The Tennessee Titans lost to the previously winless New York Jets on Sunday.
Let me repeat that, in case you didn’t get the message the first time.
The Tennessee Titans lost to the previously winless New York Jets on Sunday, and there’s no excuse for it.
Sure, the Titans didn’t have their top two receiving options, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. They also played without many other injured players, most notably OLB Bud Dupree.
But the Titans’ loss to the Jets was not the result of injuries. It wasn’t the result of unlucky breaks or any other factor that could be seen as having victimized the Titans.
Tennessee lost to the Jets because they failed to take advantage of key opportunities throughout the game, especially in the first half.
Two of the #Titans‘ first four games have been abject disasters. Squarely on the shoulders of Mike Vrabel.
I don’t want to hear a single player talking during the week about how “no one believes in us” or “we’ve gotta rise above the adversity.”
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) October 3, 2021
New York’s first two offensive drives of the game ended in punts, and their third ended with QB Zach Wilson throwing an interception. That gave the Titans three early opportunities to pounce on the Jets and build a big, early lead.
What did the Titans do with those opportunities? They settled for field goals on all three drives.
Kicking a field goal on that first drive was excusable, since the Titans were lucky to be in field-goal range in the first place after a 27-yard screen to RB Jeremy McNichols bailed them out on third-and-21.
The other two drives, however, were textbook missed opportunities. Two red-zone trips. Two field goals. Six points instead of 14.
The Titans’ 9-0 lead following their first three offensive drives of the game should have been 17-0. It wasn’t, though, and the Jets took full advantage.
Tennessee certainly had its share of failures in the third and fourth quarters, too. The offense scored on just two of its seven second-half possessions, and the defense repeatedly gave up massive, chunk gains to the Jets in the passing game.
In overtime, the Titans managed the clock poorly and lost five yards on a careless, brutal delay of game penalty.
Though they would have tied the game had Randy Bullock converted a 49-yard field-goal attempt with 19 seconds left, the Titans were never close to winning.
If the Titans were down and out from start to finish and never got any real opportunities against New York, perhaps the argument could be fairly made that injuries and tough breaks outdid them.
That’s not what happened, though.
The Titans had plenty of opportunities, and they didn’t take advantage of them.
As a result, they lost to one of the NFL’s worst teams.
Cover image: George Walker IV/The Tennessean