By Karen Christensen //@ksc47
Titans 12 – Browns 9 (OT)
It was not a fun game to watch and certainly not a game any NFL fan would want to have extended into overtime. Neither the Cleveland Browns or the Tennessee Titans were able to score a touchdown; it was a boring battle of the field goals.
This seems to be reminiscent of last week’s Titans game against the Indianapolis Colts. At least Tennesee came alive during the fourth quarter and scored 3 touchdowns for that game. But, there were no great scoring drives to end this week’s game, just another field goal in OT to give the Titans the victory.
Kicker Ryan Succop aka “Mr. Automatic“ had four field goals this game, clinching the win in OT with a 47 yard kick. He did have one missed attempt in the fourth quarter from 53 yards out. Succop did extend his NFL-for-consecutive-made-field-goals within 50 yards, his record is now 55.
The other bright star for the Titans was safety Kevin Byard with three, count ‘em, three interceptions off of two different Browns’ quarterbacks. Byard picked off rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second and third quarters and QB Cody Kessler in the fourth.
The first interception helped the Titans to remain in the lead at halftime, 6-3. Sadly, the second and third picks were not capitalized on by the Titans. They weren’t able to score points when they had the opportunity. It was frustrating to watch, especially when the Titans were on the one yard line after the first pick and they could not get a touchdown.
Running back DeMarco Murray was handed the ball twice, running back Derrick Henry once, and quarterback Marcus Mariota threw towards tight end Delanie Walker, but it was an awful, uncatchable throw.
A quote from local sports writer Cory Curtis made me feel a bit more grounded in regards to the lack of touchdowns:
“6 teams failed to score a TD today in the NFL!!!
…..Titans, Browns, Colts, Cards, Broncos and Panthers. Only 1 of them won.”
During a post-practice news conference, head coach Mike Mularkey appeared to be a bit touchy when asked about play calling. The question was about the Titans frequent use of “shovel passes” and Mularkey snapped a bit. He did admit that he was “disappointed” offensively (“we didn’t make many plays”) and that the entire Titans organization would be reviewing “what we are doing wrong” and that it “starts with coaching.”
Mariota spoke of “too many negative plays” when asked about the Browns game. Clearly he is still not 100% and not as mobile as he needs to be. But, you could be the best QB in the universe and it won’t matter if your receivers are not where they are supposed to be and dropping perfectly catchable balls. That means you Eric Decker, Derrick Henry and tight end Jonnu Smith.
The bye week is upon us, and the Titans are limping into it. Delanie Walker has a bone bruise to his right ankle and is wearing a walking boot. DeMarco Murray has a shoulder injury and still recovering from a hamstring injury. Left guard Quinton Spain has turf toe. Marcus Mariota is nursing a hamstring injury.
However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Wide receiver Corey Davis and safety Johnathan Cyprien are expected to return to practice and to play on November 5 in Nashville against the Baltimore Ravens. A rejuvenated team with healthy players is definitely wanted after this lackluster season.
One last high note for the Titans: the Tennessee Titans are at the top of the AFC South because they won two games in a row. 4-3 is sounding mighty fine with nine more games on the horizon.
Talk Titans with Karen on Twitter // @ksc47