Titans’ late mistakes cost game, playoff control
The Tennessee Titans keep making mistakes at crucial times, and
now they’ve lost control of their playoff destiny and possibly
their last chance at a winning record.
A team that has scored 122 points in the fourth quarter this
season couldn’t score late, and a defense that had been so stingy
couldn’t get off the field when it mattered most as the Titans lost
22-14 to Indianapolis. Tennessee now has lost six of its last
eight, and five of those losses have been by nine points or
Coach Mike Munchak said Monday they don’t see some of the errors
that may happen in games in practice and fix them when they do.
”It’s the fact that unfortunately sometimes it’s growing
pains,” Munchak said. ”Sometimes it’s you … become a better
team as you grow through some of the mistakes that do happen.”
The Titans outplayed the Colts in so many categories: outgaining
them 347-264 in total offense, holding the ball for nearly 34
minutes, sacking Andrew Luck five times and holding the Colts to
five field goals. It wasn’t enough to overcome four turnovers by
Ryan Fitzpatrick, including an interception with 33 seconds left
after driving to the Colts 33.
”We all know what covers up bad mistakes or mistakes is someone
making a big play that overshadows some of the mistakes that are
made by other teammates,” Munchak said.
The Titans had one interception and missed chances at two
others, including early in the fourth quarter when George Wilson
dropped a ball that hit him in the chest. The Colts also fumbled
the ball three times and recovered each one.
”Unfortunately when you lose it just makes them all worse,”
Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said they can’t point fingers at
anyone because everyone took a turn making a mistake. He said the
Titans are playing with passion and heart but need to correct the
”That’s been our biggest thing all season,” Casey said.
”Mental errors when it comes to crunch time we just can’t snap out
of it and get these wins.”
Now the Titans (5-7) trail Baltimore and Miami, both 6-6, for
the AFC’s final playoff spot with four games left. They visit
Denver on Sunday and a quarterback in Peyton Manning that Tennessee
has struggled to beat for years. The Titans tried to sign Manning
in March 2012 only to watch him pick Denver.
The Titans, who held the AFC’s final playoff spot a week ago,
now trail Baltimore and Miami who are both 6-6. The Ravens still
must visit Detroit and Cincinnati and hosting New England. Miami
finishes with trips to Pittsburgh and Buffalo and hosting New
England and the Jets.
Tennessee hosts Arizona before visiting Jacksonville and home
against Houston. The Titans are 0-4 in the AFC South this season
and 4-12 under Munchak.
Tennessee does get safety Michael Griffin back after serving a
one-game suspension against the Colts as a repeat violator of the
NFL’s rules protecting defenseless players. The Titans are thin at
tight end with Delanie Walker being monitored after being evaluated
for a concussion that knocked him out of the Colts’ game, though
Craig Stevens has a chance to return.
”We all got tough roads ahead,” Munchak said. ”We’ve made it
harder without a doubt, so we have to go win a game this weekend
which most people don’t think we have a chance to win. ”
Notes: QB Jake Locker talked briefly to reporters Monday for the
first time since having surgery to repair his right foot last week.
He said he hopes to be back on the field for minicamps next spring
with a definite return for training camp. … FB Collin Mooney was
having tests on his left knee after leaving Indianapolis on
crutches wearing a knee brace. Munchak said the Titans will look at
the possibility of adding another fullback.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org