The Buccaneers lose a very winnable away game they mostly dominated in Tennessee. The football gods simply do not seem to be on Tampa Bay’s side, as they could have easily won if only a few things had gone slightly different. If the referees had not blown the whistle too early on the Titans’ fake punt, the Bucs would probably have won. Yet, it is what it is. Tampa Bay falls to a highly disappointing 2-5 record.
Winston Continues To Turn The Ball Over… But Was It His Fault?
First of all, on paper, it looks like Jameis Winston had another bad game. He finished the afternoon with two picks and two lost fumbles. Giving the ball away four times is just too much to keep your job.
However, Bruce Arians defended his quarterback in his press conference right after the game, claiming, “Jameis didn’t throw one damn interception that was his fault. His receivers let him down today… You can write what you want. Not one of those interceptions was his fault, and that’s a damn shame.”
If you look at the interceptions closely, Arians is right.
On the first interception, Chris Godwin decided to sit in the zone instead of finishing his route. Winston threw it right where he was supposed to throw it on that play.
It is pretty much the same story on the second pick which ended the game. Breshad Perriman ran a sloppy route, Winston’s pass was exactly where he was supposed to put it. Perriman, by the way, quit on multiple routes. He had a terrible game and might be on his way out of Tampa.
Beyond that, the two lost fumbles came on an early snap and on a play where the pass protection broke down.
All in all, what looks like a disastrous game for Winston as far as the stats go, he actually played a very decent game, passing for 301 yards and two touchdowns.
Mike Evans Has Huge Game
Mike Evans had a game for the ages and had his way with the Titans’ secondary. He caught 11 of his 12 targets for a whopping 198 yards and two touchdowns. He did have a bad drop on a target in the endzone on the Buccaneers’ first drive of the afternoon. Granted, it would not have been an easy catch, but he had it in both hands and a player of his caliber simply has to make that catch. Consequently, the Bucs had to settle for a field goal. Needless to say, things like that can easily change the complexion, and, of course, the outcome of a game.
Nonetheless, Evans had a monster game and now has 38 catches for 662 yards and six scores on the season.
Defensively, Tampa Bay did what it had to do. The Buccaneers held Derrick Henry in check. Outside of two big runs, he did nothing the whole game and even fumbled the ball once, which was recovered by Vernon Hargreaves.
Furthermore, the pass rush was existant again. It was not as efficient as it was early this season, but at least the Bucs recorded three sacks again. Jason Pierre-Paul made his presence felt and was rewarded with a sack in the first quarter.
Even the secondary played well, as the cornerbacks covered their receivers tightly for the major part of the game. If the Bucs had not given the ball away deep in their own territory twice, they probably would have won the game.
Adding salt to the wound, Carlton Davis made two interceptions that were called back due to penalties.
Conclusion: Unfortunate Bucs Might Have Given The Season Away
Making the postseason after starting the season with a 2-5 record is not impossible. It is highly unlikely, however. As of now, there is a lot of uncertainty about the Buccaneers’ future. Next up is a very tough game in Seattle, where the Bucs will attempt to save their season.
Photo credit: buccaneers.com