Wrap-up: Titans 23, Buccaneers 17
November, 27, 2011
By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com
Thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 23-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at LP Field.
What it means: The Bucs now are on a five-game losing streak. But this one was particularly painful because Tampa Bay had a shot to win. The Bucs were driving at the end, but that fell apart when quarterback Josh Freeman was stopped on a keeper on fourth down. The Bucs are now 4-7 and have one more loss than they did all last season. Time to face reality. A team that supposedly was on the rise coming into this season has clearly taken a step back and will not make the playoffs. The seat continues to get hotter for coach Raheem Morris.
Johnson runs over defense: Tennessee running back Chris Johnson has been in a slump all season. Well, he found a surefire way to break that slump. Maybe he just needs to play against the Bucs every week. Johnson ran for a season-high 190 yards. Yeah, I know the Bucs lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to a season-ending injury and that didn’t help the defense. But even before McCoy got hurt, the Bucs were struggling to stop the run.
Talib’s time: We saw evidence Sunday why the Bucs are willing to put up with cornerback Aqib Talib and his assortment of off-field troubles. In the third quarter, Talib forced a fumble and intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown. The guy can cause headaches for ownership, the front office and the coaching staff, but Talib can play.
Mixed bag for Blount: Running back LeGarrette Blount rushed for 103 yards and actually made a contribution in the passing game, catching three passes for 56 yards. But Blount lost two fumbles. In fact, fumbles were a big problem for the Bucs. Receiver Mike Williams and Freeman each lost a fumble as well.
What’s next: The Bucs host the Carolina Panthers next Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.