They have a saying around here when the Tennessee Titans play to “Titan Up” but after last night’s embarrassing loss to the Houston Texans I think all the screws have come off on the 2018 season.
My rant follows….
This is a team that had lots of promise coming into this season. New coach. New uniforms. New attitude. The Titans came off a surprising playoff run in 2017 with a win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The 2018 season has not lived up to that promise.
I may not be an expert in football knowledge but I am experienced in following frustrating teams having been an Atlanta Falcons’ fan for most of my life. It ended with that Super Bowl collapse against New England. I moved to Nashville in 2014 and have gradually adopted the Titans. Once again, I am dealt with yet another frustrating NFL team to follow.
Last night the Titans jumped out to a 10-0 lead. It didn’t last long. Then came “the call” in the 2nd quarter when the Titans had the ball at the 3-yard-line and decided to go for it on 4th-and-inches. In a call no one in the football play calling universe can explain, QB Marcus Mariota handed the ball off to Tight End Luke Stocker for his FIRST NFL carry and was stuffed. On the very next play, Lamar Miller burst through the Titans for a 97-yard touchdown run. After that, the Titans were done. Mariota had to scramble for his life the rest of the game and was sacked six times. I wanted them to take him out and put in another quarterback. He was getting killed back there.
Some glaring weaknesses which have hurt the Titans all season. Weak offensive line, inconsistent running game and terrible pass defense.
The offensive line has given up a boat-load of sacks this year. They lead the league with 39 sacks. In their game against the Baltimore Ravens on October 14th, the Ravens had a record number of sacks in the game. I don’t care who you hire as an offensive coordinator, if you can’t give the offense time no play is going to work. The Titans signed Dion Lewis in the offseason to help with the running game but just because Lewis had previously been with the New England Patriots doesn’t mean much. If he was good they would have kept him don’t you think? Same is true for cornerback Malcolm Butler. Derrick Henry is a good running back but he isn’t consistent. He has flashes of greatness but not enough. The Titans really need a solid running back.
The Titans have had their moments. They beat the Super Bowl teams from last season but then get blown out by the Colts and Texans. I would have to relive a Dennis Green interview of the past and say the same thing about the Colts and Texans. They aren’t as good as people think they are. Plus the AFC South is a very weak division.
And playoffs? You want to talk about playoffs? Again I have to summon up an old clip from Jim Mora when I think of the Titans’ chances of making the playoffs. No, they aren’t mathematically eliminated but I think they might as well be. They are currently seventh in the wildcard race. They are now three games behind division-leading Houston. The Titans play four of their last five games at home. I have no confidence that they can go 5-0 which is probably what they need to do to make the playoffs. Their remaining opponents are the Jets, Jaguars, Giants, Redskins and Colts. I don’t feel good about any of these games. Having followed frustrating teams before I would say it will go like this: The Titans will beat the Jets and Jaguars but then fall flat against the Giants. That would make their record 7-7 and needing to win their final two games against the Redskins and Colts. By then, even a remote possibility of a 9-7 record would not be enough when it comes down to tiebreakers against teams who are ahead of them in the wildcard standings. All of their losses so far have been to teams in the AFC. That’s not going to help.
I’m done. I’m not putting myself through it. Let’s go Preds!