A Brief, Tragic, History Lesson
The perpetually 9-7 Titans have had their chances to set themselves apart from the crowd in the past. They’ve been given opportunity after opportunity, winnable game after winnable game, and just as the world was ready to buy into what the Titans are– they’ve let themselves down, and lost the chance to truly be viewed as an elite team.
2019 offered two such games. Week 2 against the Indianapolis Colts, after the Titans beat down the preseason Super Bowl favorite Cleveland Browns by 30 points on their home field, Tennessee had the chance to beat their 0-1 division rival to start a season 2-0 for the first time since 2008. They came out and laid an egg, 19-17 loss.
The second game came in Week 15 when the Titans carried a four-game winning streak and one of the NFL’s hottest offenses into a division game against the Texans, one that would put them in the driver’s seat to win the AFC South. After scoring more than 30 points in each of their wins on that streak, the Titans had their lowest scoring total since Week 9 in a 24-21 loss to yet another division rival.
The further back you go, the more troubling the trend becomes. A 3-1 start in 2018, highlighted by an overtime win against the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 gave way to a 13-12 loss in Week 5 to the Bills. In a Week 17 showdown later that season, one where a win against the Indianapolis Colts would have given the Titans a playoff birth, Tennessee couldn’t overcome their rival, losing 33-17, missing the playoffs, and snapping yet another four-game winning streak.
2017, a close win in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks led to a Week 4 blowout against the Texans. 2016, a surprise road victory against the Kansas City Chiefs gave the Titans a three-game winning streak that came to an end with a 38-17 loss to the Jaguars, one that ended the Titans postseason hopes. Just as this team starts to get hot, just as they start to gain respect by beating the league’s elite teams, they have turned around and immediately lost it.