Munchak says no excuse for Titans' division woes
Mike Munchak says there's no excuse for the Tennessee Titans not to have beaten an AFC South opponent this season. Their division struggle, however, have been going on for more than just a season.
The Titans are a dismal 4-12 in Munchak's three seasons, and the first team to win the AFC South has a lengthy list of ugly losses the past three years that have helped keep Tennessee struggling or out of the playoffs. They've had their share of losses to the Colts, Jaguars and Texans.
They have a chance for a little payback starting Sunday at Jacksonville, and Houston comes next in the season finale. They've already been swept this season by Indianapolis.
''Unfortunately we don't play Indy again, but we owe them, too,'' Munchak said Wednesday. ''We'll have to wait later for that one. You wonder why they're motivated? They're motivated for a lot of reasons to win this football game. It's a pride thing now. It's not going to get any further. Five wins, six wins, seven wins is not enough wins, but you still could get a lot of satisfaction from it.''
Tennessee became the first team to lose to the previously winless Colts in 2011, a loss that cost the Titans a playoff berth on a tiebreaker to Cincinnati. In 2012, the Titans became the first team to lose in Jacksonville, and they were the first to lose to the previously winless Jaguars in November (29-27).
The Titans used to beat the Texans year in and year out in a painful reminder to Houston of the franchise they lost to Tennessee.
Then Houston took its turn atop the division the past two seasons making life miserable for the Titans, and the Texans even beat them in overtime the second week of this season. The Texans have lost 12 straight games since that last win.
Making the division woes hurt even more is that no loss came by more than eight points.
''We should have three division wins, but we don't,'' Munchak said. ''We got to finish with two here. It does mean a lot for that reason. You're battling for second in the division I guess or whatever that comes to at the end. We got to beat a team that has given us trouble.''
Munchak says they owe the Jaguars, who have won three of the past five in this series. Jacksonville handed Munchak a 16-14 loss in his first game as a head coach in 2011, and the Titans turned it over four times Nov. 10 in losing again to the Jaguars.
''We did everything we could to lose that football game by turning it over and still were down by two,'' Munchak said. ''We owe them for this year, last year, the year before that.''
That was the first of four wins in six weeks for the Jaguars for first-year coach Gus Bradley.
''It gave us a little validation as far as how everything was falling into place just like we anticipated,'' Bradley said.
With Tennessee (5-9) having lost three straight and eight in the last 10 games, safety Michael Griffin doesn't care who the opponent is Sunday.
''I don't think it's personal,'' Griffin said. ''We need a win.''
Notes: Chris Johnson (knee) did not practice on what Munchak called a day of rest. RT David Stewart (shoulder) also sat out. DT Jurrell Casey (shoulder) and C Brian Schwenke (ankle) were limited. CB Alterraun Verner (groin) practiced fully.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org