By Karen Christensen //@ksc47
49ers 25 – Titans 23
Being on the road has not been kind to the Tennessee Titans. When the team left Nashville two weeks ago, they were at the top of the AFC South. After a loss to the Arizona Cardinals last week and to the San Francisco 49ers this week, the Titans are now second behind the Jacksonville Jaguars who have two consecutive wins.
It stings, it hurts. What hurts even more, is that Arizona and San Francisco have been having rough seasons with tons of injuries. They were considered teams that should be “easy to beat”. The Titans are making these easy to beat teams look good, unfortunately.
When your playoff hopes start to dwindle there has to be someone to blame. That blame is getting put on head coach Mike Mularkey and offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie. There is a lot of armchair coaching going on; the frustration level is high. Why is this team that has so much talent not winning against these banged up teams? The better question may be why do fans get so emotional over their team’s errors and not look at the total picture?
Quarterback Marcus Mariota did have a good game statistically. According to TitansOnline.com Mariota completed 23 out of 33 passes for 241 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 110.8 in Sunday’s loss to the 49ers. Mariota shouldered all the blame for last weeks loss against the Cardinals and had continually stated, “I need to get better”. He did that this week. No interceptions!
The scoring drive before the end of the first half was fabulous. The Titans scored after a 6 play, 79-yard drive, with Mariota making beautiful throws to wide receivers Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker and then a short throw to tight end Delanie Walker for the touchdown, making the score 49ers 16 – Titans 10 with 29 seconds left in the half. More of this type of playing, please.
The game would have been more in favor of the Titans if tight end Delanie Walker hadn’t dropped a touchdown pass and fumbled the ball in the first half. Titan defensive end Erik Walden did catch an interception over SF wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. It was very clear to see that Walden had the ball, but the NFL referees did not see it that way. Mularkey did challenge the play, but the referees did not change their call and the Titans lost a timeout.
As Mularkey repeatedly states: “we needed to execute plays.” True, but the fans are screaming that the coaches are calling too many conservative plays and running a “dinosaur offense”. This fan worries that Super Mariota and running back Derrick Henry will want to seek greener pastures in the near future if we don’t get to see them play to their full potential soon.
There are rumors that the Titans’ players are wanting Marcus Mariota to call the plays instead of Robiskie. More pressure on the QB, not the best idea for every situation.
The game ended up in heartbreaking fashion for Titan fans. The 49ers were able to score with only 1:07 left. The Tennessee defense couldn’t stop San Francisco from moving down the field quickly. The Titans had scored an earlier field goal to make it Titans 23 – 49ers 22. With two seconds to go, 49ers kicker Robbie Gould hit a field goal from 45 yards out.
The Titans need to win the next two games in order to get a wild-card game. Luckily, both games are home games. The first against the 10-4 Los Angeles Rams., the second against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are also 10-4. Home field advantage might be that little extra thing that Tennessee needs to get a win against both teams.
Last Christmas Eve was a disaster for the Titans with a loss to the Jags and a fractured leg for Mariota. This Christmas Eve a win against the Rams and a loss for the Jaguars who are playing the 49ers this Sunday would be one of the best gifts ever. The Titans beat the Jags 37-16 in September, so we know this Titans team is capable of beating them.
The Titans have not made the playoffs since 2008.
Talk Titans with Karen on Twitter @ksc47