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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Rapid Reaction: Titans 34, Buccaneers 3

The Bucs drop their second game of the preseason to the Tennessee Titans following joint practices with the team earlier in the week.


The Tennessee Titans won the toss to begin the game and elected to defer, putting the ball in the hands of the Bucs offense first. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert got the start for the Bucs but would come up empty on Tampa Bay's first drive of the game.

The Titans, with quarterback Logan Woodside at the helm, would trade a punt right back as the Bucs' defense stopped them inside the Titans' own 30-yard line.

The next series didn't go well for Gabbert or the Bucs' offense. On first down, a bad handoff to Ke'Shawn Vaughn went for no gain. On second down, a low pass to Jaelon Darden was dropped and then on third down, Gabbert was sacked for a loss of eight by the Titans' David Long Jr.

The Bucs then punted and a holding call on Tennessee would back them up to their own 25. Tampa Bay's defense then recorded back-to-back tackles for loss of McNichols to bring up third down and 16 for the Titans. Tennessee wouldn't convert and punted the ball right back with just under five minutes to go in the first quarter.

The next series saw a three-yard loss on first down on a bad snap to Gabbert but then he pulled some heroics on third down, scrambling and completing a 12-yard pass to Darden. It brought up fourth-down and one and the Bucs' went for it but running back Giovani Bernard fell short of the line of gain and the Bucs turned it over on downs.

Tennessee took over at the Bucs' 43-yard line and then were able to get some momentum going as quarterback Matt Barkley took over. They'd be able to take it all the way in on a fourth-and-one play from the five yard line. It was wide receiver Mekhi Sargent on the touchdown reception, making it 7-0 with 19 seconds left in the first quarter.

Another unsuccessful series led to another Bucs' punt and Tennessee took back over at their own 37. They were to midfield in a hurry and got as far as the Bucs' 30 before the Bucs' defense stopped them. Tennessee then took a 10-0 leaf with 10:37 left in the second quarter.

There were some high points in the Bucs' next series, like a 15-yard pass from Griffin to tight end Tanner Hudson on the first play of the drive. It would be ultimately cut short though after Griffin aired the ball out for Scotty Miller on third down but Miller couldn't get both feet in bounds. The Bucs then punted on fourth down and one and Tennessee took over at their own 11-yard line.

View the best photos from the Bucs second preseason game vs. the Tennessee Titans.

The Bucs' defense came up big on the next series with a big second-down sack of Woodside, back in for the Titans, by defensive lineman Pat O'Connor. The Titans wouldn't be able to recover and punted the ball from their own 11-yard line.

It meant the Bucs started in Tennessee territory at the 45-yard line. They'd finally get on the board with kicker Ryan Succop hitting a 49-yard field goal to make the score 10-3 with 3:27 left in the half.

The kickoff was nearly returned for a touchdown by the Titans' Chester Rogers but a flag for an illegal double-team block would mean Tennessee instead started at their own eight-yard line. They wouldn't get anything as the Bucs' defense suffocated them, forcing a three and out.

Tampa Bay took over at their own 33-yard line and a second-down completion to O.J. Howard made it third and three at the two-minute warning. A pass to Bernard went incomplete and the Bucs would punt one more time before the first half was over.

The Titans had 1:45 to work with as they started on their own 21. They wouldn't get far thanks in part to a 10-yard sack by Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, but then kicker Sam Ficken connected on a 58-yard field goal to put three more points on the board for Tennessee. After Griffin downed the ball with three seconds left, the Bucs went into the half trailing 13-3.

The Bucs' defense prevented Tennessee from getting anything on their first drive of the second half, even as they made quite a few substitutions. It was Khalil Davis, Jeremiah Ledbetter and Benning Potoa'e on the front, Elijah Ponder and Quinton Bell as the outside backers and Grant Stuard and Joe Jones as the inside backers, with the secondary remaining in their rotation.

The Bucs took back over after the Tennessee punt but their series was cut short after a 26-yard pass from rookie Kyle Trask, now in the game for the Bucs, to Hudson was then ruled a catch, fumble and returned for a touchdown. Head Coach Bruce Arians was not happy, attempting to challenge the ruling even after it was reviewed but the call stood and the Titans took a 20-6 lead with 12:02 left in the third quarter.

Despite Trask making a few good throws and moving the chains a couple times, the Bucs would stall before midfield on their second drive of the half, punting the ball from their own 42-yard line with just over eight minutes left in the quarter.

This time, Tennessee would span the field, with Woodside engineering a nine-play, 76-yard drive that ended in a 23-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, extending the Titans lead to 27-3 with 1:46 left in the third quarter.

A three-and-out behind three straight incompletions for Trask had the Bucs punting just over a minute later. But the Titans would trade a punt right back.

Tennessee's lack of productivity wouldn't last, though, as a ball intended for Jaydon Mickens was tipped by Mickens himself and intercepted by Clayton Gaethers. It was then punched in on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Kinsey from Woodside and the Titans increased their lead to 34-3 with 11:03 remaining in the game.

The next series for the Bucs would get just past midfield thanks to a 35-yard pass from Trask to Cyril Grayson before Trask was sacked and the offense couldn't recover. They went for it on fourth down and nine but the ball fell incomplete and Tampa Bay turned it over on downs at the Titans' 39.

The Tampa Bay defense was able to come up with a stop on the next drive but a good punt would pin the Bucs inside their own 10-yard line. A pass interference call on Tennessee would move the chains before a pass from Trask went off the hands of Codey McElroy and into the hands of the Titans' Jamal Carter. The ball was returned to the Tampa Bay 14 and the Bucs were able to bring up fourth and three .Tennessee elected to go for it and the Bucs got the stop, forcing a turnover on downs.

Tampa Bay would get just past midfield but stalled and brought on punter Bradley Pinion to attempt a 61-yard kick. It was not successful and after a couple kneel downs the Titans won the game 34-3.

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