Starters for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans played to a 7-7 first-quarter tie Friday night at Raymond James Stadium, but the Titans controlled the remainder of the action and left with a 30-7 victory in the second preseason game for both teams.
“Our defense did a good job of getting a turnover and putting us in a prime position,” said Freeman. “And, really, Mike made a [great] a play. It was really a one-on-one matchup. You have to trust your receiver and Mike is a guy that I trust a lot. He makes a lot of plays like that and it was awesome to see him make that catch.”
Freeman also completed his first pass to prized free agent acquisition
“It felt good, going out there and playing against someone new instead of our own defense,” said Williams. “We got a little rhythm early on, but we felt we should have had more than seven points. We have to get that together.”
After Freeman exited the game a few plays into the second quarter, the Buccaneers’ offense never again found a rhythm and gained just 36 net yards from that point forward behind
Orlovsky, who completed all eight of his passes in last week’s win at Miami, was just one of five for six yards, but he also suffered from poor protection, absorbing four sacks. Ratliff completed both of his passes for 11 yards but mostly handed the ball off.
Though his time in the game was relatively short, rookie RB
Even though the returns weren’t quite as good as the week before, the Bucs once again demonstrated that they are committed to the ground game, running on 29 of their 50 offensive plays. Last week against Miami the Bucs ran the ball on 32 of 58 snaps.
The Titans gave the start to second-year QB Jake Locker, their first-round pick in 2011, and Locker played almost the entire first half. He completed just four of 11 passes for 21 yards and one interception, but did gain 24 yards on two runs. It was on the ground that the Titans racked up most of their 341 yards of offense, gaining 216 yards on 37 carries. RB Chris Johnson, trying to rebound from a disappointing 2011 season, scored on two 14-yard runs and had 46 yards on 10 total carries. Later, Tampa Bay’s defensive reserves struggled with missed tackles, a problem Head Coach Greg Schiano pointed out after the preseason opener in Miami.
“It was pretty good, the guys all coming together,” said DE
Tampa Bay’s pass defense did limit Tennessee to 125 yards through the air, much of it in the fourth quarter. A week after breaking up seven passes in Miami, Buc defenders got their hands on eight more against Locker, Matt Hasselbeck and Rusty Smith.
On special teams, the Buccaneers struggled on punt and kickoff coverage, giving up a total of 158 return yards. However, rookie RB
The Titans took a 20-7 lead into halftime, built largely on a quick 10 points scored off two turnovers in the second quarter. Shortly after entering the game to replace Freeman, Orlovsky lost a fumble on a sack by DT Sen’Derrick marks, which led to a 24-yard Rob Bironas field goal despite a fine defensive stand inside the 10. Two plays later, Orlovsky’s attempted pass to rookie TE
Both teams played their starting offenses (or, at least, the majority of their starters) into the second quarter, though the Titans stuck longer with Locker, who made his first start after Matt Hasselbeck got the opening call the week before.
Click here for a detailed account of the first half of action on Friday night.
In the second half, the Titans’ second-team offense immediately drove into Bucs territory, following a 42-yard kickoff return by Darius Reynaud. RB Jamie Harper ripped off successive runs of six, 12 and 11 yards, the last one originally a 32-yarder before a holding call downfield. However, Tampa Bay’s defensive reserves held after that, with LBs
The Titans took their next drive into the Bucs’ red zone, as well, with Reynaud getting down to the Bucs’ 10 on a 15-yard sweep around left end. A big hit by rookie DB
The Bucs failed to pick up a first down on either of their third-quarter drives, and the second one ended quickly as Orlovsky was sacked twice in a three-play span. Ratliff played the fourth quarter but the offense never got any farther than the Tennessee43. Behind Rusty Smith, the Titans tacked on a touchdown march in the fourth quarter, the big play a 33-yard catch by WR D.J. Woods down the right sideline. Smith completed the drive with a 15-yard TD pass to Graham over the middle on third-and-eight.