Brutal 57-14 Titans loss to Texans
The Titans were terrible. The Texans took advantage of almost every opportunity they could and rode to their highest-scoring game in franchise history.
Marcus Mariota left the game at halftime. He pulled up after his second touchdown run and was seen going toward the trainer. Matt Cassel played the second half. Mariota has a hamstring injury. He was not wincing in pain or anything dramatic, so hopefully, this is a minor injury. He will have an MRI tomorrow. Mariota was only 6 of 10 for 96 yards, but he did run for two touchdowns.
The Titans have started slow in every game this season. The Texans were coming off a game where Deshaun Watson moved the ball very well against the Patriots. The Texans used Watson’s “fire” to blow right by the Titans. The Titans could not overcome their slow start nor stop Watson.
Here are three stats that best illustrate the domination by the Texans:
Early in the fourth quarter:
The Texans had run 72 plays for 441 yards, for a time of 35:35.
The Titans had run 31 plays for 181 yards for a time of 15:46.
The Texans had scored 7 touchdowns while the Titans had punted eight times.
The Titans turned the ball over five times.
The Titans offensive line did perform well protecting the quarterback. Jadeveon Clowney had an almost token sack of Matt Cassel late in the fourth quarter. That was it. The Titans offensive line did hold the Texans fearsome pass rushers at bay today. The line is the only bright spot.
The Titans only ran the ball for 47 yards, not counting Mariota.
The Titans quarterbacks combined to throw just 10 completions.
The biggest problem today can best be illustrated by a joke I saw- How come the 2015 Titans secondary is wearing the 2017 Titans uniforms?
The secondary was terrible today. Everyone had a bad day in the secondary. Kevin Byard made an interception near the end zone, but that didn’t mask a poor performance by the secondary. Thankfully, this secondary is loaded with talent and has the coaching staff to teach them how to overcome today’s performance.
A previous issue was glaring today-
During the spring, Kevin Byard was to learn to be an outfielder type safety and no longer play near the line of scrimmage. The Titans had signed Johnathan Cyprien for that. All summer, we discussed how Byard was, in fact, playing near the line of scrimmage and free-lancing. With Cyprien and Searcy classic strong safeties that can’t really play the outfielder role, the Titans had a hole.
Denzel Johnson was an undrafted free safety that the Titans signed with some fanfare after an impressive college career. He was extremely fast. During the preseason, he read the plays well and “flew” to help shut down deep passes. Johnson did make a few errors one game, but in two other games, the opposing offense stopped throwing deep when he came into the game. The Titans kept him on the practice squad and elected to not have him on the active roster.
Speedy Will Fuller and the rest of the Texans seemed to run right past Titans defenders. The corners had no help “over the top” and sorely needed help from an outfielder. After getting burned deep, the Titans cornerbacks would give a large cushion to the opposing wide receiver. Watson would then throw the receiver a short pass taking advantage of that cushion. There may not be many wideouts as fast as Fuller, but there are many fast wideouts in the NFL.
The Titans cornerbacks sorely needed an outfielder type today. The Titans will have to consider Johnson, backup S Kalan Reed, and looking at available free agents. They were exposed today in a manner that future opponents are sure to emulate.
The Titans face the Dolphins next week. The Titans were impressive through three weeks. They had a bad day today. That doesn’t negate the prior three weeks, nor indicate that their 2017 season is a bust. Champions have an ability to forget. The young Titans will need to learn to forget this game and go to Miami full of their usual confidence.
Bradford ruled out for third straight week