JOE BIDDLE: Titans need to find their mojo now - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Titans need to find their mojo now

Posted: Updated: Oct 20, 2013 10:25 PM CDT

It was painful to watch.

The Titans 31-17 loss to the 49ers left one to wonder. Is this the same team that got off to a promising 3-1 start, or is it a 3-4 team that bumbled and stumbled around LP Field Sunday?

It was 24-0 through three quarters. The team that professes to have a power running game managed all of 70 ground yards on 13 plays. Quarterback Jake Locker returned from a sprained hip and knee and said he suffered no pain during the game. Locker was the least of the offensive meltdown.

Ten penalties took away 100 yards and this team can least afford that and expect to beat a team that lost in the Super Bowl a year ago.

The Titans punted after making one first down on their opening drive. On the second possession, they reached their 47-yard line before a holding penalty pushed them back 10 yards. They got back to the 48 before a second holding penalty forced a punt.

That scenario played out all too often in the first half. Locker was dumped for an 11-yard loss to stall their first drive of the second quarter. On the next possession, Locker threw an interception.

On their final drive, they failed to get past their own 37 before reaching halftime and were 17-0 in arrears. In effect, those wearing Code Blue T-shirts could have headed home and would not have missed anything. The players are the ones who should have worn the Code Blue shirts. They never displayed much of a pulse.

So will this be a team that plays up to its capabilities, or will they continue to be their own worst enemy?

"We didn't play well and we hurt ourselves,'' Coach Mike Munchak admitted. "A lot of it was self-inflicted. That's the disappointing part, the part with penalties and the fumble for the touchdown and the interception. We have to work to fix that.''

Locker was in complete agreement.

"I didn't think we were struggling to get going. I thought it was us struggling to keep going,'' Locker said. "I thought we moved the ball. We just had some things to end the drives for us – penalties and other stuff, missing throws, dropped passes. … We found ways to stall drives out.''

There were certainly other areas of concern. Punt and kickoff returner Darius Reynaud has proven he is not the man for the job. His judgment on fielding punts is suspect at best. He lost a fumble that was recovered in the end zone for a 49ers touchdown. It has been an ongoing problem, one that has to be addressed before the next game.

Wide receiver Kenny Britt continues to make selfish mistakes, losing his temper and drawing a 15-yard penalty with an official looking right at him. Britt should concentrate on catching passes. He was targeted twice and caught one pass for eight yards. He is more of the problem than the solution.
Munchak and staff have to spare no prisoners as they try to get this team back on track.

"We're going to look at what changes are necessary and make them,'' Munchak said. He didn't rule out that one of the moves would include replacing Reynaud as a kick returner.

Britt needs to find a spot on the inactive list. Veterans who continue to incur penalties need to get their acts together.

"This is a game where we did not play our best, in any phase,'' Munchak said. "Every game up until this point, we definitely felt we could have won the football game.

"With our group, we have to figure out how to go out and fix things, whether it be working how we need to work, who's playing. All those things will be made by us. … All is definitely not lost.''

Munchak's future depends on righting the ship this season. Another year of not making the playoffs will put his job squarely on the line.

The Titans have nine games remaining in the regular season. The AFC South is still wide open. The Colts went into Sunday night's game with Denver with a 4-2 overall record, 3-2 in the division. The Titans are 3-4 overall, 2-3 in division play. Houston is riding a five-game losing streak and the Jaguars are 0-7.

It's there for the taking. The ball is in their court.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at  


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