NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Zach Mettenberger doesn't have a win in nine NFL starts.
But that doesn't mean the Titans quarterback doesn't have confidence in himself.
"My confidence is good,'' Mettenberger said after Sunday's 34-6 loss to the Texans. "I think y'all know me well enough, that that's not something that's going to change. I am very confident in my ability to play this game.
"But at the same time it is definitely frustrating. It makes Mondays a lot worse to go to work and not have that win under your belt. But I just have to keep my head down and keep grinding and hopefully (next) week we can get a win."
Mettenberger, who played in place of injured starter Marcus Mariota, completed 27-of-51 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown, along with an interception, against the Texans.
He was sacked just once, which was a big improvement compared to the previous game against the Texans, when Mettenberger was sacked seven times in a 20-6 loss in Houston.
Still, the offense struggle mightily against the Texans. In fact, the team was on the verge of being shut out for the first time in the history of Nissan Stadium until Mettenberger connected with receiver Tre McBride for a one-yard touchdown pass with just 1:31 left in the contest.
Teammates said the offensive struggles shouldn't be blamed on Mettenberger. He's 0-3 in his starts this season after going 0-6 as a starter in 2014. The Titans dropped to 3-12 on the season with Sunday's loss.
"I think Zach did a great job,'' tight end Delanie Walker said. "Too bad the NFL works that way, where everything is blamed on the quarterback and the coaches. That's just what it is.
"But I think he did a great job for the situation we're in.
The Titans managed just 13 first downs in the day, and the team was just 4-of-16 on third down. The Titans had just five first downs and 84 yards of offense at halftime, when they trailed 17-0.
Mettenberger had several things work against him on Sunday.
In the first half, running back Antonio Andrews fumbled, and the Texans picked up the loose ball and ran it in for a touchdown. Another turnover put the Titans – and Mettenberger – in a 10-0 hole. Later, Andrews had a ball ripped away from him on a ball thrown by Mettenberger, which was ruled an interception.
The Titans lost two starters in the first half of the contest – receiver Kendall Wright (knee) and tackle Taylor Lewan (concussion).
"Zach wants to win,'' tackle Byron Bell said. "He cares about his craft, he cares about the people in the locker room, and he cares about winning. He is hardest critic, no matter what anybody says about him.
"But he is a fighter. I tell him, don't keep your head down. Keep it up high. … He is going to be a good quarterback in this league for a long time."
Mettenberger said he expects to start in place of an injured Mariota next week against the Colts.
He left Nissan Stadium disappointed, but already looking ahead to next week
"(I'm) just frustrated,'' he said. "We are a better team than what we've shown a lot this year. It's tough to put in the work each and every week. As hard as these guys work, you expect to win games, and we just haven't been fortunate enough to do that.
"… We play for the fans, we play for each other, and we have kind of let everyone down in that regard. But, you know we work hard and the fans should know that, how hard we work. We want to win just as bad as they do and hopefully we can end the season on a high note and roll into the offseason with some confidence."