Titans unable to sustain initial fire, fall short in week 2

A game that started with some pre-game flames fizzled out when the clock hit zero.

And no, this isn’t a BarnBurner joke.

In a very interesting start to the Titans’ home opener, a fireworks display set up for the pre game show set fire to part of the field before the game even got going. Not necessarily what we were expecting, but it sure did get everyone’s blood pumping before the first snap.

Unfortunately for Titans fans, the game went about as well as the pre-game show — with a disappointing loss to the Colts in a game that the home team was projected to win. Coming off a surprising win against the Browns last week, hopes were high that the Titans could carry their momentum into today’s game and start the season 2-0. The Titans had their chances down the stretch, thanks to a pair of missed PAT’s by Colts’ kicker Adam Vinatieri.

However, due to a couple miscues and some less than stellar play, Tennessee ended up going down with a final score of 19-17.

While he continues to have an interception total of 0 for the season, Mariota struggled to get anything going in this game, finishing with only 154 passing yards on 19 completed passes of a total 28. He did add 32 yards on the ground, but overall had a disappointing day. While it is not entirely his fault — the offensive line looked less than spectacular — he made some bad decisions that eventually led the team to fall behind on the offensive front and they weren’t able to recover in the 4th quarter to retake the lead and walk away with the win.

Derrick Henry continued to show that he is the workhorse that everyone hoped he would become, gaining 81 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries while also adding 12 yards on 2 receptions. Even with some sub-standard offensive line play, Henry was able to find the gaps in the defense and run downhill. If the O-line can get things together, we can expect to see Henry have much bigger performances as we move forward in the season.

On the receiving side, things looked very poor — which can be linked to Mariota’s mediocre showing for the day. With only a total of 154 yards to go around, none of the individual receivers looked all that impressive. The biggest stand out was tight end Delanie Walker, who caught 4 balls for 39 yards. Pretty lack luster overall, but the biggest surprise, and shock really, is that Adam Humphries only caugh 2 balls for -1 yards. After a slow start in week one, we were expecting a little more out of Humphries — who has struggled to gain traction this year. With Walker back, Humphries will see less targets than he would if Delanie was out. Regardless, his lack of involvement up to this point is a little concerning. Hopefully in the coming weeks he and Mariota can start to mesh and get some chemistry going on the field.

One awesome story on the receiving side of the ball is the 1 yard touchdown pass that was caught by offensive lineman David Quessenberry. Quessenberry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma back in 2014 and completed his treatment in 2017. After spending 2018 on the Titans’ practice squad, he was called up to the 53 man roster this year and caught Mariota’s lone TD pass in the game. I love seeing stories like this and it just goes to show how dedicated these players are that they can come back from something as intense as a terrible disease and still play at the highest level. It really gives you something to think about when you feel you’re too sick to go into work or are feeling too lazy to go to the gym.

Lastly, and most troubling, were the miscues on the defensive side of the ball. Overall, the defense looked alright but there were several bonehead plays including a blatant pass interference on the 5 yard line that set up the Ebron touchdown that really hurt the teams’ chances of winning this week. They looked good with one interception and a fumble recovery, but there needs to be smarter decisions being made from the defense if they are going to have a decent shot of winning games in the future.

One thing to mention is that at halftime the Titans honored two legends of the game by retiring the late Steve McNair’s #9, and Eddie Georges’ #27. I mentioned these two in a previous article and how they were to be honored during the Titans’ season opener. It’s great to see an organization pay tribute to those who enabled them to get to where they are today.

The Titans go to Jacksonville on a short week to play Thursday night against the Jaguars. The Jaguars lost by 1 to the Texans today and will be looking to turn things around on their home turf. I expect this to be a very low scoring game that will rely heavily on both teams defenses to keep this game even. If the Titans are going to win, they will need to quickly correct the errors on defense and hope that the offensive line and Mariota can string some solid series together to get some points on the board. 

— Andrew Lyons

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