An undermanned Titans team could not stay out of their own way as they dropped their second straight game and dropped to 3rd in the AFC standings.
Turnovers: Another week, another avalanche of turnovers. Three fumbles, one from each running back, and a Tannehill interception made it impossible to mount a legitimate threat to the Patriots. For the second week in a row, a good offensive game plan was wasted due to lack of ball security.
Special Teams: Penalties hurt the Titans in the return game and Randy Bullock missed 4 points worth of kicks, which would have been incredibly valuable later in the game. Bullock had been very good for the Titans prior to last week, so I’m hoping this isn’t a trend, but rather a blip.
Sanity: Things are rarely good on social media for the Titans, and Sunday’s loss was no different. The blame placed on Ryan Tannehill is absurd. Did he have a phenomenal game? Absolutely not. However, if you want to point fingers, maybe do it at Hilliard and Foreman who both fumbled on drives that likely end in points.
Blame Randy for missing two kicks. Blame Todd Downing for putting Tannehill in an awful situation in the redzone. Blame MyCole Pruitt for dropping a TD on that drive. Blame injuries for giving Tannehill a group of weapons that is without a doubt the worst group in the league.
You want to be mad about the interception? Don’t. No one was open and the alternative is throwing it away. Some quick math for you all, if Tannehill throws the ball away, there is a 0% chance they score. If he throws it to a receiver to try and score, they at least have a shot. Stop complaining about things that aren’t issues. Ryan has played well this season, maybe not up to the standard of 2019 and 2020, but well, especially given his supporting cast.
Outside of a half in Buffalo and against Houston, he hasn’t played as poorly as the masses would like you to believe. Room for improvement? Always, but you could win against the Patriots on Sunday with how he played had the RBs and special teams not crapped themselves.
He’s not a transcendent talent. He’s never going to elevate the group around him, and to be honest, there aren’t many QBs in the league that can. So stop saying you want his replacement drafted in 2022, which is one of the worst QB classes in recent memory. If/when the Titans get healthy again, Tannehill will be able to operate the offense at the level we’ve grown accustomed to.
Dreams of health: The bye week is here and that means a week where the team can focus on resting and getting ready for Jacksonville. Some of the players missing this week may be able to return against Jacksonville, a game that should serve as a get-right matchup. This has been the Titans number one issue all year, as we all know. If they get healthy, I like their chances against anyone in the playoffs. If they don’t, it will be tough sailing with zero margin for error.
The backup RBs: It looks like the Titans have their Smash and Dash 2.0 while Henry is out. Dontrell Hilliard and D’Onta Foreman both rushed over the century mark on Sunday. The problem is, both had fumbles as well. Ball security is paramount and I can guarantee that will be a point of emphasis in practice. In my opinion, without those two fumbles, the Titans win in Foxborough.
The heat in the race for the #1 seed: Going into today, the Titans had a one game lead on everyone in the AFC for the 1 seed. Now they sit 3rd in the conference behind Baltimore and the Patriots, who now own the head-to-head tiebreaker. Both the Ravens and the Pats have very tough schedules coming up, so I find it hard to believe they’d both win out, so the door is still open for the Titans to take advantage. A 4-1 rest of season run would likely get the Titans back on top, but that means they need to get healthy and beat a hot team in the 49ers.