By Karen Christensen //@ksc47
Cardinals 12 – Titans 7
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!!
Quarterback Marcus Mariota blamed himself for the loss, as he had two interceptions. The first interception occurred when wide receiver Rishard Matthews ran outside and Mariota threw inside then the ball was picked off by defensive back Tramon Williams. The second interception came at the end of the game with the Titans trailing 9-7, but with still enough time to get the win. Mariota was trying to get the ball to tight end Delanie Walker and Mariota didn’t see linebacker Josh Bynes.
From the television viewing audience viewpoint, it was like he was sending the ball right at Bynes. A heartbreaker moment for any Titans fan. No one wants to see their QB make such a big mistake and the disappointment on his face. The realization that the Titans were not going to somehow get another “ugly win” this time just stunk. Period.
Mariota did suffer an injury in the first half of the game when he sprained his left knee. He “took a hit” when he was sliding. Head coach Mike Mularkey did say at the post-game press conference that they had to change their play calling because of the injury. Mariota will be able to practice again on Wednesday. The team is staying in Arizona this week before they travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers on Sunday.
The only Titan touchdown (and the only TD of the game) came during the first half when running back Derrick Henry stiff-armed cornerback Patrick Peterson for a six-yard run with a dive to the pylon. The play was then reviewed, and phew, the TD wasn’t overturned like I thought it would be. But honestly, the rest of the offensive play for the Titans was just not good.
Kicker Ryan Succop missed a 58-yard field goal attempt, but the offense should have tried harder to get closer. Wide receiver Taywan Taylor overran a route and missed a chance for a really big play. Neither running back DeMarco Murray or Henry was really able to beat the Arizona defense for any big gains.
There was a very squirrely (to put in nicely) punt fake play that ended up putting the Cardinals within field goal range. The play calling and coaching was suspect and of course, angry Titans fans are just ripping the coaches this week.
How to fix this team is a mystery. I would like a good back up QB for when Mariota has an injury and possibly a different offensive coordinator. I’d even a sports psychologist or some sort of a motivational speaker at this point. For the love of Pete, who wants a sad QB? You can be the best quarterback in the universe, but if you have slacking wide receivers and an offensive line that is getting you sacked three times in one game, it won’t appear that you are the best QB in the universe. The Titans offense needs some life. The defense has got to be getting weary.
The Titans are no longer at the top of the AFC South as the Jacksonville Jaguars won against the Seattle Seahawks. Tennessee will be facing the San Francisco 49ers that have now won two games in a row with new starting quarterback Jimmy Garrapolo. Hopefully, the Titans will win the battle in their minds first before they try to win the battle on the west coast.
Here is a nice quote from John Wooden a former basketball player and coach at UCLA. “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability”. I hope young Mariota and his offensive teammates come to a realization that they have the ability, they just need to make it happen.
Talk Titans with Karen on Twitter @ksc47