A trio of turnovers led to most of the points in the first half between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans Friday night at Raymond James Stadium. Unfortunately for the home team, it was the Titans who built a 20-7 halftime lead after capitalizing on two giveaways by the Bucs’ second-team offense.
Neither offense mounted much in the way of sustained drives, as Tennessee put up 149 total yards to the Bucs’ 42, much of it on a 39-yard run by reserve RB Darius Reynaud late in the half. Rookie RB
Tampa Bay’s starting offense stayed on the field into the early part of the second quarter, with QB
The Titans kept second-year QB Jake Locker and many of their starting offensive players in the game for most of the first half, but Locker completed just four of 11 passes for 21 yards and one interception. Both of Tennessee’s touchdowns came on 14-yard runs by starting RB Chris Johnson, the second after an interception on a tipped ball by CB Chris Hawkins. The Titans also got three points off a fumble by Orlovsky caused by DT Sen’Derrick Marks.
The Bucs won the opening toss and, after running three times to start last week’s game, started with a play-action pass on the first play from scrimmage but Freeman’s throw failed to find
The Bucs kept their starting offense on the field to start the next drive but brought in Martin to play running back. The rookie ripped off a nine-yard gain on a cutback run on first down but, after a play-action incompletion, the Titans’ defense stopped him short on a third-and-one try.
Another good punt forced the Titans to start at their own nine and a stop of Johnson in the backfield by CB
It took Freeman and the Bucs’ offense only two plays to punch it in from there. After a run for no gain by Blount, Williams ran a simple pattern a yard into the end zone on the left side and used his body to wall off the defender and catch Freeman’s dart for the game’s first score.
The Titans started again at their own 29 and Locker barely got off a first-down pass against a big Bucs blitz, with CB
The Bucs’ starting offense stayed out for a fourth possession, with four minutes still to play in the opening quarter, but a nifty 16-yard run by Martin was brought back by a holding call on C
A big hit by Black on RB Javon Ringer drew a personal foul call that put Tennessee into Bucs territory, and Locker took on a 21-yard scramble two plays later to get inside the 20. From the 14, Johnson took a pitch to the right, danced between several tacklers and scored the game-tying touchdown.
Another Bucs three-and-out straddled the change of sides to start the second quarter, and a 35-yard punt return by Reynard set up the Titan’s offense right at midfield with 14 minutes left in the half. The Bucs got instant pressure on Locker on first down and DT
Starting at their own 12 after the Titans punt, the Bucs brought in Orlovsky for the next series, while keeping in some of the front-line blockers as well as Martin in the backfield. Martin got the first two carries and picked up a total of nine yards, but a false start made it third-and-six. Fortunately, an offsides call brought it back to third-and-one, and Martin made a nice cut on his next carry to pick up three and move the sticks. Unfortunately, Marks shot right through the line on the next snap and sacked Orlovsky before he could set up, forcing a fumble that the Titans recovered at the Bucs’ 10.
The Titans kept their first-team offense on the field and the Bucs stayed with most of their starting defense, allowing rookie LB
The Bucs turned the ball over again moments later. On the second play of their next drive, Orlovsky tried to zip a short pass to rookie TE
The Bucs’ offense failed to move the chains again on the ensuing drive, and Reynard followed with the biggest play of the first half, a 39-yard run over left tackle. The Bucs’ defense held at that point, however, and the Titans settled for Bironas’ 48-yard field goal to make it 20-7.
Two Blount carries left the Bucs in a third-and-four at their own 27 on the next drive, and just before the two-minute warning Orlovsky was sacked for a loss of six by DE Derrick Morgan. The Titans got the ball back near midfield and crossed into Bucs territory thanks in part to a seven-yard Matt Hasselbeck scramble, but a sack for 11 yards by LB