By JASON MARTIN (@JMartZone – October 13, 2019)
No formalities, that was a horror show a few weeks before Halloween even gets here. This is rock bottom for the Titans offense, who have scored exactly seven total points over the past eight quarters… and were shut out in the altitude against the Broncos on Sunday. Here are the Big 6 Takeaways from a horrible, no good, really bad afternoon for the Tennessee Titans…OFFENSE.
Is it over? We don’t know. What we know is that with no injuries of which we’ve been made aware, Marcus Mariota was the butt side of putrid on Sunday against the Broncos defense. And, finally, after a second interception, Mike Vrabel pulled him for Ryan Tannehill. This isn’t a fix all. The truth is the offense just isn’t very good, but more than anything, some kind of change was needed.
Before being yanked, Mariota was 7/18 for 63 yards, no touchdowns and his first two interceptions of the season. He was also sacked three times and seemed to lack all ability to be an NFL caliber quarterback. He wasn’t just mediocre or “not good,” he was terrible. It couldn’t get worse, and in a game that was 13-0, the Titans tried something new.
Nobody believes Tannehill will set the world on fire, even those in the national media that patted themselves on the back for predicting he would start WEEK ONE. He didn’t. But Vrabel’s mistake may have been keeping Mariota in the game to throw that second pick, because he could have gone to 17 when it was 6-0 in the second half.
He’s not the answer, but no one believed him to be. The thing is, he’s not much different than what you had, but he at least IS a different human being on the field. Marcus has no confidence anymore and he’s simply not what he once was, or if he is, what he “was” peaked in college. He’s not an NFL quarterback anyone should want at this point.
Tannehill wasn’t much better, although he had a bit more pocket presence, but he was 13/16 throwing the ball. Mariota couldn’t complete anything. It didn’t put anything on the scoreboard, but at the very least it was fresh. He was sacked four times. Fangio’s defense feasted on…
ANOTHER HORRIFIC OFFENSIVE LINE PERFORMANCE
They can’t block anybody, they’re piecemeal, and as a result, the Titans couldn’t pass it and Derrick Henry couldn’t run it. It’s a significant problem and the OL looks just as bad, if not worse than a season ago. Thoughts that Roger Saffold might bolster the group are dissipating more by the week, even if he’s great in the locker room.
Seven sacks where the blame all goes to the offensive line is rare, and it’s not fair here, but enough of it is on them, but most of all, there were Denver jerseys in the Titans backfield all afternoon long just crushing Henry at the mesh point. This is untenable to say the least, and it’s making an already anemic offense look like its also in a coma.
Some of this falls on multiple sources, but coach Keith Carter’s name might get some media mentions in the Music City this week, and that’s not a good thing in this instance.
Not at all.
THAT DEFENSE THO
It’s good. Imagine how bad your offense has to be in order to be 2-4 on a team that has given up the following point totals in 2019:
13, 19, 20, 10, 14, 16.
That’s 92 total points surrendered in six games, or an average of 15.33 per contest.
On Sunday, while they didn’t get to Flacco as much as you’d hope to see a pass rush go after a statue, at least former Bronco Wesley Woodyard got home once on Joe. Kevin Byard picked Flacco off in the second half, after which the Titans offense immediately gave the ball back on a three and out. The linebackers in this game… Evans, Landry, Woodyard – just those three guys alone combined for 23 tackles.
You can’t ask a defense to do much more than this. Yes, the rush could be better, and you could force more turnovers, but when you’re holding NFL offenses to less than 16 points a game, you should at LEAST be 4-2. This is as damning as it gets relative to the other side of the football in Nashville.
Yep, the 2-4 Titans are now clearly the worst team in an AFC South that outside of Deshaun Watson, boasts Gardner Minshew and Jacoby Brissett as starting quarterback. What makes it worse is that almost all of this is on the offense, because the Titans defense has been outstanding for much of the season, even guys we were concerned about last year have balled out.
The AFC South is a mediocre division, but the Titans are barely mediocre, and they’re finding inventive and even more boring ways to lose. This game on Sunday was hardly watchable, featuring two teams that couldn’t convert on third down, where the two defenses just pinned their ears back and went full bull at the opposition.
There’s simply no excuse for the Titans to have lost to the four teams they’ve lost to this season, and to be shut out by a one-win Broncos team, even with a good defense in Denver, is the kind of thing that leads to people losing jobs.
LOOKING AT WHAT’S TO COME
2-4 means there are still 10 games to play. You’re not 0-6, but it’s going to take some magic that nobody sees right now in order to see Tennessee playing MORE than 16 total games this year. Music City is not Hogwarts and Mike Vrabel is not Severus Snape. Here’s what’s left, actually let’s take it slower than that. Here are the next four weeks for the Titans:
Chargers in Nashville, Bucs in Nashville, at Carolina, and then in comes Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
So, that’s probably 2-2 at best, but sounds more like 1-3, so 3-7 with six to play.
Here’s what I’m telling you without even looking at the last six games. It’s a wrap. This team isn’t good enough to pull this together offensively, even if the defense keeps up this level of play against more powerful offenses later this season. Keep in mind, Tennessee has to see Watson twice, Mahomes, maybe Brees, and Phillip Rivers next week.
What have we seen that makes us think this is tenable as it relates to the playoffs, especially with that loss to Buffalo that likely costs you a Wildcard slot?
Answer: Absolutely nothing.