For the second week in a row, the Tennessee Titans escaped with a win, overcoming questionable coaching calls, a sputtery offense that finally came through and getting four turnovers in besting the Tampa Bay Bucs, 27-23 Sunday.
That win, which evens the Titans record at 4-4 this season, comes on the heels of a dramatic goal line stand last week in a win over the Chargers.
The Titans created both some of their own luck and some of their own distress Sunday.
Tennessee’s Harold Landry got a strip sack that set the Titans up with a chance to put the game away, but three plays went nowhere and the Titans lined up for a 46-yard field goal that would have given them a seven-point lead.
But Coach Mike Vrabel called for a questionable fake field goal with Brett Kern running on fourth-and-2 that failed and allowed Tampa Bay to get the football back with a chance to win with 3:41 to play. The play could have been much worse as punter Brett Kern, who was the holder on the play appeared to fumble. Tampa Bay recovered but officials blew the play dead on what could have been a Buccaneers touchdown.
“We’ve had that look and we’ve practiced it a bunch in the look that they gave us and that backer (Devin White) just shot over there and what looked like was the Red Sea closed up pretty darn quick. That guy made a great play,” Kern said of the play.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel trusted his instincts in going for it, even though it backfired and nearly cost the Titans.
“We want to go win the football. Understand that we practice, and we study, we get looks and we feel very confident in the look that we’re going to get,” Vrabel said. “They made a play, we didn’t, just like when we made a play at the end.”
That play came after the Bucs drove to the Titans’ 32 at the two-minute warning. Facing fourth-and-1, Jurrell Casey stopped a run play by Peyton Barber for a loss to stop one potential Bucs’ scoring threat.
But it took Tampa Bay’s fourth turnover of the day with 18 seconds left – Logan Ryan’s interception of Jameis Winston’s pass over the middle – to finally seal the win for the Titans.