The Titans won their home opener without their top three defensive tackles and their starting quarterback. They also had help from some unexpected plays.
QB Marcus Mariota was out with an elbow injury from last week’s game against the Dolphins. He has not been able to grip and throw the ball well since he suffered a late hit during that game. Other injuries are also plaguing the Titans.
The best word to summarize the Titans entire pre-season is forgettable. The games were low scoring, boring to watch and all losses. The loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-6 was really something that any Tennessee fan would want to forget.
Our much-loved quarterback Marcus Mariota had one stinker of a run. Mariota only played during the first half, but he only had five completions for 43 yards and one interception. Hopefully, we won’t see this type of play during the regular season.
The Tennessee Titans have been busy in free agency.
Most notably, running back DeMarco Murray was the first of eight Titans to be released. Murray was still considered the Titans #1 RB in 2017 although he had shoulder, foot, and knee injuries. He missed the last regular season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Veteran quarterback Matt Cassel was released on March 9th. He started just one game for the Titans last year, which ended up being a loss to the Miami Dolphins. Although the Titans have contracts with quarterbacks Alex Tanney and Tyler Ferguson, it was rumored that the team was interested in another veteran QB Chad Henne, who ended up signing with the Kansas City Chiefs.
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:
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.”
There’s a QB who wears red and gold looking for a new home next season and based on Blake Bortles play yesterday, he may have his agent taking calls from Dave Caldwell.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have everything a veteran Quarterback could want–no state tax, cheap cost of living, a great defense, an owner, General Manager and Vice President of Player Personnel among the best, plus a stable of talent on offense. Not to mention good coaches.
That loss wasn’t all on Bortles. The run game, which has been pretty good all season, was stymied, something that was a concern going into Nashville. Cam Robinson‘s absence also caused Bortles to face a lot of pressure and when that occurs, good things don’t happen. Not to mention, while the backup receivers have done a solid job after the top three went down, the Jaguars are going to need Marquise Lee to return. There were too many drops yesterday, including one in the end zone.
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.