A look back at the Bucs’ loss to Tennessee

by Gary Shelton on October 29, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Winston kept turning the ball over./STEVEN MUNCIE

1, I hate to quibble with Bruce Arians, but to blame Jameis Winston's first interception on the route run by Chris Godwin is absurd. Winston overthrew Godwin by 20 yards.

2. Here's the thing. While excusing Winston, Arians criticized the receivers and the secondary. The fourth-and-one failure was because of the offensive line. The backs didn't do much. Again, aren't the Bucs responsible for coaching all of those areas, too?

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3. Is anyone else tired of seeing the Bucs allow the other team to take away a strength? Mike Evans had a career day going, and the Titans -- who couldn't cover him at all for three quarters -- gave more help to his side of the field, and Evans disappeared without being targeted once in the final quarter. Hey, all teams try to take away great receivers, don't they?

4. If the Bucs were decent, then more people might have been upset over a blown call that cost the team that go-ahead touchdown Sunday. But when a team spends 60 minutes putting together a blooper film, and thoroughly deserves to lose, who cares?

5. The only guy to stop Mike Evans Sunday? It was Byron Leftwich.

Are the Bucs learning from Bruce Arians?/STEVEN MUNCIE


(From Bruce Arians' Monday press conference)

(On looking back at the loss): "Not to beat a dead horse, but an inadvertent whistle. If we have those last three minutes and some change with a three-point lead and win the game, I think everybody is writing different stories (and) talking about different things, so it was more than just a play. Everybody except one guy saw the ball out and blew a quick whistle. My biggest thing is referees aren’t held accountable. Coaches get fired, general managers get fired, players get cut – referees aren’t accountable, and it’s a shame. It’s been that way for 40 years – and now that we’ve got a new agreement, it’ll be that way for 40 more years. "

(On coaches sharing the blame): "On the game itself – again, [we had] turnovers early in the ball game, poor red zone offense and poor red zone defense. [We had] poor coaching in some of those situations also, especially offensively. The third down-and-five play – we screwed that play up in practice, we fixed it, we liked the play – I should’ve vetoed that play. The fourth-and-one play – again, that’s on me, not on Byron [Leftwich] – that’s on me. To have a better chance of being successful in those two situations, those are both on me. We’ve got to look at our coaching. Are we teaching it properly? Something’s not happening from Saturday to Sunday, and to take our base run and run it against a front that we saw every day in practice, and not block it correctly, is baffling to me. Again, it starts with coaching – it starts with me."

(On if the officials should have let the play go and not blown a whistle): "That’s the emphasis. Now, two out of three weeks for us, we get turnovers that we don’t get. We get the ball – and we still should’ve taken the ball and scored a touchdown and won the game – but instead, we should’ve won the game already or had a chance to win it. In New Orleans, I was told to challenge it, because they knew we had the ball, but when you go back to replay, it wasn’t a clear recovery. Again, it was an inadvertent whistle. So, yeah, why has it continued? Since the Rams-Saints game the second week, when the Saints got the touchdown that they didn’t get, there’s been an emphasis on letting the plays go. If you can answer why it’s not happening – I don’t know.”

(On Mike Evans not having a target in the fourth quarter): "You don’t throw into double coverage, but just because it’s Cover 2 doesn’t mean Mike’s covered. [Jameis Winston] hit Chris [Godwin] when Mike was open, so as a quarterback, you take what they give you. But there are times – we tried to move Mike around to get him open, and we didn’t get the ball to him.”

(On the failure to convert a fourth-and-one with two minutes to play): "It wasn’t blocked properly, and we didn’t get to the Mike linebacker. Again, part of it was design, part of it was the play, part of it was our execution of it and I’ll take it for that one."

Andrew Adams' return could have won the game.

5 of the Best Takes

Punter Brett Kern took the snap on fourth-and-2 and ran toward the left boundary where he got walloped by Bucs linebacker Devin White. Kern lost the ball, but referees whistled the play dead, ruling that the Titans got stopped on fourth down. The whistle negated Tampa safety Andrew Adams' return for a touchdown that would have flipped the score. 

"Devin being the type of player he is, playing fast, came over, put a good hit on him -- I thought I saw the ball come out, so I picked it up like a fumble and returned it because I thought it was a fumble. But they said they blew the whistle," Adams said. 

Head referee Adrian Hill acknowledged the blown whistle ended any chance for a return by the Bucs. 

"Certainly after the whistle, we definitely saw a ball come out afterwards, but the ruling on the field was that the runner was down by contact before the ball came out, and that's why the whistle blew. So the whistle was blown because the ruling was 'runner down by contact.'"

-- Kevin Patra, NFL.com

Prior to the offense reaching come-from-behind mode, the Tampa Bay offense was the Mike Evans show. Racking up statistics at will in the face of anything the Tennessee secondary threw at him, his finest example came with  Jameis Winston scrambling away from pressure and finding Evans down the right sideline on a back-shoulder go with a defender draped across his frame.

-- Pro Football Focus

While the game ended with an interception, the throw was the result of a miscommunication with Breshad Perriman. However, Winston made far too many turnover-worthy plays while facing the Titans. He threw one pass directly into the arms of the defensive line that required his teammates to knock the ball away from a defender’s hands to prevent another interception. Winston wildly overthrew Chris Godwin on multiple occasions with one right into the waiting hands of Logan Ryan. Tampa Bay receivers didn’t help with a collection of drops, but Winston did himself zero favors scrambling from clean pockets and holding the ball for far too long throughout the game.

-- Pro Football Focus

Late in the first half, former financial advisor on Hard Knocks turned Tampa Bay edge defender Carl Nassib destroyed the play by going right around Titans guard Nate Davis and forcing quarterback Ryan Tannehill to move right into one of the slickest strip-sack fumbles you will see by Shaquil Barrett

-- Pro Football Focus

It’s tough to put too much fault on the Tampa Bay offensive line, but they definitively lost the battle up front against a stout Tennessee defensive line. That was most apparent late in the game when the offense reached desperation mode, as Cameron Wake wreaked havoc on right tackle Demar Dotson.

-- Pro Football Focus

Evans was ignored in the fourth period./CARMEN MANDATO

Game Balls

Offense: In the middle quarters of Sunday's game, Mike Evans had 10 catches for 187 yards. It was an effort you can't ignore, even though the Bucs tried in the fourth period.

Defense: Linebacker Lavonte David had 12 tackles, a pass defense and a tackle for a loss. Even for David, It was impressive.

Kicking: The Bucs haven't been very good at returning kicks this year, but T.J. Logan had a 40-yard punt return. He averaged 15 yards on punt returns and 23.5 on kickoff returns.

Winston has had an up and down career./JEFFREY S. KING


Quarterback: Is Winston a blessing or a curse? It depends on the down. Certainly, Bucs fans have reason to curse his growing number of turnovers. Grade: C.

Running backs: Ronald Jones averaged 3.5 yards per run. Peyton Barber averaged 2.0. Not good. Grade D.

Offensive linee: Winston is maddening when he holds onto the ball too often. But the failure in the red zone, on a fourth-and-one, the poor running game and three sacks doesn't add up to a winning day. Grade: D.

Defensive line: The Pierre-Paul and Barrett combination might be fun. Each of them had a sack as the line dominated Tennessee. Grade: A.

Linebackers: David and Devon White combined for 18 tackles.That'll do: Grade B.

Defensive backs: Tennesse had only 193 yards passing, but Ryan Tannehill did throw for three touchdowns, two of them because, as Arians said, the Bucs were playing the wrong technique. Grade: D.

Vernon Hargreaves had five tackles./Photo By:© Joe Mestas

Unsung Heroes

  1. If an official had waited for the play to be over, the Bucs might have won this even as badly as they played. Andrew Adams returned a fumbled fake kick

2. Cameron Brate caught three balls for 43 yards.

3. It's been a tough year for Vernon Hargreaves, but he had five tackles on Sunday.

4. In what could have been the game-winning play, Devin White stuffed a runner on a fake punt and forced a fumble.

5. Bradley Pinion averaged 43 yards on three punt sand landed two inside the 20.

Godwin and Evans have made a good combo./TIM WIRT

The Receivers

Mike Evans Chris Godwin

38 Catches 47

662 Yards 705

17.4 Average 15.0

6 Touchdowns 6

38 First Downs 47

Winston is tied fo rate lead in interceptions./STEVEN MUNCIE

Winston Statistics

Yards 12th

Touchdowns 7th

Interceptions 1st (tie)

Percentage 52nd

Rating 43rd

David had a big day for the Bucs./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Random Stats

Sacks Shaq Barrett 1st (tie)

Receptions Chris Godwin 5th

Mike Evans 6th

Rushing Ronald Jones 32nd

Tackles Lavonte David 30th

Bucs are in the NFL's bottom ten/JEFFREY S. KING

Power Rankings

NBCsports 24th

Sporting News 25th

Bleacher Report 26th

NFL Spin Zone 26th

Fansided 25th

NFL Mock Draft

CBS Sports 9 Justin Herbert, QB. Oregon

Walter Football 11 Jacob Eason, QB Washington

NFLmocks.com 11 Herbert, QB Oregon

Drafttek 7 Trey Adams, OT Washington

USAToday 10. Tristan Wifts, OT Iowa

Pierre-Paul had a sack in his return./jEFFREY S. KING

5 Closing Thoughts

  1. The officials weren't good Sunday, but they were less responsible for the Bucs' loss than the Bucs.

2. The Bucs had 10 days and weren't any better prepared than this?

3. This just in: The sun was in Jameis' eyes.

4. Sure the Bucs missed O.J. Howard. I mean, he can play safety, can't he?

5. A bad team always blames the officials, and the injuries ,and the penalties. A good one just wins.

Looking Ahead

Bucs have to stop Russell Wilson Sunday.ANDREW J. KRAMER

5 Great Seahawks

  1. Russell Wilson

2. Walter Jones

3. Marshawn Lynch

4. Richard Sherman

5. Cortez Kennedy

Favorite Seahawks

  1. Steve Largent

2. Joe Jurevicius

3. Michael Bennett

4. Curt Warner

5. Kenny Easley

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