NASHVILLE, Tenn. ⏤ Murphy’s Law was in full effect at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, as everything that could’ve gone wrong did indeed go wrong for the Tennessee Titans in their season-opening, 38-13 blowout loss to Arizona.
Luckily, the team has 16 games left.
Unluckily, though, they won’t win many of them if some of the issues that plagued them on Sunday don’t get fixed.
The Titans’ disastrous Week One performance wasn’t some kind of sign that the team’s 2021 season is doomed. It was, however, an indication that the team has a lot of problems that need to quickly be fixed.
“That definitely wasn’t us, but I don’t think you panic,” RB Derrick Henry said. “I think you come back in tomorrow and make the corrections.”
ALL THAT WENT WRONG
Vrabel: You shouldn’t have a shot to win when you play like we did. pic.twitter.com/RH71vdUKrc
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) September 12, 2021
It would appear there’s a lot to correct, based on Sunday’s performance.
Virtually nothing the Titans tried against Arizona worked. The game was an unmitigated disaster, for them, from start to finish.
Here’s a small sampling of all that went wrong…
- Henry rushed for just eight yards in the first half.
- WR Julio Jones did more to harm the Titans than help them, dropping three passes and costing the team 15 yards with a dumb after-the-play penalty in the first quarter.
- At least five different Titans players, most notably safety Amani Hooker, left the game at various points due to injuries or other ailments.
- OLB Chandler Jones sacked QB Ryan Tannehill five times, twice forcing him to fumble.
“You play like that, there should be no shot,” head coach Mike Vrabel said. “We shouldn’t have to look long and hard to why we lost the game.”
Another indication of how bad things got is the amount of booing that the game’s announced crowd of 67,216 fans managed before the majority left during the third quarter.
When public address announcer Matt Rogers announced that LT Taylor Lewan was re-entering the game after departing earlier because of cramping, there were boos.
When the Titans ran to the locker room at halftime with an 18 point deficit, there were boos.
Even Henry, Titans fans’ pride and joy, got booed at one point.
“You put a bad performance out there, you’re going to get boos,” safety Kevin Byard said.
WHAT CAUSED THIS?
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) September 12, 2021
Perhaps the most perplexing part about the Titans’ debacle is that it’s difficult to put a finger on what caused it.
Was it the fact that the starting offense practiced together very little during Training Camp and the preseason? Was it because new offensive coordinator Todd Downing hasn’t yet gotten a good feel for how to work with his personnel? Was there an attitude problem? Was the gameplan bad? Were the players unprepared because of poor coaching during the week?
Truth is, all of those factors probably played a role in the Titans’ pathetic showing against Arizona, and that’s why the loss is concerning.
Even though the Titans do have a lot of time to right the ship⏤17 weeks, to be exact⏤a high volume of significant problems manifested on Sunday, and all of them will need to be corrected.
They’ll need to be corrected quickly, too, as things won’t get any easier for the Titans in Week Two. They’re set to travel to Seattle to face a Seahawks team that pushed the Colts around on Sunday, winning 28-16.
While panicking about the Titans would be extraordinarily premature at this point, it’s undebatable that they were highly problematic in their debut showing.
How well, or poorly, they address those problems in the near future will determine the fate of their season.
“They give us 17 games. We’re going to call this our mulligan,” OG Rodger Saffold said.
Cover image: George Walker IV/The Tennessean