Hopes were high for the Tennessee Titans. They were relishing the “underdog” role against the number one seed New England Patriots and were confident after getting an upset victory last week against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Titans players were quoted in the press saying “it’s our time”. They were confident in their quarterback, Marcus Mariota, insinuating that the Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady might be past his prime and due for a fall from the NFL throne.
At the beginning of the game, it looked like the Titans had a good chance to beat the Patriots; the Titans were first to score late in the first quarter when Mariota threw a 15-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Corey Davis for a touchdown. It was Davis’ first NFL touchdown, a one-handed catch that got the Titans on the board and it felt like a breakthrough for the Titans first-round draft pick. Finally, during a playoff game, Davis made a big play. The glee didn’t last for long as the Patriots were able to score on their next possession and even the score.
The first half of the game belonged to the Kansas City Chiefs. They scored on a touchdown by Chiefs’ running back Kareem Hunt, who ran the ball in from the one-yard line. They scored another TD when tight end Travis Kelce caught a 14-yard pass from quarterback Alex Smith. Not a good start for the Tennessee Titans.
Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariota was leading a good drive during the second quarter until he threw an interception to cornerback Marcus Peters; Titans head coach Mike Mularkey later stated that it was Titan wide receiver Corey Davis’ fault as Davis didn’t run his route correctly. The Titans have had this “miscommunication” and “execution” problem throughout this season. It has frustrated the coaches and the fans and has lead to much speculation about the security of the coaching positions in Tennessee.
Throughout the past two weeks, there has been a lot of rumblings in the press and on social media about head coach Mike Mularkey’s job security. The Tennessee Titans lost three games in a row. Most of the wins this year have been determined to be “ugly wins” and most of the games have been low scoring or “boring”.
When the press asked Mularkey if he felt that he was close to losing his job if he didn’t make the playoffs, he responded: “I haven’t had support to say I was (secure). I just assumed the worst”. The press conference video of this exchange was heartbreaking, Mularkey was quite emotional when questioned about his job security. Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk has addressed the situation with this statement:
Division rivals Jacksonville Jaguars were not gonna make it easy for the Tennessee Titans. The Jags were already in the playoffs, but they still played their first line players and were going all out against the Titans at freezing Nissan Stadium in Nashville on the last day of 2017. The Titans have lost three games in a row and this was their last chance to survive and get into the playoffs. They succeeded and made it in. It was another “ugly” win for Tennessee. It was another low scoring, not the most exciting game. The end result is that the Titans are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008 is beyond exciting.
Today’s playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs will be Mike Mularkey’s first playoff game as head coach. This AFC wildcard game will be played at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs (10-6) have three main weapons in the form of tight end Travis Kelce, running back Kareem Hunt and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs also will have home field advantage and a veteran quarterback in Alex Smith, who will be well rested coming into this game. The Chiefs had rookie quarterback PatrickMahomes II in as their starter last week.
Coach Mularkey had this to say about playing at Arrowhead: “Tough place to play. Good football team. We played them there last year in another close game, so we’re not as familiar playing them this year.”
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.
What was supposed to be a beautiful beginning of a trip out west ended up an offensive nightmare. The Titans defense was playing full force. They had eight sacks this game and they kept the Cardinals from scoring touchdowns. However, the Tennessee offense was just plain awful. They are not working together. There is no mojo brewing, no fantastic plays, and certainly no smashmouth football going on. Blah!!
After being defeated 57-14 and humiliated by the Houston Texans in October, there was some talk about this game being a rematch or a revenge game. I would say it was not an even rematch.
The Texans had lost two of their brightest stars, rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson and defensive end JJ Watt to injuries. I would say it wasn’t even a revenge game. Just another divisional game that the Tennessee Titans had to win to keep hope alive to finally get into the playoffs. Something that the team hasn’t done since 2008. The Titans keep plodding along and getting unspectacular wins, but by gummies, they are getting wins.
Yep, it was another slow starting, low scoring game for the Tennessee Titans. In the first half, Tennessee was only scoring by field goals. Kicker Ryan Succop did all the scoring. First, with a 29-yard kick and then a 45-yard kick for the Titan’s only scores.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw two interceptions in the first half of the game. That created flashbacks to the horror that was last week’s Thursday Night Football game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. A 40-17 loss where Mariota had four interceptions. The second interception during this game happened when wide receiver Taywan Taylor fell down, and the ball went sailing into Indianapolis defender Nate Hariston’s arms.
It came down to the last minute of the game, but the Tennessee Titans eked out another win at home. Running back DeMarco Murray had three touchdowns this game. He had a seven yard TD catch from quarterback Marcus Mariota with only 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter. That sealed the victory for Tennessee.
Murray showed his pro form by keeping his knees off the ground and stretching to reach into the end zone and get that touchdown. It was a thing of beauty. Murray also scored on the Titan’s opening possession. It was the first TD on an opening drive for the team since Week 1 against the Raiders and the fifth game that the Titans were able to score on the first drive. This fan is very grateful that Murray had a fantastic game.