Turnovers spoil Blount's productive game
The Tampa Tribune, published 28 November 2011

LeGarrette Blount broke the 100-yard mark for the second straight week, but couldn't enjoy it after fumbling twice against Tennessee. Blount rushed for 103 yards on 20 carries against his former team, but two Titans defensive linemen stripped the ball from him in the first and third quarters.

A light rain created slippery conditions as the teams combined for eight fumbles. The Buccaneers fumbled five times, losing four, and the Titans lost two of three fumbles. "Everybody was dropping the ball," Blount said. "We had turnovers on both sides of the ball."

Titans defensive end Jason Jones stripped the ball from Blount after an 8-yard run on the second play from scrimmage. Cornerback Jason McCourty recovered at the Bucs 38-yard line, but the Tampa Bay defense kept Tennessee off the scoreboard.

In the third quarter, Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey stripped the ball from Blount after he caught a 6-yard pass from Josh Freeman. Casey recovered at the Tampa Bay 29, but the Bucs' defense bailed him out again. "Obviously, it was slippery," Blount said. "There was nothing that anybody could do besides hold onto the ball tighter. It's really frustrating. Any loss is frustrating no matter if you lose by one or 100."

Blount had not lost a fumble in 118 rushing attempts entering the game. Raheem Morris was happy with Blount's yardage production, but disappointed in the turnovers.

"LeGarrette went out and ran the ball well, but you've got to hold onto the ball at all costs," Morris said "When you carry that football, you're carrying the whole team on your back. And no matter what, you can't put that ball on the ground."

Blount also caught three passes for 56 yards, giving him 159 yards in total offense. His first catch came on a 35-yard screen pass from Freeman when Blount hurdled McCourty in the first quarter. That put the ball on the Bucs 49 and nine plays later Connor Barth kicked a 43-yard field goal, giving Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead.

"That pass that (LeGarrette) caught, the screen where he hurdled the guy, that's almost becoming a signature move for him," Bucs center Jeff Faine said. "It was a tremendous individual play. It kind of sparked us up, getting us going again."

Blount was the workhorse, carrying the ball on 20 of the Bucs' 25 running plays as the second-year pro from Oregon averaged 5.2 yards per carry. The 6-foot, 247-pound bruiser carried the ball on six of the Bucs' first eight plays, including the screen pass reception.

Blount kept the momentum going from last week's 107-yard effort in a loss to Green Bay. He has three 100-yard games this season. "I thought LeGarrette ran hard," Freeman said. "He did a good job running the ball and it's all for naught. We're in this business to win football games and today we let one get away."

Freeman fumbled twice, losing one. Mike Williams also lost one fumble. "If you're in a circumstance where there are a bunch of guys around you trying to hold you up and strip you, you've got to try to fall, try to get down," Freeman said. "If you're fighting for extra yardage, that's when bad things happen, especially in this situation with the rain."