Three Takeaways From Week 9

Marcus Mariota’s new mustache forced him into bad turnovers. Not really, but they’re hurting the team.

But actually, maybe it’s possible his mustache for Movember caused the fumble and the interception that went the other way for six. Regardless, those turnovers shouldn’t have happened and we probably would’ve won if they didn’t happen. His first interception was a layup for the defensive back as it just floated in the air with not much chance of being anything other than an interception, which we’ve seen before. The fumble play probably shouldn’t have been run, but Mariota has to protect the ball. The pick six that pretty much sealed the game was late and wasn’t throw to an area where only his receiver could catch it.

I’ve been the biggest Mariota fan and apologist throughout this season, and he was absurdly stellar on Sunday aside from those turnovers. He was throwing dimes all over the field and his rushing touchdown was a moment of brilliance. But the poor mistakes need to stop in order to keep our defense (I’ll get to them in a second) off the field and keep drives alive. I trust in him to get it fixed, hopefully soon.

The defense is horrible

What the hell was that? Philip Rivers completed 24 of 33 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. The Titans defense has now given up a combined 1301 yards (it’s real, I swear) and 10 touchdowns over the past four weeks to Rivers, Andrew Luck, Blake Bortles (lol), and Cody Kessler (LOL). They haven’t registered an interception over that span. The secondary is playing terribly right now and the coaching staff keeps trotting out Perrish Cox and Brice McCain out there when they have a legitimate case to be cut right now.

Melvin Gordon ran for 196 (!) yards on 32 carries and scored a touchdown. That’s 6.1 yards per carry on 32 totes, which is unheard of in this day and age. Gordon was great on Sunday, don’t get me wrong, but there were an absurd amount of missed tackles. Two of them came on the most important play of the game, a 3rd and 7 where the Titans needed one stop to give the offense a chance to tie the game. Then the defense lets Gordon run for 47 yards and end the game. This defense has disintegrated after being respectable through the first five weeks of the season, and I don’t see it getting better anytime soon.

The coaches need to stop trying to pigeonhole their players into their offense

It is so abundantly apparent to every Titans fan and every football watcher that the Titans are nearly unstoppable when they are running uptempo, no-huddle plays. Teams haven’t been able to stop when we run that stuff because our running game is so good that it tires defenses out, and when we’re running uptempo the defense can’t substitute to their liking and are put in bad sets. Subsequently, Mariota gets into a rhythm and we score points once we get into the red zone because our offense is literally the best in the NFL in the red zone.

Yet, game after game, the coaches keep trying to trot out their exotic smashmouth, old-school offense and it gets us into trouble. Twice on Sunday, the coaches ran three straight times and were stopped on all three downs and were forced to punt. The running game clearly wasn’t working well and the passing offense was nearly unstoppable, but we went away from it in crucial moments. The Chargers had no chance when the offense was moving quickly in the no-huddle, but time after time the coaches figured it was best to slow the game down and rely on an inefficient running game. Not to mention the genius option play call on Mariota’s fumble.

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