Buccaneers break losing streak against Titans

Buccaneers' Rachaad White runs for a touchdown
AP Photos/Chris O'Meara

By: Garrett Ballard

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Tennessee Titans 20-6 on Sunday to break their four-game losing streak. It took a matchup against another struggling team, but the Bucs are back in the win column.

The Titans and Bucs combined for just 10 points in the first half. First came a 38-yard field goal by Nick Folk to put the Titans up 3-0. In the second quarter, Baker Mayfield found Rachaad White under heavy pressure for a miraculous 43-yard screen touchdown.

“It’s always good to have screen plays turn into explosives,” Mayfield said. “[White]’s a key part of this offense and we’re going to keep feeding him.”

According to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, White had just a 1.1% chance to score on that play and gained 49 yards after contact. White’s ability in the screen game has been where he is most impactful this season, as he leads the league in receiving yards over expected among running backs.

“He played tough football,” Todd Bowles said of White.

The Buccaneers found the end zone one more time, this time in the third quarter. Mayfield found Mike Evans in the red zone, and he muscled his way through many Titan defenders to the endzone.

“I made it a point to get that touchdown back,” Mike Evans said. The drive prior, Evans dropped a wide-open touchdown pass, saying he was too focused on who he was going to give the touchdown ball to.

“Playing football, you’re going to have lowlights,” Evans said of that catch. “You can’t let it keep you down, that’s my mindset all the time.”

The Buccaneers focused on tackling and making sure they did not get beat by standout running back, Derrick Henry. Seven different Bucs defenders are on the stat sheet with a tackle for loss, and a majority of those came on Henry. Forcing Tennessee to beat the Bucs in the air led to the lack of offensive output for the Titans. Henry finished the game with just 24 rushing yards on 11 carries and minus-4 yards on one catch.

“Getting them out of their comfort zone was our number one job,” Bowles said. “We knew if they stayed downhill and got Henry rolling it was going to be a long day for us.”

The combined 20 total yards gained by Henry was his least since 2017, a 90-game gap.

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The Buccaneers have their work cut out for them, as they travel to San Francisco next week to challenge the 49ers. Last year, these two teams played in a lopsided game that saw the 49ers win 35-7 over the Tom Brady-led Bucs.