Titans shut out for 1st time since relocating to Tennessee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — First-year head coach Mike Vrabel knows exactly what the Titans didn’t do in being shut out on its own field for the first time since this franchise moved to Tennessee way back in 1997.
In a word, everything.
Marcus Mariota was sacked a career-worst 11 times, and the Titans managed just 106 yards total offense in being routed Sunday by the Baltimore Ravens in a game that felt much more lopsided than the 21-0 final.
“Bad coaching, not good execution, that’s how it goes,” Vrabel said. “There’s no excuse for it. We have to be better on all levels.”
The Titans’ offense couldn’t stay on the field, going three-and-out five times. No drive lasted longer than seven plays, and they never got further than the Baltimore 37. Each time, the Ravens sacked Mariota to push the Titans (3-3) back. Tennessee came into the game having allowed only nine sacks through the first five games.
When Taywan Taylor was wide open deep on the Titans’ second drive, Mariota overthrew the receiver. Mariota said he had never been through a game like this before and that it wasn’t a good feeling.
“I can do a better job of stepping up in the pocket,” Mariota said. “I put our guys in a bad spot trying to run around too much. Those are things I’ve got to do better.”
Wide receiver Corey Davis said the Titans “got whipped.” The Titans’ top receiver caught only one of the four passes Mariota threw at him for 24 yards.
“We got to look ourselves in the mirror and change some things,” Davis said.
Tennessee was no better on defense, giving up 361 yards and not getting to Joe Flacco even once. The Titans came in leading the NFL in fewest touchdowns allowed inside their own 20, yet the Ravens (4-2) scored each time they got there against a unit being run by Dean Pees. Vrabel lured the former Ravens defensive coordinator to join him last January, less than a month after Pees announced his retirement.
The Titans allowed the Ravens to convert 12 of 17 third downs (71 percent) and hold the ball for more than 37 minutes.
“We just couldn’t get off the field no matter what we did,” said All-Pro safety Kevin Byard, who got his first interception this season. “We called all types of calls. Cover 3, Cover 1, Cover 2. We just couldn’t get off the field.”
Now the Titans have lost two straight. Worse, they haven’t scored a touchdown in eight straight quarters, and this was the third game this season without a TD under offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, who had never called plays before this season.
And they leave Thursday for the franchise’s first game in London against the Chargers (4-2).
First, the Titans know they have some work.
“As an offense, we’ve got to look in the mirror, dig down deep, take the tough coaching — no soft ... and get back to work,” running back Dion Lewis said.
The lone consolation for the Titans even after this skid is they still hold the tiebreaker in a woeful AFC South thanks to earlier victories over Jacksonville and Houston.
“You’ve got to have short memory,” center Ben Jones said. “It could be way worse. We are right where you want to be.”
Cornerback Logan Ryan called it a bad beating with the Ravens exposing some of their weaknesses.
“We’ve got to do a good job of responding and bringing it to London,” Ryan said. “Teams get beat every week. Jacksonville got the brakes blown off of them as well. The division everyone is 3-3, so we are at the top of the division, thankfully, and we’ve got to keep it going. We’ve got to get a win next week.”
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL