an offensive holding penalty backed up the Titans, who had to settle for a 48-yard field goal by Bironas to extend Tennessee’s lead to 20-7.

Third Quarter – Titans 23, Bucs 7
Reynaud rushed for 32 yards on four carries and fellow running back Jamie Harper added a 19-yard reception to help the Titans drive into Tampa Bay’s red zone. An apparent Rusty Smith touchdown pass to Taylor Thompson was broken up in the end zone by safety Larry Asante, but two plays later a 23-yard field goal by Bironas increased Tennessee’s advantage to 23-7 with 1:50 left in the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter – Titans 30, Bucs 7
Smith fired off a 33-yard pass to D.J. Woods, who got behind cornerback Marquese Wheaton and safety Cody Grimm on third-and-13 to move the chains. Running back Herb Donaldson had two runs of 10 and 11 yards to move the Titans inside the red zone. Three plays later on third-and-8 from the Tampa Bay 15, Smith found tight end Cameron Graham for a wide-open touchdown pass to end the scoring at 30-7.

After sitting out last week’s preseason opener against Miami with a toe sprain rookie strong safety Mark Barron made an instant impact in his NFL debut against Tennessee. On a third-and-1 play in the first quarter, Barron helped stuff running back Chris Johnson for no gain along with defensive ends Michael Bennett and Adrian Clayborn. Later in the first quarter, Barron was also active in pass defense, breaking up a throw intended for Nate Washington on third down, forcing a punt.

Two key stops on third down Barron edges out fellow safety Ahmad Black, who picked off a Jake Locker and returned it 29 yards to set up a touchdown, for Friday night’s MVP honors as Black missed several tackles and also drew a 15-yard penalty by hitting a defenseless receiver to extend a Tennessee scoring drive.

Starting running back LeGarrette Blount suffered a potentially serious injury to his left knee when he was gang-tackled by several Titans on a 4-yard run prior to the two-minute warning before halftime. Blount was seen sitting on the bench in the second half with his teammates.

Cornerback Anthony Gaitor was also injured before halftime and was carted off the sidelines into the locker room with a hamstring strain. In the second half, Gaitor was seen standing on the sidelines with his teammates.

On the bright side, Bucs left tackle Donald Penn was activated from the non-football injury list on Friday and is expected to re-join the team for practice this week. Penn suffered a calf strain prior to training camp that caused him to miss the last 22 days of action.

“Hopefully that will happen Monday, said Bucs head coach Greg Schiano. “I think that Donald has gotten himself into really good shape so that will make him a better player.”

In addition to Penn, defensive tackles Gary Gibson (Achilles) and Amobi Okoye (knee), defensive ends Da’Quan Bowers (Achilles) and Quinton Anderson (undisclosed), wide receiver Arrelious Benn (knee), cornerback E.J. Biggers (foot), tight end Luke Stocker (undisclosed), and offensive lineman Mike VanDerMeulen (undisclosed) didn’t play Friday night against the Titans.

In the first game at Raymond James Stadium this year, former Buccaneers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was the honorary team captain for the coin toss, which Tampa Bay won.

There were no individual player introductions for the Buccaneers, who ran on to the field as a team with Dekoda Watson carrying the Tampa Bay flag and long snapper Andrew Economos carrying the American flag.

There was a new team introduction on the Jumbotron featuring several of the Bucs players snarling on camera instead of the computer generated cartoon graphics that they have used in the past. In addition to that there were several small fireworks and flames going off inside the stadium.

Former American Idol star Michael “Big Mike” Lynche, who is a Tampa Bay native, sang the National Anthem prior to kickoff.

The offensive line did a terrible job protecting quarterback Josh Freeman, giving up several pressures and contributing to Freeman only completing 4-of-10 passes for 21 yards and a touchdown before getting replaced by Dan Orlovsky. A holding penalty on center Jeremy Zuttah negated a nifty 16-yard run by Doug Martin that picked up a first down and set up a second-and-20 situation, which resulted in a punt by Tampa Bay a few plays later. Orlovsky was sacked on his first series by defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks and fumbled. That turnover set up Tennessee’s go-ahead field goal in the second quarter. Orlovsky was sacked a total of four times and pressured on every pass attempt.

For the second straight preseason game, the Bucs defensive line got very little pressure on the opposing quarterback. Tampa Bay did record its first sack of the preseason against Tennessee, but that came on a blitz by linebacker Dekoda Watson. The Bucs defensive line failed to shed blocks in the running game and against the pass.

In shades of 2011, Tampa Bay’s run defense was horrific against Tennessee as the Bucs allowed 216 yards rushing. Last year, the Bucs allowed a league-worst 150 yards on the ground. On Friday night, they surrendered an additional 66 yards past that average.

Tampa Bay (1-1) hosts New England (1-0) next Friday night, August 24. The Patriots, who host the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, will fly into town early to scrimmage with the Buccaneers during the week.

Last modified on Saturday, 18 August 2012 00:39

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  • avatar

    Only in Tampa.... In Tampa it's always, "our WRs can't get open or don't get separation." if we still had Dilfer or Simms at QB it would be, "he's the worst QB in the NFL!" But not with Freeman. It doesn't matter who is at WR here, it is their fault our QB can't ever find anyone open. Listen, Freeman is a really good person, smart kid, good leader... But he can't read a defense to save his life. He'll be out of here in 2 years.
  • avatar

    I wouldn't try to micro analyse this game too much. We played a team that is better than us in the regular season too. Jcarruth makes an excellent observation about how devastating an injury on the offensive line could be to our team. The same holds true for our front 7 on defense. I look for the Bucs to be picking up different personel when the cuts start coming. The NFC south is not as physical a division as some other divisions in the AFC or NFC. Remind me of the story about Alex Karas and Joe Schmidt. The two had played together as team mates for years and at this point ex MLB Joe Schmidt was named coach of the Detroit Lions. Alex Karas was an undersized DT who had made all pro many times and was nearing the end of his career. The Lions were losing bad to the Minnesota vikings at half time. Joe Schmidt is trying to get his team inspired for the second half, Schmidt says "Those guys put their pants on the same way we do!!" Alex Karas says "Yeah coach but they wear size 40 pants!!". Back then players weren't nearly as big as they are today so I guess maybe the Titans wear size 50 pants!!! GO BUCS!!!
  • avatar

    Bucs are a work in progress while the Titans are a team that has been in the same offense and defense for a while. Some teams are more physical than others and the Titans have always had a reputation of being a tough physical team. The Titans stayed with their starters quite a bit longer than the Bucs did. Schiano had much more to learn about his team than Munchak did about his. Our backups may have sealed their fates with missed blocks, missed tackles and getting drubbed by a stronger physical team. I have seen teams lose horribly during preseason and come back to have excellent years in the regular season. Josh was under entirely too much pressure as our offense was totally stymied. Titans second year QB looked good and their back up QB is a two time pro bowler. It looks like Chris Johnson is all the way back to his old form too. I just hope Demps doesn't take one to the house on us next Friday.
  • avatar

    I have been saying Ahmad Black will be able to fill Rhonde's shoes at Safety when Rhonde retires and Black will be a star. He showed it tonight, and he should get plenty of playing time this year spelling Rhonde. The Titans were playing our old defense of Cover 2 and playing it like the great Bucs of Super Bowl fame. Their starting defenseive line was able to get pressure and drop everyone else back to cover on our passes, which was why Freeman was having a hard time finding someone to throw to. Doesn't mean our receivers can't seperate! On Defense I watched Bennett push his OT back with a bull rush to get to the QB, but was not watching well enough to stop the run game. He could have easily pushed the tackle and fallen back to stop the run but all he was doing was trying to get upfield to disrupt and wasn't reading his keys like he should have. I don't know if that is the new Shicano defensive aggressive scheme or bad play by Bennet, but I do know it is easily correctiblle. Bennet has to be able to contain the outside to stop the outside runs. McCoy was dominating inside; we just need more quality DL like him and should not have given up on Brian Price (he deserved special consideration for the death of his sister after losing both of his brothers). We could have used him out there to stop the Titans! However, the Titans kept their first strings in until the second half which made it look more lopsided than it was. PATIENCE!
  • avatar

    The Bucs looked sluggish and uninspired. They looked like they were moving in slow motion compared to the Titans who were moving full speed ahead. There are some tired legs on the Bucs. Freeman o-line was giving him plenty of time, he just had the same look he had for most of last season, indecisive. He never got into the flow of the game. Even his touchdown pass was poorly thrown. Mike Wiilliams bailed him out with a great catch. What was most perplexing was the game plan. Last week they came out running and established the line of scrimmage. This week they looked like last years' offense with the dink and dunk. I thought this new offense was supposed to be run, run some more and then take shots downfield. I hope they throw last night's game away and they go back to last week.
  • avatar

    The Bucs seemed slow and overmatched all night. Is it possible they were worn down from training camp and practice before the "game" started?
  • avatar

    Thought Freeman had decent time, just couldnt find anyone open or hit the open man when he did have one. The backup Oline was awful though, if we lose a starter it could get real ugly.
  • avatar

    I came away with a different assessment of why the starting offense was performing poorly. There are two points I want to make. First, I remember the first play being the O-line's fault and allowing pressure. After that it seemed to me that Freeman was getting a reasonable amount of time to throw the ball which led me to believe that our WR's and TE's weren't getting open. Freeman would just stare down field and a few times just threw the ball away. I think the Titans starting secondary and LB's just outplayed our starting WR's and TE's. The second point is that it is becoming evident to me that Blount does not use his physical skills efficiently. He displayed very, very poor vision last night. On at least two occasions I remember he had a hole nearby and he just lowered his head and ran forward into his O-lineman. That leads me to the other frustrating part of watching Blount run. It's one thing to lower your pads, but Blount completely drops his head way too early. He shouldn't be leading with the crown of his helmet until there is nowhere else to go and he's fighting for yards. Blount is looking down at the grass when there are still running options available. In short, based on what I saw I put the poor performance of the offensive starters on great play by the Titans back 7 and Blount's ineffective running style.
  • avatar

    Last nights spectacle was reminiscent of and maybe even worse than the final ten games of last season. From the outset the Titans simply bullied the Buccaneers and "imposed their will" without resistance. Outside of Black's interception and a few other positive plays, the defense just got blown off the ball in many cases with just a shove. The back-up offensive line would have protected better if they just fell down in hopes of the defender tripping over their fallen corpse. I don't put a lot of stock in a preseason game but if that is a representation of our 2012 squad as Kingfish would say, "We in a heap of trouble."
  • avatar

    Not many bright spots here. Maybe the punting, but we have no tackling against punt returns, so good punting doesn't even help. We have less tackling against kick returns. If that doesn't improve, then we will need to kick the ball out of the endzone every time. The lines were beaten on both sides of the ball. The linebackers were non-existent as were the DB's. The O line was as bad or worse than last year. The receivers could not get open. Martin and Bount were somewhat bright spots, then Blount gets injured. My......... what a season to look forward to if this is how they are going to play.
  • avatar

    I worked all evening and did not have a chance to see the game yet, but WOW!! It doesn't sound very pretty. I herd Blount may be out for the season, and now he might have just a bad pulled muscle or possibly only miss a few weeks. I also herd how TERRIBLE Josh Freeman played today. 4 of 10 for 21 yards and a score. If I am reading this correctly, it actually sounds like Freeman did OK. He was pressured on EVERY snap. Did I really read that he and Orlovsky were pressured on every snap?? What happened to our pro-bowl o-line?? The good news here is that Freeman did not throw any picks while facing all of that pressure. He did not turn the ball over, did not get sacked and actually threw a TD. Orlovsky was sacked 4 times, was 1 of 5 for 6 yards and gave up a fumble. OK Bostad, time to get to work and fix that o=line real quick.
  • avatar

    Think Tenn. was listening to all the best oline in the NFL Talk? Just Shut UP!!!! and play ball Bucs.
  • avatar

    Scott, you were right on. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Lets see if Tampa can get ready for the opener and the last two pre-season games.GO BUCS
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