The Tennessee Titans fell to the Los Angeles Chargers overseas on Sunday. While the loss stings, it wasn’t all bad for the Two-Tone Blue.
On Sunday morning, before all of the other football games started, the Tennessee Titans lost to the Los Angeles Chargers in dramatic fashion. The Titans rallied back from a 17-6 deficit, but came up just short at the end, falling to 3-4 in the process. Before we head into the bye week, let’s talk a little bit about what happened overseas.
Mike Vrabel made the right decision to go for it
Down one point with 31 seconds left, head coach Mike Vrabel decided to try a two-point conversion and win the game. On the first try, a defensive holding penalty negated a failed attempt and put the ball at the one-yard line for a retry. Vrabel once again went for it, but a Marcus Mariota pass attempt was deflected and the ball fell incomplete. The Titans couldn’t recover the ensuing onside kick and left London with a bitter taste in their mouths. Many people questioned the decision to go for it, but the majority agreed with it.
About 64% of Titan Sized twitter followers were on Vrabel’s side, although nearly everyone disagreed with the playcalls on both two-point attempts. While Vrabel’s decision was justified, the playcalls left a lot to be desired; particularly on the second try, when the Titans needed a measly yard and probably should’ve called a run play. Regardless of the outcome, it’s refreshing to have a coach that’s willing to gamble in situations that are more than likely to favor his team.
Marcus Mariota is not the problem
The interception before halftime was a bad decision. One of the two sacks could’ve been avoided. That’s it. Those are the only two negative plays that QB Marcus Mariota had throughout the whole game. Mariota was pinpoint on Sunday, completing 24-of-32 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown. He also added a crucial 38 yards on the ground. He was locked-in, but once again he was let down by his wide receivers, and– at times — by a crumbling interior offensive line.
Mariota would’ve completed 26 of his passes for an absurd 81.3 completion percentage had his second-year receivers, Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor, not dropped passes that hit them in the hands (hand in Davis’ case).
The first egregious drop was truly rage-inducing. Mariota sees the rush coming from the right side, steps up in the pocket and delivers a perfect strike over a Chargers linebacker and into Taylor’s breadbasket. And Taylor just lets it go right through his hands, eliminating what would’ve been about a 30-yard play.
On that same drive, Davis committed an even worse error. It was utter laziness, as an apathetic Davis decided to try to one-hand a a ball with a ton of zing on it on 3rd and 7. The Titans ended up having to settle for a long 51-yard field goal, which Ryan Succop missed and ended up being the difference between a win and a loss.
The Titans’ wide receivers have literally cost them games this year, and Sunday was one of those instances. Has Mariota been great this year? No, but he has been pretty good and he was fantastic on Sunday. If he had a little help from the players who get paid to catch the ball, most fans would be looking at Mariota in a different light.
The defense continues to keep the Titans in games
If you only watched the first 31 minutes and 14 seconds of this game, you may not believe us, but the Titans defense once again did its job and allowed the offense a chance to get back into the game and nearly win it. The defense gave up two huge plays, both of which were backup safety Kendrick Lewis’ fault. Dane Cruikshank is clearly not deemed ready by the coaching staff, but starter Kenny Vaccaro should be back from injury after the bye week, so those big plays will not happen again.
Aside from those two long touchdowns, the Titans defense gave up just a pair of under-30 field goals and forced punts on two of the Charger’s four drives in the second half. The Titans defense has now held opposing offense’s to less than 23 points scored in every single game this season (one of the Dolphins’ touchdowns was a kick return). That amount of points per game is not a lot to ask for your offense to match, but Matt LaFleur’s unit has been stuck in neutral all year. If the Titans could just convert a few of their field goals into touchdowns, the Titans will win a bunch of games over the second half of the season, and that’s largely due to a defense that steps up when needed.