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Lovie Smith: It was only one game

TAMPA, Fla. -- The question was a natural the day after the Buccaneers were embarrassed (42-14) in their season-opening loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The Bucs had four months to get ready for the game. So why weren’t they ready?

The answer, coming from coach Lovie Smith on Monday, wasn’t a natural.

“Not ready, I wouldn’t say not ready,’’ Smith said. “We didn’t play well. And why not? There’s a lot of reasons why, whether you want to call it ready or not.’’

I’ll step way out on a limb and say the Bucs flat-out weren’t ready. From start to finish, the Titans outplayed them. And let’s not forget the Titans, like the Bucs, were 2-14 last season. Let’s also not forget the Titans, just like the Bucs, were starting a rookie quarterback.

But that wasn’t a problem for Tennessee. Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes -- in the first half. Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston threw two interceptions that led to 14 points for the Titans and was sacked four times.

No matter what Smith said, the Bucs weren’t ready and the final score is proof.

“To be ready you do everything you think you need to do and then when you get to that game you never know for sure,’’ Smith said. “It happened. That’s all I can say. You can feel like you’re ready and stuff does happen sometimes and you just don’t play as well as you need to. For one game. And that’s where we are. We’re not going to make it any more (than one game). It’s disappointment on one game. But these are correctable things and we will.’’

Smith repeatedly talked about how it was only one game. In theory, he has a point. The Bucs still could bounce back and have a successful season. There are 15 games to go.

But the Bucs can’t play another game like they did against the Titans and expect to go anywhere. They play the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday. They have to be ready this time.