Depleted Titans Find New Way To Lose


The Titans found a new way to lose in Jacksonville Thursday night.

In the movie Jurassic Park Jeff Goldblum’s character explained that the dinosaurs would find a way to procreate although all were engineered to be female. His reasoning was “Life finds a way”.

In the real life drama that is the NFL Tennessee Titans when it comes to losing a game, they will “find a way” to make sure they lose it. This one was particularly hard to swallow as they again lost a fourth quarter lead and lost to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.

Granted, the Titans went to Jacksonville on one day of practice with the quick turnaround from a Sunday to Thursday Night game. They also went with a receiving corp that has been decimated. No Kendall Wright. No Justin Hunter. There was Dorial Green-Beckham and Harry Douglas. I don’t even know who the others were. Tre McBride and some other guy? Not what you want going into College game, much less an NFL game.

This time it wasn’t turnovers that caused the loss. Well, Dough Supernaw’s fumble after the Jaguars grabbed the lead with 5:00 minutes left didn’t help matters. It wasn’t giving up the big play on defense. It wasn’t bone headed penalties that extend winning drives. No, it was special teams that let the Titans down. At least that was new.

The Titans were on the verge of a much needed win. Holding on to a precarious 4 point lead at 13-9 the Titans had stopped the Jaguars and forced a punt. The Titans needed two first downs to close out the game. At least it would flip the field even if they would have to punt.

Instead of first downs the Titans went the predictable 3 and out. A Marcus Mariota pass to Delanie Walker left the Titans less than a yard away. The Titans were deep in their own territory. They had to punt. You would like to think they would go for it, but in all honesty they were too deep in their own territory. They should have had three plays planned to get 10 yards late in the game. It is something that haunts coaches Derek Mason and Butch Jones as well in the State of Tennessee. 10 yards. That’s all you need.

Enter steady punter Brett Kern. Surely he will punt the Jaguars back on their side of the field and the Titans smothering defense would finish the hapless Jags. That is how it was drawn up.

Not so fast. Kern hit a high school line drive punt and Rashad Greene caught the ball low and on a dead sprint. There was not a Titan within 15 yards of him when he began the return. A few seconds later he was tackled at the 5 yard line. The entire Titans fan base knew what was coming next. It was inevitable.

After two great goal line stands earlier in the game that kept the anemic Tennessee offense in the game, the Jags decided to throw a quick pass to tight end Julius Thomas. It of course resulted in a touchdown and a lead of 16-13. The good part for the Titans was that the Jags scored so quickly. Mariota had plenty of time.

The next few minutes were a microcosm of the season for the Titans. Maybe even “seasons”. After getting ball at the twenty after the kick off, Mariota stepped up in the pocket and hit tight end Doug Supernaw. Supernaw ran over a Jaguar defender to get the first down, but was separated from the football. Jags ball at the Tennessee 30. Same old same old.

More from Marcus Mariota

The Titans had one more opportunity to win. After holding Jacksonville to their fourth field goal, the Titan got the ball back with just 2:11 left needing 80 yards and a touchdown. In the NFL that is done many times. The Titans could not get it done. They couldn’t even get lined up in the hurry up. Again they were running with second and third string receivers. DGB looked lost and really out of shape and he couldn’t get back to the line of scrimmage.

Too much time elapsed in trying to just get lined up. Mariota was using the middle of the field which did not stop the clock. The Titans did move into Jags territory with five seconds left. Would Mariota pull this one out? Maybe if he was at Oregon. A Titans qb would get sacked. That is what happened of course. Game over.

The Titans are the worst team in the worst division of football. It is a fact. The defense is playing well enough to win. The offense has no line and no playmakers. They are hamstrung. But this group did play hard to the finish collectively. They did not give up. If you can take any positives out of this game it would be just that. This team has not quit. That is not who they are.