The Buccaneers didn’t just lose Sunday afternoon’s 2015 opener against Tennessee – they were embarrassed.

A fourth-quarter score kept Tampa Bay from setting a new record for Week 1 futility, but the 42-14 beat down was 60 minutes of pure hell for the Buccaneers. It took less than four minutes of game time for Tennessee to build a 14-0 lead and it only got worse from there.

If Jamies Winston vs. Marcus Mariota was a prize fight, it would have been called in the first round.

How bad was it? Mariota, this year’s second-overall draft pick right behind Winston, didn’t even play in the final quarter. He didn’t have to. The Titans were already leading 42-7 after he carved up the Bucs defense for 209 yards and four touchdowns on 13 of 16 passing.

Juxtapose that with Winston’s lackluster 210-yard, 16-of-33 passing effort that included his first regular-season NFL throw getting intercepted and taken to the house by Coty Sensabaugh, and many Bucs fans likely left Raymond James Stadium without the optimism that surrounded this team all preseason.

Winston was asked after the game how he would respond to fans reacting to this game by saying the organization took the wrong quarterback.

“When somebody plays as great as he did, of course you’re going to say that,” he said. “It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. That’s one thing we do here in Tampa Bay. It’s about how we finish. Obviously improving over the years and during the season is going to be a big thing for us.

“We have a divisional game next week, so we’re definitely looking forward to that. That’s what really matters to get to the playoffs and give us an opportunity to get what we want.”

Winston finished with two bad interceptions – he nearly got picked on two other occasions – and his first two pro touchdowns. Both scores went to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and he nearly added a third to receiver Vincent Jackson late in the fourth. The rookie out of Florida State took five hits, was sacked four times and fumbled twice, though he didn’t lose either.

Not helping Sunday was the absence of receiver Mike Evans. Coming of last year’s 1,000-yard introduction to the league, Evans didn’t dress because of a lingering hamstring injury.

Overall Tennessee outgained Tampa Bay 309-273, but it felt like much more than that.

Mariota and the Titans needed just 1:50 to put their first points of the season on the board, driving 89 yards in five plays. Receiver Kendall Wright helped the Oregon product cap it off with a 52-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

That wasn’t good to see, but what happened three offensive snaps later was miserable. After running back Doug Martin took a pair of runs for seven total yards, Sensabaugh jumped in front of rookie receiver Adam Humphries to intercept Winston’s first throw and return it 26 yards.

Mariota and running back Bishop Sankey (86 offensive yards and two TDs) led the Titans to touchdowns on five of their first six drives spanning into the second half.

The first of two Winston-to-Seferian-Jenkins touchdown hookups came on the Bucs’ third possession. The rookie signal caller escaped trouble on third-and-goal from the 5 and hit his big tight end in the left side of the end zone. The second allowed Tampa Bay to avoid breaking its worst-opening-loss-ever record with less than 10 minutes to play. Winston hit Seferian-Jenkins (five catches for 110 yards) with a short pass and the second-year pro did the rest for a 41-yard touchdown.

The 28-point loss was the second-worst opening game defeat in team history, trailing only 1996’s 34-3 home dud against Green Bay. The Bucs lost 27-0 at home to Baltimore in 2006. All-time, Tampa Bay fell to 14-26 in season debuts.

Tampa Bay enters this season with the hopes that Martin will return to form and help carry the offensive load, but that failed to materialize Sunday. Falling behind by so much so fast didn’t help and the Bucs finished with 92 yards on 26 attempts. Martin went for 41 yards on eight carries in the first quarter but got just three more touches for 11 more yards.

WHAT’S NEXT

  • Tampa Bay travels to NFC South rival New Orleans (0-1) next Sunday for a 1 p.m. game.

OFFENSIVE STARTERS

  • WR Vincent Jackson, LT Donovan Smith, LG Logan Mankins, C Evan Smith, RG Ali Marpet, RT Gosder Cherilus, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, WR Louis Murphy, QB Jameis Winston, TE Luke Stocker, RB Doug Martin

DEFENSIVE STARTERS

  • LDE George Johnson, DT Gerald McCoy, DT Clinton McDonald, RDE Jacquies Smith, SLB Danny Lansanah, MLB Kwon Alexander, WLB Lavonte David, CB Alterraun Verner, CB Johnthan Banks, SS Major Wright, FS Bradley McDougald

INACTIVES

  • QB Ryan Griffin, WR Mike Evans, CB Mike Jenkins, RB Mike James, G/C Eric Kush, DE Kourtnei Brown, DE T.J. Fatinikun

DID NOT PLAY

  • QB Mike Glennon, G Jeremiah Warren

GAME SPECS

  • The temperature at the time of kickoff was 84 degrees and humidity was listed at 66 percent.
  • Game attendance: 63,945, Raymond James Stadium
  • Game time: 3:06

Share On Socials

About the Author: Eric Horchy

Subscribe
Notify of
39 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
georgehicks
georgehicks
5 years ago

WELL HORSE AND REST OF THE DIE HARD FANS. IT SEEMS THAT QB MARIOTA DREW 4TD’S VS WINSTON. I KNOW ITS GAME ONE. I BELIEVE THAT TAMPA WILL SURVIVED BUT TAMPA MAY EIN 3 GAMES- I’VE SEEN THIS PLAY OUT EVERY YEAR EXCEPT 2002. I BELIEVE THAT TAMPA NEEDS A BIG DE WITH #1 PICK,#2 A BIG FAST SAFETY AND CB PLUS TWO BIG OFFENSE LINEMEN IN 2016. JAMES WINSTON WILL REBOUND AFTER THIS LOSS WITH UPSELT NEXT WEEK VS SAINTS AT NEW ORLEANS.GO BUCS

Please wait...
Horse
Horse
Reply to  georgehicks
5 years ago

georgehicks, there were some positives? We can officially lower our expectations for a few games and come back to reality. The OL had a lot of penalties, but I thought started to gel towards the end of the first half. TE Jenkins, Martin looked good; Humphries when thrown too. I blame Koetter on Offense more than anyone else as his slow developing pass routes sucked. Defense wise we know we have lots of holes to fill; why Conte is on the team is beyond me. Coach Smith has to eat some crow as we weren’t Tennessee ready. We also learned… Read more »

surferdudes
surferdudes
5 years ago

Not sure if we picked the wrong Q.B., or the wrong head coach. I’d say a bit of both, but I’ll put the blame on this stinker on Lovie. The under belly of the Tampa 2 is marsh mellow soft, and has always been prone to giving up big running plays up the middle. While Mariota threw short passes to wide open receivers over the middle we’d throw out routes that if picked go the other way for six. Mariota only completed 13 passes, yet 4 went for touchdowns. Can’t fault Winston for that. Wouldn’t have made a difference if… Read more »

richbucsfan
richbucsfan
5 years ago

We were told since OTA’s that the Bucs were preparing for the Titans. We told the same in preseason. And, after all those months of prep, we get this? Are you kidding me? What will it look like when there are just a few days to prepare? Looks bad to me.

Please wait...
mark2001
mark2001
5 years ago

Appears Dungy and Gruden might have been right…the rest…..too much garnet and gold kool-aid. And who thinks Smith can coach as well as about thirty other HC’s?

Please wait...
mark2001
mark2001
5 years ago

If Gruden got fired when his team got stuck in a rut, what do you do when a team seems to be going backwards?

Please wait...
fredster
fredster
5 years ago

Ok I’m going to vent then move on to next week. I’m not ready to say Mariota is better as I have no crystal ball. Was better today for sure. I’ll let you fortune tellers talk about who is better. We likely won’t know until a season or two. I guarantee Maritoa will have a game this bad or worse at some point this season. It’s what rookies do. We managed to make Ttians look like a super bowl team. I bet they don’t even beat Browns next week. Remember how good Kapernick looked so don’t get carried away about… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  fredster
5 years ago

fredstar; too early to call the season a bust. The oofense will get better. Coach Lovie might want to tone down his arrogance towards the Press and the rest of the fans who expect at least to be in the game.

Please wait...
kram0789
kram0789
5 years ago

I was not dissappointed in the offense or Winston. He played about like I thought he should. What slammed me was the complete and utter incompetence of the defense. Honestly Lovie I have supported you all along but one more game like this on defense and I am asking you to resign for the good of the team.

Please wait...
pinkstob
pinkstob
5 years ago

It’s hard to know where to start since I haven’t really commented on Winston or Mariota since they were drafted unless someone asked me directly about them. I’m going to stick with starting with today’s game since they’re the only stats that really count. We picked the wrong f#%&*!# QB. Period. Anybody who says otherwise is in denial or too arrogant to admit when they’re wrong. Mariota just officially had the best 1st half of football in NFL history if measured by TD’s. He has now outplayed Winston in college, the preseason and the NFL. Is he still not as… Read more »

fredster
fredster
5 years ago

Horse you may be right about offense getting better, but I have no faith Lovie has a clue what he’s doing. Maybe I’ll read this at end of season and feel silly for jumping the gun, but after last year and today I’ve seen enough to say I really don’t think so!

Please wait...
Horse
Horse
Reply to  fredster
5 years ago

fredstar; I hear you and I know none of us expected the defense to be this bad in a game. Hopefully Lovie can eat some crow and make some adjustments to the defense. I’m giving Lovie the whole year to get this right. A year from now if this happens like today then I’ll be part of the chorus; it’s just too early for it right now.

Please wait...
fredster
fredster
5 years ago

Kram0789 I agree. Don’t know how anyone can say the QB was the main issue today or that Mariota will be better down the road after one game. I’m not a Winston fan either just stating the obvious.

Please wait...
pinkstob
pinkstob
5 years ago

Winston obviously played completely terrible today and I’m not the least bit surprised at his performance based on what I saw in the last year in college, what I read in training camp and what I saw in preseason. The 2013 season at FSU seems like a distanct memory at this point. He showed he was careless with the football in 2014 and that has translated to the NFL, as I predicted. That will always be a part of Winston’s game and those INT’s will always cost us wins every season. Can we still make the playoffs in the future… Read more »

moose40
moose40
Reply to  pinkstob
5 years ago

pinkstob, I’m not sure he’s careless with the ball. I think there is part of him that is sooooo overconfident in his abilities, he thinks he can make the throw. part of that may also be blinding him to peripheral reads, not seeing defenders. But I agree, his footwork is sloppy at best, he tripped over his lineman and at times, he simply tripped over his own feet. Much of this loss is on the D, but mistakes by Jameis allowed the ball to continue to roll down hill, crushing any hopes the Bucs had in coming back. It truly… Read more »

SunnyD
SunnyD
5 years ago

Winston was trying too hard to be superman. Needs to calm down and not play so frenetically.

Please wait...
Horse
Horse
5 years ago

pinkstob; it’s way too early to do the I told you so. What I saw was a confused QB because the game was much faster than he realized. It will slow down for him. Yes he made his famous fade back and throw a softie not high enough to get over the coverage. He was slow footed as so it seemed until you think about how close the OL pocket was closing. Also did Kwon Alexander call some incorrect defensive positions? Just too early to go there yet. Lets give this some time.

Please wait...
pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

If today’s performance for both of these guys had been an aberration and Winston had played well last year, in training camp and in the preseason I would agree with you. But to me both of these players have played pretty consistent since last year. I expect Winston to get better but so will Mariota. There’s not a doubt in my mind based on what I’ve seen from these guys going back to college that Mariota is the better QB. However, since Winston is who we have now the objective should be how do we steal as may wins as… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  pinkstob
5 years ago

They played in totally different schemes Pinkstob. Also Tennessee Coach is a much better coach that I’m not sure if Winston would have played so poorly if he was a Titan. Just my opinion.

Please wait...
Dman
Dman
5 years ago

Long time since I’ve been this disappointed. Really surprised how poor Winston’s footwork was. Play calling didn’t help, but this was on JW. And Lovie needs to answer for the disastrous D and lack of discipline. Penalties, penalties, penalties. Completely lost field position game. And the right tackle we signed should be cut. So do we start the contest to figure out who we pick the the #1 overall selection this year?

Please wait...
deeznuts
deeznuts
5 years ago

I was a Mariota supporter all offseason and had to take a massive bite of a dogsh*t sandwich on draft day. We drafted geno smith 2.0. im not sure who’s performance was more laughable, Winston-the oline-or the defense. One thing is for certain, lovie has been out coached every phase of every game since he arrived. we won’t win 4 games this year. So much for bringing in “the guys that know the system”. we don’t have a single capable offensive tackle.

Please wait...
Buctebow
Buctebow
Reply to  deeznuts
5 years ago

Oh, it was the defense for sure.

Please wait...
surferdudes
surferdudes
5 years ago

Pink, I can’t argue with anything you said. However I firmly believe if Winston was playing for the Titans today, and we had Mariota the out come would’ve been the same. Remember our first two games at home last year when we played Carolina’s, and the Ram’s back up Q.B.s? Both back ups shredded us, and we lost. Mariota didn’t do anything special today. It wasn’t like he was throwing 50 yard bombs. He did throw short quick passes into big holes in the middle, and the seams of Lovies Tampa 2. Where as both of Winstons picks came on… Read more »

pinkstob
pinkstob
Reply to  surferdudes
5 years ago

My only counter to the statement that Mariota didn’t do anything special is that he also played well against everyone in the preseason, minus his first two series. He completed 70% of his passes in the preseason and he complete 81% today. Winston complete less than 50% in the preseason. I expect Mariota to play well the rest of this season, not just against our defense because, well…he always plays well.

Please wait...
Horse
Horse
Reply to  surferdudes
5 years ago

surferdudes, agree with you. I almost have it down pat what Coach will be saying 3 out of 4 games after listening to his Press Conference. What got me bothered was that they let Winston come out there and talk to the Press. I felt bad for him because he isn’t use to losing and I’m not sure if he can handle it no matter what he tells the coaches and media. His body language said doubt, doubt, doubt. This next game the offensive coordinator needs to build the base and let him throw short quick passes to our receivers… Read more »

BucWild02
BucWild02
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

Horse- C’mon man. Short quick passes to backs? That was exactly what they tried to do on the first play of the game. Pick six the other way. They took Jameis’s confidence builder and turned it into six points. Jameis threw it right to the guy.

Please wait...
compewterpirate
compewterpirate
5 years ago

What an utterly shambolic performance. A humiliating and searing indictment of inadequate ownership, inept management and mediocre players. The idea that this overpaid, under-achieving, apology for a team was ‘game-ready’ to play the season opener, was ruthlessly exposed against last year’s equally hapless Titans. As for the winners and losers in Mariotta/Winston sweepstakes, whilst one game does not a career make, nevertheless Mariotta with his outstanding decision-making, pinpoint accuracy, swift release and pocket awareness and presence, looked like a future HOF’er. Jameis Winston, the so-called NFL ready quarterback, looked like a mediocre rookie by comparison. Poor decision-making, bad footwork, slow… Read more »

hoya55
hoya55
5 years ago

I remember 2 years ago when the Bay area press promoted a narrative that got then Bucs coach Greg Schiano fired. The two major points that were espoused were that 1) Schiano ran Freeman out of town because he didn’t like his leadership style and 2) that the team was way too talented to have finished 4-12. Well, considering Freeman’s inability to remain with a team following his release, it seems that Schiano had made the right call. Now, we traded a coach that went 7-9 then 4-12 for Lovie who has gone 2-14 and just was embarrassed in the… Read more »

hoya55
hoya55
5 years ago

Because personally, what I saw today was an undisciplined team (penalties have been a consistent problem under Lovie Smith) that lacked fire or resolve and a defense that still seems to have no idea how to run the concepts required of the Cover 2. Side note, anyone notice how Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy played better before Lovie’s arrival? Maybe instead of trying to find players that fit his system, he should actually adjust his system to fit the talent that is currently on the team. That seems to be what truly sets the talented coaches apparent from all of… Read more »

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

Isn’t it just a tad soon to be declaring Winston a bust and thinking Mariota should start working his pose for the one he’ll surely have in Canton? There is no doubt that Mariota looked great on this day. But what I saw that contributed to his performance was an offensive line that afforded him time for his feet to do whatever needed with absolutely no pressure from the defense, receivers right in his line of sight who were running short poorly defended crossing patterns as our defenders bit on the run fake then running free for long gains. Conversely,… Read more »

BucWild02
BucWild02
Reply to  scubog
5 years ago

Is it a tad too soon to declare Winston a bust? Nope. Been saying the Bucs made the wrong choice from day 1.

Please wait...
Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Agree Scubog; Way to early to drop bombs on the players. I think most of us are willing to drops the bombs on the real target; the coaching. Even this is too early as it is only one game. This next game we have to play much better whether we win or lose. If not, I think the organization might have shut down the fans support for the season and another coaching group will be required. I myself am willing to wait until the end of the season before the firing which I believe will happen. Why? Lovie has too… Read more »

BucWild02
BucWild02
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

Horse: the next coach may hate Jameis Winston and move on from him. Like Gruden in Washington. Or Schiano did with Freeman. Or Lovie did with Glennon. Or Rex did with Manual. Or…you get the point. 5 more years of garbage on the way.

Please wait...
Buctebow
Buctebow
5 years ago

Horse, I’ll wait until the Bye week to call for Lovie’s head. We will know by then.

Please wait...
cgmaster27
cgmaster27
5 years ago

Well I must say I had to take a day and think about this horrible loss. First off, about Jameis, yes he looked like a rookie. His footwork was off and he seemed nervous in the pocket. He also compounded that with two terrible throws. But it was his first game people ! I get that everyone wants to compare Mariotas historic day, and I knew we’d get an I told you so from some of you, but that’s just lazy. You guys really talk bout scouting and knowing football and then decide a guys career after one game? Then… Read more »

deeznuts
deeznuts
Reply to  cgmaster27
5 years ago

Winston was 5-10 for 50 yards and 2INT at half time. If Glennon had put that sh*t on tape he’d lose his starting job. Winston has been trounced by Mariota in college and in the pros (unanimously). Winston fans need better excuses than “our defense sucks” and “he’s just a rookie”. Time to eat your “Winston is the most pro-ready QB” words. After watching yesterdays game, who looked more pro-ready? No one is saying Mariota is going straight to the HoF- he deserves credit for dismantling a Pro-defense the way he did. All of Winston’s yards/completions came after the game… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  deeznuts
5 years ago

Pro defense? When did you see a defense on the field yesterday?
Anyone that has eyes saw nothing of the sorts. And no us Winston supporters don’t need to admit anything. Unlike you unabashed Winston haters, I don’t judge someone on one game in a career.
You must’ve completely ignored the rest of my post in your haste to sound like a child.
And Glennon did put Sh*t like that on tape and that’s why he’s not starting anymore.

Please wait...