Because of injuries, the Tennessee Titans entered their tilt with the New England Patriots on Sunday behind the eight ball.
Key players like A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, Derrick Henry, Bud Dupree and many others are all currently unavailable for Tennessee because of various ailments.
That’s not why the Titans lost to the Patriots, though. Tennessee’s 36-13 defeat in Foxborough was the result of a flurry of bad mistakes.
Football coaches constantly preach the importance of “controlling what you can control,” and the Titans did the opposite of that on Sunday.
The Titans’ mistakes were aplenty from the very beginning of the game. They committed three penalties on the first two drives of the game, including a hold on the opening kickoff that forced QB Ryan Tannehill and the offense to start backed up at the 11.
#Titans had to play clean football to win. It’s been really dirty. Too many bad mistakes and turnovers.
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) November 28, 2021
The penalties got better, but that paved the way for a second-straight turnover debacle.
Just one week after giving the ball away to the measly Texans five times, the Titans allowed the Patriots to nab four takeaways.
The third of those takeaways was the result of a tipped Tannehill pass in the end zone on fourth and goal; he had no choice but to throw it. The fourth occurred so late that it didn’t affect the game.
The first two, however, were major, costly mistakes. Both Titans running backs, Dontrell Hilliard and D’Onta Foreman, lost fumbles.
Foreman’s came at the end of a 30-yard run that would have put the Titans close to scoring position with just a six-point deficit around midway through the third quarter. Hilliard coughed up the ball in Patriots territory with 1:51 left in the first half.
The Titans’ mistakes weren’t limited to turnovers and penalties. They also missed tackles, most notably on an embarrassing defensive play that led to Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne scoring on a 41-yard catch and run.
Additionally, LB Dylan Cole dropped an easy interception that could’ve been a pick-six, and Tannehill failed to connect with WR Chester Rogers on what should have been a simple touchdown in the first half.
Mistakes happen in football, and the Patriots certainly made their fair share of them, too.
But the Titans’ mistakes far outnumbered the Patriots’ in this game, and that was the deciding factor.
Needing to play a clean game because of all the injuries they were facing, the Titans played a dirty one, instead. That’s why they’re 8-4 instead of 9-3.
Cover image: David Butler II/USA Today