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.
When your team loses this bad, it makes you overthink everything. How in the world could they just play so bad for four quarters and not make any adjustments to turn the tide? I hope the team regroups and reassembles and rises out of the ashes like a phoenix. Or like an NFL team with a will to win like the team that played against the Seattle Seahawks last week.
The tone of the game was set right from the start when quarterback Marcus Mariota threw a pass that was intercepted by Texan safety Andre Hal in the first quarter. Except for the two touchdowns Mariota ran in himself, there just were not many plays by the Titans that were anything to get excited about.
Mariota suffered a hamstring injury during his second touchdown run and did not return to the game. Matt Cassel was in at QB in the second half of the game and this was not a good look at all. Cassel had three turnovers and zero points…the turnovers added 13 points for the Texans. Lawd, have mercy, what a mess.
I kept hoping that the Titans would get a run game going, that running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry would be able to get some touchdowns since Cassel wasn’t exactly throwing the football where he needed to be throwing it, but it wasn’t to be.
The Titans defense had no answer to the Texans’ rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson who had five touchdowns. Embarrassing. The Titans didn’t seem to have an answer to the Houston’s wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins either. Tennessee rookie cornerback Adoree Jackson had a rough time covering Hopkins (maybe the height difference hindered him) and why defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau did not move the more experienced cornerback Logan Ryan to cover Hopkins earlier is questionable. The Titans defense was just absent. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey got his first QB sack this season and safety Kevin Byard got his career first interception, but that was about all folks.
In his Monday press conference, head coach Mike Mularkey revealed that Mariota has a hamstring sprain and may be able to play this Sunday in Miami against the Dolphins. His status is officially “day to day.” In addition to Mariota’s injury, Mularkey said that he doesn’t expect safety Johnathan Cyprien or wide receiver Corey Davis to play this next Sunday due to hamstring injuries.
The Titans are still at the top of the AFC South, 2-2 the same as the Texans and Jags, with the Colts at the bottom. The Titans play the Texans again in December, so the coaching staff has plenty of time to come up with a new plan for that match up.
The Titans are on the road again for their next matchup, traveling to Miami to face the 1-2 Dolphins, who lost to the New Orleans Saints 20-0 last week. So this matchup involves two teams with embarrassing losses that most likely will be trying their best to play hard to save face and get back on top of their game. Per TitansOnline:
We are already on to Miami,” Mularkey said. “We’re trying to get the taste out of our mouths. We have a lot of football left. There’s seven 2-win teams and six 3-win teams and we’re right in the middle of them in this first quarter of the season.”
This fan is ready for all of the Titans players to get healthy and work together as a well oiled machine. This loss was not fun. It hurt to watch the guys out there after allowing a 30-point first half with no adjustments and no answers to the Texans’ pounding. For the December 3 re-match the coaches better have a plan! The Dolphins are up next so time for a total turn around by all three parts of this Titans organization.
Want to talk Titans with Karen? Find her on Twitter @ksc47