TAMPA, Fla. – The Titans lost to the Buccaneers 20-6 on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Here's a look at six things that stood out from the contest:
Levis Under Duress
Titans quarterback Will Levis was under duress not long after dropping back in the pocket throughout the contest. The Buccaneers were credited with four sacks and 13 quarterback hits. Titans offensive linemen Peter Skoronski and Chris Hubbard both said the effort from the banged-up o-line wasn't good enough. The Titans lost Nicholas Petit-Frere and Daniel Brunskill to injuries in Pittsburgh, causing the merry-go-round up front to continue. In game, Dillon Radunz moved from right guard to left tackle and Andrew Rupcich entered the contest at right guard after Andre Dillard left with a concussion. "I know I didn't do enough today," Hubbard said. "I have to play better, with my teammates. We just have to come back, and we have to get better."
"Hard to Evaluate"
In his third NFL start, Levis completed 19-of-39 passes for 199 yards in the game, with an interception. Levis was fortunate he wasn't intercepted on a few other throws. But the Titans were one-dimensional because they had to play from behind. And, again, Levis was under pressure. It made his performance against the Buccaneers even tougher to grade. "It's hard to evaluate," Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said of Levis. "I thought early on there were a couple of high passes, and some that should (have been) caught. But nobody was good enough, including the head coach." Levis said it was a tough day for the offense as a whole. The Titans managed just 14 first downs, and 209 yards of offense. "We just have to do a better job, just every one of us, just looking introspectively what we can do better," Levis said. "And for me, knowing if we have these games where they're on us a little quicker, just maybe getting through my reads a little faster and start getting the ball out sooner. It's hard to change the thought process mid-game, but there's definitely things I could have done that could have helped."
Kicking Field Goals
Twice the Titans settled for field goals instead of trying to extend drives on fourth down. The first occasion came in the first quarter, when instead of going for it on 4th and 2 from the Tampa Bay 33, they sent Nick Folk out there for a 51-yard field goal, which sailed right. Later in the contest, Folk kicked a 27-yard field goal when the Titans were trailing 17-3. "I felt like we needed to get some points there, to try and keep it two scores," Vrabel said of the kick that cut the lead to 17-6. "Early on, we felt good about Nick making it and finishing it off with some points. … It was just about getting some points."
Nowhere to Run
Titans running back Derrick Henry managed just 24 yards on 11 carries in the contest, a 2.2-yard average. His longest run of the day was eight yards. Running back Tyjae Spears added 18 yards on five carries. Vrabel acknowledged the team didn't do enough in the run game, calling it a "struggle." While offensive linemen shouldered some of the blame, Henry said it was a frustrating day for everyone. "We have to be better," Henry said. "We didn't do our job well enough, collectively, or individually. And when you play like that, you get beat. We have to execute, and we have to be able to put drives together and get points."
The Titans are now 0-6 away from Nissan Stadium this season, and some of the issues are really glaring. Like this one: The Titans haven't scored a single touchdown in three of their first six games on the road, including losses to the Saints (16-15), Browns (27-3) and on Sunday vs the Buccaneers (20-6). "(Field goals) against a team like this is not going to win you games, you saw that today," receiver DeAndre Hopkins said. "Obviously there are plays we have to make, and there are mistakes that we can't make. Everybody holds themselves accountable, I feel like, and hopefully we can go out there and play a complete game (at Jacksonville)."
As mentioned previously, the Titans didn't score a touchdown for the third time on the road this season. On defense, the Titans played well enough to win on a lot of weeks, but not on a Sunday when the offense struggled. And, we can't ignore the fact Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns, with a 102.4 rating. Receiver Mike Evans had six catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. It was the kind of day when the punter earned a mention, so Ryan Stonehouse is getting some recognition to close out this ugly six-pack. Stonehouse tied the eighth-best single-game gross punting average in franchise history (minimum four punts) by averaging 56.8 yards on four punts, with two placed inside the 20. His net average of 48.0 yards per punt ranked second in his career (minimum four punts). Stonehouse hit a 62-yard punt in the first quarter and then booted three consecutive punts that went 55 yards. It was a good day for the punter, which sums up the kind of day it was for the Titans.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 10 at Raymond James Stadium.