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Week 8 Game Recap: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23, Tennessee Titans 27

What you need to know

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs fell again to a bipolar performance from Jameis Winston, who made some beautiful throws to Mike Evans but also turned the ball over a total of 4 times, with several other close calls. Evans had a monster day to the tune of 198 yards and two touchdowns as the Titans attempted to cover him with a backup CB. The Tampa Bay run game was nonexistent as neither back picked up more than 35 yards while splitting carries. Tight end OJ Howard missed the game with a hamstring injury, but fellow tight end Cameron Brate still posted a mundane stat line as backup TE Hudson drew more red zone targets from Winston. Tampa Bay forced a fumble on a fake punt late in the second half, but a referee mistakenly blew the play dead as Andrew Adams was running towards the end zone for a sure-fire touchdown. Coach Arians placed the blame for Winston's INT's on the receiving core after the game.

Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill threw for three touchdowns, aided mostly by excellent play from his defense to set up a short field for two of those. The Titans offense overall was relatively sluggish as Tannehill leaned heavily on his tight ends, notably Jonnu Smith, to move the ball downfield. Derrick Henry had a mediocre outing with a couple of big runs while all Titans wide receivers struggled outside of short touchdowns for A.J. Brown and Tajae Sharpe. Titans linemen Roger Saffold and Taylor Lewan both exited the game early with injuries.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Jameis Winston, 83 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 43 - 301 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 8 - 53 - 0
Winston had another mistake-filled performance as he threw two touchdowns, two interceptions, and lost two fumbles. The first turnover shouldn't be held against him as he lost a fumble in the 1st quarter when his center snapped the ball too early. His first interception was a bad throw that sailed over Chris Godwin's head and into the arms of a cornerback sitting in a deep zone. He nearly threw another pick at the start of the next drive, as his pass was batted at the line of scrimmage and was tipped around by no fewer than four defenders before it hit the ground. Winston appeared to throw another interception midway through the second quarter, but an official review determined that the ball hit the ground as the defender was securing the catch. Winston finally led the offense to a touchdown at the end of the 1st half after settling for 3 field goals. He set the score up with a magnificent 46 yard bomb to Mike Evans down the right sideline, then capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Evans on a slant route in the end zone. The pair hooked up for a big gain again on the Bucs' first drive of the 3rd quarter as Winston hit Evans on a deep corner route for a 43 yard gain. Winston capped the drive with a touchdown to Evans a few plays later, tossing the ball over the head of a helpless defender on a back corner fade. Winston was able to connect with Evans for a total of 198 yards and both scores as the Titans attempted to cover Evans without their starting corner Jackson.

Winston led the team in rushing yardage as he peeled off several impressive scrambles. He converted two first downs in a row with long runs during a 2nd quarter drive that unfortunately ended in an interception. His longest run of the day was a 20 yard scamper down the left sideline late in the 4th quarter.

RB Ronald Jones II, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 35 - 0, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (4 targets)
Jones basically split backfield duties with 11 carries to Peyton Barber's 10. He had a better average, though neither back had any success at breaking big plays. Jones picked up a 7 yard carry in the 3rd quarter for his longest tote of the day. He managed to secure one target for a 17 yard gain. Jones did not get any carries in the red zone, though fellow backs Barber and Ogunbowale both got opportunities at the goal line.

RB Peyton Barber, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 20 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets)
Barber(10 carries) continues to be locked into an unproductive time share with Ronald Jones(11 carries), as he ground out 20 yards total. Barber got stuffed on a goal line carry early in the 1st quarter after Evans set the offense up inside the 5 yard line with a PI flag. Barber nearly scored on a red zone screen pass that he took down to the Titans' two yard line in the 3rd quarter, his only catch of the day on 3 targets. He was stuffed on a 4th and 1 attempt late in the 4th quarter.

RB Dare Ogunbowale, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (3 targets)
Ogunbowale got a couple of goal line opportunities in the 2nd quarter. He was targeted on an out route in the end zone that was well defended, and then he got a carry from the goal line that was stopped short by Breshad Perriman, who mistakenly came across the formation in motion, running over Ogunbowale as he was taking the handoff from Winston. Ogunbowale was targeted again inside the 5 yard line at the end of the 2nd quarter on a short out route that he could not secure. Ogunbowale only secured one target for a short(but hard-earned) 3 yards that picked up a first down on the Bucs' final drive of the game.

WR Mike Evans, 76 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 198 - 2 (12 targets)
Evans was the winning lottery ticket in the Tampa Bay passing game this week. Tennessee's starting CB Jackson missed the game, leaving Evans to abuse his backup Sims for multiple gains of 40+ yards as well as several costly defensive pass interference calls. Evans did most of his damage in the first half outside of the numbers, working the sideline with out routes and curls. He beat his defender on a deep ball early in the 1st, missing the ball but drawing a holding penalty. He was targeted on the next snap, but couldn't bring the ball in on a crossing route in the back of the end zone. Evans finally got the downfield passing game going with a crazy 46 yard reception on a deep ball over the head of safety Byard with less than a minute left in the 1st half of play. Evans shook his man with a nice cut on a slant route two plays later, sealing the drive with a touchdown pass from Winston just before halftime. The pair picked up right back where they left off after halftime, with Winston connecting with Evans on a deep corner route from the left slot for a 43 yard gain on the Bucs' first offensive play of the 2nd half. Evans sealed the drive with another touchdown a few plays later, catching a back corner fade over a helpless defender. Evans finished with a team-high 12 targets, converting 11 of them into 198 yards and Tampa Bay's only two touchdowns.

WR Chris Godwin, 82 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 43 - 0 (8 targets)
Godwin played second fiddle to Mike Evans in this one as Evans dominated the downfield passing game as well as red zone looks. Godwin made lemonade out of lemons on a broken play in the 1st quarter, catching a shallow crossing route from Winston and making some nice moves after the catch to pick up positive yardage. He was targeted in the end zone but overthrown by Winston on a 1st quarter drive that eventually ended in a field goal. Godwin picked up a two-point conversion on the Bucs' first drive of the 2nd half of play. He made an impressive leaping effort on a 3rd quarter out route, then finished with a short reception on the final drive of the game. Godwin finished with 8 targets, second to Evans with 12.

WR Breshad Perriman, 58 offensive snaps (4 targets)
Perriman had a forgettable performance in week 8. He appeared to mistakenly go into motion on a goal line play in the 2nd quarter as he ran over the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage and killed the play. Winston hit Perriman in the back corner of the end zone on a two point conversion attempt at the end of the 1st half, but the receiver could not get both feet down inbounds. Fellow receiver Scotty Miller continues to see more snaps in the offense, and could be pushing Perriman down the pecking order.

WR Scott Miller, 10 offensive snaps (1 targets)
Miller continued to mix into the receiver rotation despite the return of Perriman, who had a rough game. Miller had a step on his defender on a deep ball in the 2nd quarter, but couldn't quite haul in an overthrown pass from Winston.

TE Cameron Brate, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (6 targets)
Brate unfortunately did not see an uptick in his usage with OJ Howard this week. He caught a deep out route for a 12 yard gain early in the first drive of the game. He made a tough catch in traffic on a curl route in the 2nd quarter, and finished with a short reception in the 3rd, totaling a paltry 32 yards on the day. Backup tight end Hudson actually drew more looks in the red zone.

TE Tanner Hudson, 21 offensive snaps (1 targets)
Backup tight end Hudson, who had some impressive performances in the preseason, saw some snaps this week with OJ Howard missing the game. Hudson was targeted once in the end zone but couldn't quite bring the ball in with a diving effort.

Tennessee Titans

QB Ryan Tannehill, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 33 - 193 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -3 - 0
Ryan Tannehill dinked and dunked his way to 193 yards and three touchdowns in his second win starting under center for the Titans. Tannehill rarely had to push the ball downfield as he reaped the benefit of short fields on two occasions due to costly turnovers by the Jameis Winston. He did take a few deep shots in this game, but he couldn’t connect on a pass of longer than 13 yards to any of his wide receivers. He would make a number of excellent passes to his tight end Jonnu Smith though, including his longest play of the game for 26 yards coming just before halftime. Tannehill simply lofted the ball right over a defender as Smith hauled it in, in stride, over his shoulder to make the catch. Tannehill’s first touchdown of the day also went to Smith on his first pass of the game, an easy throw to the wide-open Smith from five yards out as Smith was set up for a great mismatch in coverage. His next touchdown was a beauty as he hit Tajae Sharpe from six yards out on a perfectly thrown fade to the corner of the end zone. Tannehill made a couple of terrible throws on back-to-back plays late in the third quarter, but he was bailed out of both by defensive penalties that negated would-be interceptions. He would find the end zone a third time though, throwing a rocket to A.J. Brown from eight yards out for what would be the game-winner.

RB Derrick Henry, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 75 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets)
Derrick Henry was bottled up for most of the afternoon against one of the league’s toughest run defenses. Over half of his runs before halftime actually went for negative yards, but he made up for it on his second carry of the game, which would be Henry’s best play of the afternoon. Lining up from their own one-yard line, the Titans handed it to Henry who hit a very well-blocked hole as Henry sped into the second level and shed two tacklers on his way to a 34-yard run. Henry made a blunder just after halftime though, as he was on his way to a 10+ yard run but fumbled right at the first down marker as he committed the only turnover of the day for Tennessee. A couple drives later, Henry had another big run as he found the edge on the right side of the field and accelerated to an 18-yard gain. Henry would haul in his only reception of the game on that drive as well, taking a screen pass eight yards. He had another pair of big runs for 11 and 15 yards on the Titans’ first drive of the fourth quarter, but his first one of 11-yards would get called back from a holding penalty. Henry’s 15-yard run was a beauty though as he turned on the wheels for a toss right that he accelerated 12 yards before even being touched.

WR Adam Humphries, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (6 targets)
Adam Humphries had another quiet day moving the chains, including converting a third-down with a simple three-yard catch near the end of the third quarter and converting a second-down on the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter with a 13-yard reception from a quick slant route. Humphries did see back-to-back red zone looks near the goal line earlier in the game, but neither could be converted for a score against his former team.

WR Tajae Sharpe, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 18 - 1 (3 targets)
Sharpe hauled in all three of his targets for 18 yards and a touchdown this week. His first catch was the biggest as Sharpe was the recipient of a very well-thrown fade to the corner of the end zone from six yards out, hauling it in for his second touchdown of the season. Sharpe now has scored in back-to-back games despite receiving a very low volume of targets this season. Sharpe did also make a big catch in the fourth quarter as he hauled in a contested ball on a short third down to keep what would end up being the game-winning drive alive for the Titans.

WR A.J. Brown, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 1 (3 targets)
A.J. Brown had a quiet day with just three targets, but he found the end zone for what would end up being the game-winning score in the fourth quarter. The touchdown came from eight yards out as Brown ran a great route to cut off the defender and haul in a rocket thrown from Tannehill for the score just inside the pylon on the left side. Brown also saw a deep target before halftime but the ball was slightly overthrown as Brown couldn’t come down with it.

WR Corey Davis, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (6 targets)
Corey Davis was nowhere to be found in this week’s win over the Buccaneers, finishing with just two receptions for nine yards. He was targeted six times, one of which was a well-thrown deep ball just barely batted out of his hands near the end of the first quarter. Davis also saw a deep target in the end zone but couldn’t successfully compete for the ball to haul it in.

TE Jonnu Smith, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 78 - 1 (7 targets)
Jonnu Smith flourished with an opportunity to step up given Delanie Walker’s inactive status this week as Smith finished leading the Titans in all receiving categories. His first reception was a touchdown from five yards out--also the first completion of the day for Tannehill. Smith took the defense by surprise lined up wide left and ran quick slant which ended in the easy reception for the score. He did drop a short pass near the end of the first quarter, but Smith’s next opportunity netted him 26 yards on the biggest pass play of the day. Tannehill found Smith with a great ball in stride as Smith hauled it in over the shoulder and took a big hit, but held on to the ball to complete the catch. Smith was called for a false start penalty to lead off the second half, but he made up for it with a short six-yard reception on the next play. Smith would play a big role in the game-winning touchdown drive as he led it off with a 17-yard screen pass where he picked up extra yards after nearly being tripped up. Two plays later, Smith was wide open down the seam for another big gain of 20 yards as he accounted for the first 37-yards of this critical drive.