NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Bills 14 Titans 7
The Titans drop a game they clearly should have won. This was among the tougher losses I’ve seen the Titans have from the perspective it’s a game where they beat themselves.
1.) Game-changing penalties. I always say if officials are going to take points off the board they better be sure. The Jack Conklin penalty was ticky-tack but his right arm came around the defenders back for a 1/3 of a second and that’s what they saw. Mariota was right at the line and no matter how that was called it was impossible to overturn.
2.) Hammering Henry. Derrick Henry ran for 78 yards on 20 carries and I thought he was great. I mean it, I thought he was fantastic. He ran hard and punishing and pushed it between the tackles. He has eliminated the bounce and is a much-improved ball carrier.
3.) Drops, drops, drops. The Titans had four drops today, three of them came on 3rd down and yes, they hurt. On the Titans 2nd drive, Adam Humphries dropped a toss on 3rd and 3 that would have moved the chains.
Dion Lewis had 2 drops, including another on 3rd and 3 that would have moved the chains on their opening drive of the second half. The last and most shocking came off the hands of Delanie Walker on 3rd and 6 with 6 minutes to play. He had a man on his back but Mariota put right on his hands and he couldn’t bring it in. He HAS to catch that. Should have been 1st and 10 inside the Bills 30 down 14-7 with less than 6 to play.
4.) Sacks, Sacks, Sacks. That’s right five more, with four of them in the 1st half. Rodger Saffold and Nate Davis each gave up sacks that saw them barely lay a hand on their man. Saffold said it was “fundamentals” but he’s been struggling since preseason so….
5.) Santos, Santos Santos. Oh, and Santos – four missed FG’s. I know everyone wants to cut him and I get it, but they have to have a viable replacement. Is he out there? I don’t know, but that was hard to watch.
6.) Vrabel does it again. For the third straight game, the Titans head coach leaves us scratching our heads. Down 14-7 with six minutes to play, he elects a 53 yard FG from an 0-3 kicker with the Titans in a 3rd and 4 situation. It’s the worst of his three choices there. One, you go for it, They need 7 points, Two, punt it, stop them and get it back at midfield, Three, attempt a long field goal with a struggling kicker and risk field position. Here’s the bottom line, even if the kick is good the Titans still need a TD. Of all the time he elected to “go for it!!!” this would have been the one that made the most sense.
7.) Byard being Byard. Another clutch play as he came up with a game-changing interception. That kid is just a baller and he was fantastic today. He also came up with a big pass break up on the next drive to force a punt.
8.) Oh yeah, Marcus Mariota. I actually thought he played pretty well today. He was very accurate early. When the sack barrage came in the 2nd quarter that took a hit, but he was sharp again in the 2nd half, Drops and penalties killed the Titans offense Sunday, not the QB.
9.) Jacked up Mariota. OK, I think he’s still on the weights and did you see him light up that linebacker on the 1st drive. Holy cow!
10.) The late collapse. The Titans have three losses and in all three losses strong defensive efforts were plagued by them giving up huge running plays to seal their fate. That just can’t keep happening. It was a 7-7 game when they gave up 46 yards to Ian McKenzie.
11.) Bills Mafia. Yep, there were a lot of Buffalo fans there. One said to me “We are taking over Nashville today!!!” I said, “Thanks for your money”… The Titans have done a lot of things to bring fans back into Nissan Stadium but I don’t think it’s going to happen until they think they are a Super Bowl contender and that is not a compliment.
12.) Stepping Up. Harold Landry with seven tackles Sunday and one sack. He has four sacks already this season, that’s giving them the numbers they need.
13.) How to fix it? Folks this is only my opinion. If you can’t win at the line of scrimmage it’s hard to win games consistently. Last year this staff came in and suddenly the quarterback was getting pummeled, that hasn’t stopped and I don’t see why I should expect it to stop for any longer than a game or two the rest of the way. Mariota was sacked 42 times last season and he’s on pace for 70 this year, they need a long look in the mirror and realistically address the situation.
News 2 is your official Tennessee Titans station. Click here for more season-long coverage.