Bucs win, 4:06 p.m.
Kerry Collins’ Hail Mary is incomplete, ending the game. This one was a hard-fought win for Tampa Bay, and one they really needed to pull out.
Look for plenty of game coverage tonight at Bucsblitz.com. And don’t forget about our postgame chat at 10 p.m. EST.
Titans will get one shot, 4:05 p.m.
Tennessee has the ball at their own 27 with seven seconds left. That’s enough time for one play.
Bryant makes it, 4:03 p.m.
Matt Bryant just made the 43-yard field goal. The Bucs declined the Titans penalty for too many men on the field. The Bucs are up 13-10 with 11 seconds left. Next time I say, “They’re not going for the field goal,” just disregard it.
Maybe they will, 4:02 p.m.
Jeff Garcia worked a sideline route to Ike Hilliard. The ball is at the Titans 25 making this a 43-yard field goal for Matt Bryant.
Bucs take final time out, 4:01 p.m.
Tampa Bay won’t be going for the field goal. They just took their final time out. Look for them to work sideline routes and then go deep.
Bucs keep driving, 4 p.m.
Ike Hilliard’s 28-yard catch from Jeff Garcia keeps the drive alive — and it’s a good thing. Garcia underthrew Ike Hilliard in the flat, and Titans DB Cortland Finnegan broke up a pass to Joey Galloway that he all but had on the first two plays. It was a huge third-down conversion.
Haynesworth back, 3:58 p.m.
Tennessee DT Albert Haynesworth is in the game.
What will the Bucs do, 3:57 p.m.
Will Tampa Bay take a shot to win this in regulation? They haven’t moved the ball well this entire quarter (the TD came on a 69-yard pass). The thing you want to guard against is going three-and-out in your own end, forcing a punt and giving the Titans halfway-decent field position to do the same thing. The Titans have two time outs left. At worst, if you’re the Bucs, you want to take your chances in OT.
Titans tie it up, 3:56 p.m.
LenDale White scored from two yards out with 1:17 left to make this a tie game, pending the extra point. The Titans started the drive with a 4-yard gain by LenDale White. The play is under review. He scored.
Titans have first and goal, 3:50 p.m.
Kerry Collins hit Bo Scaife for a first down at the Bucs 6. Collins let the clock roll to the two-minute warning. If the Bucs lose this game, fans are going to point toward Ronde Barber’ two failed interceptions. I want to hear a little more about the ruling on the second one, because I thought the pylon negated out of bounds on a play such as that. But the first overturned pick was legitimate. The Bucs defense has to make a stop here. Absolutely has to. The Bucs don't want this to go to overtime.
No interception, 3:48 p.m.
The official rules the pass incomplete, saying one of Barber’s legs landed inbounds and then his hand landed out of bounds before his second leg came down. Tennessee has the ball facing second and 15 at Tampa Bay’s 23 with 2:44 left.
He caught that one?, 3:45 p.m.
Bucs CB Ronde Barber just broke the franchise interception record, picking off Kerry Collins on a pass in the corner of the end zone on a pass intended for LenDale White? Or did he? He appeared to land out of bounds in the end zone as he made the catch on his back. He also appeared to hit the pylon at the same time. So — in or out? Tennessee is challenging because, well, this could be the game for them. That would have been a TD if Barber hadn’t stepped in.
Collins to Gage, 3:42 p.m.
Kerry Collins just hit Justin Gage for a big slant route down the middle of the field and into Bucs territory, putting pressure on the Bucs defense. The Titans have the ball at the Bucs 33 with 4 minutes left.
Bucs run defense getting it done, 3:40 p.m.
Without the threat of Vince Young the Bucs run defense is really getting the job done inside. LenDale White has nowhere to run right now. Kerry Collins is going to have to get this done with his arm — if he’s going to get it done at all. He seems like he’s struggling with his progressions.
Terrible set, 3:37 p.m.
The Bucs are forced to punt after three extremely conservative and poorly executed plays. The Bucs should try and take a shot deep, because the Titans are geared toward keeping things in front of them. Titans get the ball at their own 14 with 7:34 left.
There’s one stop, 3:34 p.m.
The Bucs send the Titans three and out. Kerry Collins threw a nice pass in the flat to LenDale White, but it appeared to go through his hands. Bucs get the ball at their own 44 with 9:12 left. Now they need to keep the ball a while.
Bucs punt, 3:30 p.m.
Tampa Bay couldn’t get the first down with their backs to their own end zone, so they’ll punt. The Bucs defense probably needs two more good stops to finish off this game for the offense. The Titans will have solid field position at their own 40 with 10:20 left in the game. Kerry Collins is still in the game. A holding call on Tennessee pushed the Titans back to their 19. The penalty is enforced from the end of the kick, not the return.
Is this just too much, 3:26 p.m.
I think we have to begin wondering if the Bucs are reaching the breaking point on injuries. That’s something I intend to explore this week. Losing Smith for the season would be a blow, for sure. Smith has an ankle injury and will not be back.
Alex Smith is down, 3:23 p.m.
Tight end Alex Smith had his leg rolled over on the first play of the Bucs’ drive, leading to an injury. It was one of those awkward plays where the defender gets him by the lower leg and Smith is bent backward. He’s still down and they’re brining the cart out (never a good sign with the Bucs). He’s the second Buc to leave the game. Patrick Chukwurah left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. We’ll see more Jerramy Stevens now.
Carter’s sack, 3:20 p.m.
Kevin Carter’s sack was the 99th of his career. 100 is considered the milestone number in the category. His sack, plus Jovan Haye’s, give the Bucs three on the day. Those back-to-back sacks were well timed. They took the Titans out of field goal range and kept it a seven-point game.
Titans fall apart, 3:18 p.m.
Kerry Collins was sacked by Kevin Carter, but the quarterback is ruling that he was in the grasp and that he spiked the ball. It was a half-hearted spike at best. The Titans will punt. The call is the difference in 25 yards of field position. If it had been ruled a fumble, the Bucs would have had it in Titans territory with a chance to put it away.
Big sack, 3:15 p.m.
Jovan Haye just sacked Kerry Collins for a 7-yard loss, setting the Titans back to 3rd-and-13. The Bucs need a stop here at their own 24 — and it’s a big play for Tennessee too. That’s why they’re taking a time out with 12:58 left in the game.
An area of concern, 3:14 p.m.
The Buccaneers are giving up too many third-down conversions today, especially against the pass, where they’ve been pretty solid all season. It seems to me the Bucs are playing back a little bit, which may be OK with Vince Young, but not with Kerry Collins. He’ll pick you apart with underneath stuff.
Tennessee’s ball, 3:09 p.m.
Keystone Cops. Bo Scaife fumbled a catch, Ronde Barber recovered it and then Justin Gage recovered it for a Titans first down. Tennessee is now at Tampa Bay’s 33 with five seconds left. As the quarter ends with a Tennessee incomletion, Vince Young returned to the sideline.
Overturned, 3:05 p.m.
The official correctly ruled that Ronde Barber did not have possession of the interception, which would have been the 32nd of his career and a team record. Tennessee gets the ball back on 3rd-and-10. And, yes, the official was booed. Tennessee turned it into a first down.
Barber’s pick wasn’t, 3:02 p.m.
The refs will get roundly booed, but they should overturn Ronde Barber’s interception a moment ago. Barber caught it, but lost control of it when he hit the ground. Since he came down on his back and neither knee hit the ground, the pass should be ruled incomplete and possession should be returned to Tennessee.
Young may be back, 3:01 p.m.
They just announced that Vince Young has a quad strain and his return is probable.
Bucs take their shot, 2:57 p.m.
Jeff Garcia just took his shot downfield and hit Joey Galloway for a 69-yard TD pass. Galloway had two DBs on him, but Nick Harper — the corner who was in coverage — just appeared to throw his hands up in an attempt to district Galloway, who wasn’t.
The Bucs have been waiting for a big play for three games, and there it is. And with Young and Haynesworth out, that could be a real blow to the Titans.
Young jogging, 2:56 p.m.
Vince Young just jogged to the locker room, I’m assuming for tests on his injury.
Young walking, 2:52 p.m.
Vince Young is now walking back and forth behind the Tennessee bench. That’s a far cry from five minutes ago, when trainers were prepared to cart him off. Bucs have the ball now after the punt, 3:59 to go in the third quarter.
Young hurt, 2:49 p.m.
Titans QB Vince Young came up lame as he went to the sideline on that run out of the pocket. He's being look at by trainers. He’s in a lot of pain. I won’t speculate, but it doesn’t look good. He wasn’t hit on the play. Kerry Collins is in the game now. With that, the running element Young brings to the game is now a non-factor.
Chukwurah hurt, 2:47 p.m.
Patrick Chukwurah is sidelined with a shoulder injury. Not sure when it happened, and the Bucs aren’t sure if he’ll be back. Also, still no word on the Titans’ Albert Haynesworth, but he has not returned to this game.
Tampa forced to punt, 2:46 p.m.
The Bucs go three and out and punt. The Titans get the ball at their own 25 with 7:1 left in the third.
Antwan Odom threw down Jeff Garcia on the first play of the drive after Odom tipped a pass. It was borderline roughing, but in a close game the ref better be sure. The next play Earnest Graham dropped a pass. This drive was doomed from the start.
Good set up, 2:42 p.m.
Mark Jones’ 33-yard kickoff return puts the Bucs at their 39 with 7:43 left in the third. That’s good field position to try and break this tie.
Titans tie it up, 2:39 p.m.
Rob Bironas’ 48-yard field goal tied the game at 3-3 with 7:52 left.
The Titans are barely rushing for three yards per carry, but they’re managing to convert some third-and-longs to keep their drives going. They tried to run on third down on that last play of the drive and got nowhere. Big mistake by OC Norm Chow.
I’m awake, 2:32 p.m.
I just had a friend text me and ask if I was still awake, since it’s 3-0. My response: Zzzzzzzzzzz. Titans are still driving.
Titans get ball first, 2:30 p.m.
Tennessee is on offense first, since the Bucs received the opening kickoff.
Tampa Bay is in good shape. The defense is playing well, having forced two turnovers and bottling up Vince Young and the running game. The Bucs offense is relegated to short passing and running, but the one shot they took led to a field goal.
Bucs get first down, 2:15 p.m.
Earnest Graham bulled his way for a first down to keep the clock moving. Tennessee helped with an offsides call on second down.
Garcia takes a knee and the Bucs have a 3-0 lead.
TB trying to run out clock, 2:13 p.m.
The Bucs need a first down here to run out the clock and go into halftime up 3-0. But the Titans have all three time out, and a three-and-out forces a punt and good field position to try another shot at a score.
Interception stands, 2:12 p.m.
Replays review upheld in the booth upheld the call.
Video showed Buchanon got one foot in cleanly, but the second one might have hit the chalk on the sideline. I thought the rule was that defenders only needed to have one foot in. Apparently the ref agreed with me.
Buchanon intercepts pass, 2:08 p.m.
I’m on fire today. I predicted a Phillip Buchanon interception and he delivered, picking off Vince Young on a deep bomb to Roydell Williams. That snuffs out a possible scoring chance for the Titans. The play is now under review.
Tennessee moves on, 2:07 p.m.
Vince Young hit Eric Moulds for the first down in Bucs terrtitory. Tennessee is going to try and get a score before halftime.
Two-minute warning, 2:05 p.m.
The Titans will get to think about 3rd-and-6 from their own 45 due to the two-minute warning. This game is flying by so far.
Tanard Jackson has his own cheer now — “T.J.! T.J.” after that big hit he delivered on Chris Brown behind the line of scrimmage.
Bucs take lead, 1:56 p.m.
Matt Bryant’s field goal gave the Bucs a 3-0 lead with about six minutes left in the second quarter. The Bucs surely wanted a TD, but getting points off a turnover is never a bad thing, especially in what appears to be a low-scoring game such as this.
There’s Michael Clayton, catching a 39-yard bomb from an under-pressure Jeff Garcia — that ball definitely fluttered — to put the Bucs in the red zone for the first time today. The catch was Clayton’s second of the day. Someone other than Joey Galloway or Ike Hilliard sorely needs to step up in the receiving corps. Also credit Garcia with eluding the rush and making a big 14-yard completion to B.J. Askew while his body was about to be flung around. The play was perfect after a big turnover. His presence in the pocket is like nothing I’ve seen in covering this team for the past three years. He just senses it.
Big mistake by Tennessee, 1:48 p.m.
A botched handoff between Vince Young and Chris Brown led to a fumble, with Tampa Bay’s Patrick Chukwurah recovering it at Tampa Bay’s 36 with 10:27 left in the second quarter. It’s the first turnover of the day.
Tennessee entered Tampa Bay territory for the first time on this drive. Chris Brown found a gaping hole on first and 10 from the 46 and put the Titans in position to get some points.
Bucs punt for third time, 1:43 p.m.
The Bucs get a couple of first downs, but a false start puts the Bucs in a bad situation and they have to punt. I get the sense the Bucs are close to something offensively.
Earnest Graham is getting a lot of touches so far — eight as of his third catch early in the second quarter. At this rate he’s going to end up with about 20. And the Bucs are using short passer early in this game. A reporter asked Gruden on Monday if he might have to use wideouts as “running backs” — as in, short passes in lieu of run plays — and he sort of dismissed it. But it appears he’s using the short passes to open up the run, a true West Coast offense philosophy.
Bucs driving, 1:36 p.m.
The quarter ends with the game scoreless, but the Bucs almost in Titans territory.
I wrote a piece this week touting B.J. Askew and he caught a nice pass for a first down on that drive. He’s going to have to be used more today, probably more as a receiver. There is also a noticeable difference in the pressure this Tennessee defense is bringing without Albert Haynesworth, who is still out We have not been informed of his condition yet. Earnest Graham had a nice shake and bake move on cornerback Nick Harper to get a first down at the end of the first quarter.
Titans punt again, 1:31 p.m.
Vince Young appeared to be on his way to a first down, but ran into LenDale White, ending the drive. It appeared Gaines Adams was going to cut him off, and, statistically, it was his first sack as a Buc because he was closest to Young when he went down and Young was behind the line of scrimmage. So I correctly predicted that, even if it is pretty bogus. Bucs have the ball at their own 17 with 2:32 left in the first quarter.
The Titans are not going to get much running the football, judging by the way Tampa Bay is defending early. But they seem committed to LenDale White today, who doesn’t look particularly lively but might wear at the Bucs defense a bit because of his size. The Titans should have been three and out, but a holding penalty on Ronde Barber (he did it) extended the drive.
Bucs punt away again, 1:24 p.m.
The Bucs got a first down, but were unable to get any further and they’ll have to punt. Nice hit by Kalvin Pearson on put coverage and the Titans have the ball at their own 32 with 6:03 left in the first quarter.
Earnest Graham took a huge hit from Titans CB Cortland Finnegan on a catch in the flat and got right back up. He showed some toughness.
Haynesworth could be out, 1:22 p.m.
Albert Haynesworth is having a hard time getting up after Earnest Graham’s run for no gain. Haynesworth came into the game with a sore ankle. He appears to be in some pain. If the Titans were to lose him, that would be a huge blow defensively. He’s been the triggerman for their No. 3 run defense, plus he’s done a fine job rushing the passer inside. I’ll get you an update as soon as I can.
Jeff Garcia better be careful. He’s going to be hit a lot. He took a good shot on his first completion, a 14-yarder to Ike Hilliard. This Titans D-Line is good and they’re already getting some heat on Garcia.
Titans forced to punt, 1:17 p.m.
The Titans get two first downs, but an errant pass forces a punt. The Bucs will have it at their own 20 with 8:23 left in the first.
I like the way Vince Young is using veteran Eric Moulds early. Both catches have been with Phillip Buchanon in defense and the bigger Moulds is using his size to gain position. FB Ahmard Hall looks like his bell was run on a running play. The trainers were out fast to get a look at him. Young is also throwing quite a bit on the run, which isn’t unusual.
Bucs forced to punt, 1:09 p.m.
Tampa Bay managed one first down before a punt to the Titans with about 11 minutes left in the first quarter.
Michael Clayton made a nice third-down conversion catch on the drive for a 14-yard gain, an inside route in which he got position on the corner. But this Tennessee defensive line is lively early. They’re getting good pressure and doing so without a blitz, so Jeff Garcia’s having a hard time finding receivers. That led to that holding penalty on Donald Penn on the nice screen to Earnest Graham on second down at the Bucs 40. That snuffed out the drive.
Wind will be a factor, 1:03 p.m.
Tennessee’s Rob Bironas just kicked the ball into the back of the end zone on the kickoff (that’s going west to east, left to right on the football field if you’re watching on TV). The wind was definitely behind him. It’s not just a light breeze. The Bucs should have that wind in the second and fourth quarters.
We’re about to start, 12:59 p.m.
The captains are having the coin toss right now. Tampa Bay won the toss and elected to receive. I anticipate this being a highly physical contest with little offensive production on either side. It could come down to a field goal.
Starting changes, 12:04 p.m.
For Tampa Bay, CB Phillip Buchanon will start for Brian Kelly on the right side. For Tennessee, WR Roydell Williams will start for WR Brandon Jones.
Inactives, 12:02 p.m.
Here are today’s inactives:
Tennessee: P Josh Miller, WR Paul Williams, CB Kelly Herndon, RB Chris Henry, G/C Leroy Harris, DE Sean Conover, WR Brandon Jones, DE Bryce Fisher.
Tampa Bay: QB Luke McCown, CB Brian Kelly, RB Michael Pittman, LB Jeremiah Trotter, LB Adam Hayward, G Dan Buenning, T Dennis Roland, DT Ryan Sims.
Still mulling this move, 11:20 a.m.
I’m still trying to figure out why the Bucs chose to released Kenneth Darby and sign Lionel Gates last night. Sure, both had pretty good preseasons, but I thought Darby played a little better. Plus, Darby has been with the team since the start of the season — albeit on the practice squad. The Bucs re-signed Gates on Wednesday. Now this puts more pressure on fullbacks B.J. Askew and Zack Crockett to carry the football today. Thanks to this move, you could see Earnest Graham carry the ball 20 times — if the offensive line is effective enough to set up such production. And against Tennessee’s front four, that’s a big if.
Another story to read, 11:17 a.m.
Earnest Graham is going to start today for the Bucs, and his road to that role has been a pretty trying one. Roy Cummings focused on the early struggles of Graham’s career — including learning who he could trust — in the Tampa Tribune.
Quick note on Simms, 11:15 a.m.
In case you missed it there was some fallout on the Chris Simms move to IR — though Simms wasn’t talking. Rick Stroud had a nice note on the decision, and how Simms’ silence was golden this week in the St. Petersburg Times.
Random stat, 11:08 a.m.
The Titans have won five road games in a row, which is tied for a franchise record. A win today over Tampa Bay would be No. 6.