Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
As they fell to 2-9, the Tennessee Titans showed that the grind of losing was wearing on them.
The Titans were barely competitive against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 43-24 loss, trailing by double digits most of the day, briefly getting as close as 20-14 in the second quarter before Philly regained its comfortable margin.
The Titans were deficient in a number of ways in losing their fifth game in a row, and what appears to be most disturbing is that many of the same issues continue to crop up week after week and rarely seem to stay fixed.
Tennessee's defense was atrocious on Sunday, missing numerous tackles, which helped the Eagles not only roll up 43 points and post 462 total yards, but allowed Chip Kelly's fast-break gimmicky offense to win time of possession, which is usually unheard of. The Eagles controlled the football for more than 33 minutes, thanks the Titans many issues.
Defensively, missed tackles and being out of their gaps again was a problem.
"It's a repeat of every week it seems. It comes down to a lot of missed tackles, stopping the catch, making the tackle after the catch, things like that were killing us today. They were able to get a lot of YAC (yards after catch) today," Titans defensive end Jurrell Casey said.
Offensively, Zach Mettenberger continues to offer some hope for the future, throwing for 345 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But other than tight end Delanie Walker, who returned from a concussion sustained two weeks ago, to catch five passes for 155 yards, the rookie QB from LSU had little help.
He was sacked five times for the second time in four starts, and while the rookie admitted he needs to get the ball out faster, the offensive line was terrible for much of the day.
The running game, which should be a young quarterback's best friend, was non-existent for the second straight game, contributing only 52 yards against the Eagles, after managing 49 Monday night against the Steelers.
"At this point to me, records don't matter. If I listen to the record, I'm going to be in a pretty bad mood. I'm trying to focus on what we can do to improve and get better as a team and individuals. What else do you want to do? You just have to keep going. There are five games left," said rookie left tackle Taylor Lewan, who is perhaps the only offensive lineman playing better than average football right now.
As Lewan said, the Titans have five games left - with four of those looking somewhat winnable - beginning this week against the Texans, who are expected to trot Ryan Fitzpatrick back out at quarterback after losing Ryan Mallett to a torn pectoral muscle.
But for a team that has fallen into the rut of losing, getting out of that mindset appears much easier said than done.