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Rapid Reaction: Buccaneers 20, Titans 6

The Buccaneers defeat the Titans 20-6 in Week 10, snapping a four-game losing streak 


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the visiting Tennessee Titans 20-6, snapping their four-game losing streak. The Bucs' defense did not allow a single touchdown to the Titans, with efficiency at all three levels. On the offensive side of the ball, Baker Mayfield connected with Rachaad White and Mike Evans for touchdowns during the 60-minute battle. White took advantage in space and on defense, rookie Calijah Kancey set the tone by imposing his will in the backfield.

The Bucs won the coin toss and deferred, sending the defense out first. The Titans moved the ball down the field inside Tampa Bay territory. At the 20-yard line, Vita Vea dropped rookie quarterback Will Levis on third-and-11 for a loss of nine yards, which forced a Nick Folk 38-yard field goal. On the Bucs opening offensive drive, despite a 17-yard gain by Chris Godwin and a 20-yarder by Mike Evans, Baker Mayfield was intercepted on third-and-15 after a sack on second down. He heaved the ball downfield to Deven Thompkins and Roger McCreary came away with the ball, returning it to the 17-yard line for 16 yards. Tampa Bay's defense did not allow Tennessee to capitalize with points, as a Shaq Barrett 10-yard sack and a Vita Vea run stuff stalled the opposing club's drive. In the first quarter, the Bucs defense held Derrick Henry, the Titans' bell-cow of their downhill rushing attack, to -4 yards.

Early in the second quarter, Todd Bowles loaded the line of scrimmage. Devin White, who was lined up in the trenches, flew through the C-gap and dropped Levis for a loss of six. That play set up third-and-12 and an ensuing field goal attempt by Folk. Folk missed the 51-yard attempt, keeping the score 3-0. The Bucs' offense followed suit with a quick three-and-out, putting the defense back on the field. White collapsed the pocket and disrupted the passing window on second down, batting down Levis' pass. That play set up third-and-long, which eventually led to a punt for Tennessee. On the subsequent drive for Tampa Bay, the home team reached the end zone. Mike Evans picked up 16 yards on an out route and the very next play, Rachaad White brought a screen to the house for 43 yards – marking the longest reception of his career. He made the initial defender miss and cut back inside, accelerating north-south to give the Bucs a 7-3 lead at Raymond James Stadium.

Mayfield lobbed a downfield pass to Mike Evans who hauled it in for a 43-yard gain, bringing the Bucs to the Tennessee eight-yard line. Tampa Bay was not able to take advantage inside the red zone and was forced to settle for a Chase McLaughlin 25-yard field goal. On the Bucs' following defensive series, Calijah Kancey came off the edge and knifed through the gap into the backfield to take down Spears, setting up third-and-11. On third down, Lavonte David undercut and nearly intercepted a pass intended for Chris Moore, forcing a Titans' punt. Kancey notched his fifth tackle for loss on the aforementioned play of the 2023 season, tying the Eagles' Jalen Carter for the second-most tackles for loss among rookies in 2023.

Late in the third quarter, the Bucs capped off an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a score. A 27-yard gain by Evans and a 17-yard gain by Godwin on an out route set up the scoring play. Evans caught the ball and tallied 22 yards on the catch-and-run, plowing his way into the end zone dragging Titans' cornerback Kristian Fulton.

In the fourth quarter, Kancey added to his resumé with another tackle for loss, dropping Henry behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of three, setting up third-and-nine. A Levis incompletion led to a Folk 27-yard field goal, making it a 17-6 game. With just over five minutes in regulation on second-and-ten, Markees Watts crashed the pocket and notched a hit on Levis, forcing an errant throw. Antoine Winfield Jr. became the beneficiary and the recipient. He intercepted the pass and returned it 28 yards to the Tennessee 42-yard line. Tampa Bay was unable to capitalize off the defensive gift and quickly punted it away after a third-down Mayfield sack. On the following defensive drive, Jamel Dean blanketed DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone to prevent a touchdown. After allowing 470 yards and five touchdowns to C.J. Stroud in Week Nine, the Bucs' defense silenced the doubters against the Titans with stout coverage and consistent pass rush pressure.

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