NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans coach Mike Munchak said "anything is possible" twice Monday in two separate contexts.
Munchak said it the first time in reference to Tennessee's 27-13 loss Sunday at previously winless Indianapolis. The first-year coach said it again about the Titans' slim hopes of nabbing the final spot in the AFC playoffs.
Last week the best scenario for Tennessee to make its first appearance in the postseason since 2008 involved winning its final three games. That scenario would have required the least help from other teams and given the Titans an edge in a potential tiebreaker if multiple teams finished with six losses.
There is now a nebulous log-jam in the AFC for the No. 6 seed, which the New York Jets (8-6) would claim if the season ended today. Cincinnati (8-6) and Tennessee (7-7) are still in the mix for the Wild Card berth, and Denver (8-6), Oakland (7-7) and surging San Diego (7-7) are in contention for the AFC West or the Wild Card.
With so many teams involved and the uncertainty of the final two weeks of regular season games, the one thing the Titans know is the importance of winning their final two games. Tennessee hosts Jacksonville (4-10) Saturday and visits Houston (10-4) on Jan. 1.
"We're still not out of this thing," Munchak said. "Anything is possible, as you see in the games each week. We just have to win our two games. We can't worry about anything else. It's up to us to come back and show what kind of team we have, what we're all about, what's important to us. As bad as we feel, it's back to work tomorrow on a short week, and we've got to 'man up' and play our best game if we're going to win."
The Titans started sluggishly Sunday against the Colts but led 6-3 at halftime. Tennessee committed three turnovers in the second half: an interception of Matt Hasselbeck that Jacob Lacey returned 32 yards for a touchdown, a fumble by Jared Cook after a completion, and an interception of Hasselbeck by Pat Angerer in the end zone when Hasselbeck was trying to hit Nate Washington for a touchdown.
"I'm sure our fans are very disappointed in how we played," Hasselbeck said. "We had an opportunity to advance our situation in the playoffs. It just shows you how this league is. Anything is possible. We blew a lot of opportunities. We knew we couldn't turn the ball over. We knew that would give them the chance to beat us and that's exactly what we did in the second half and we got what we deserved."
Cornerback Jason McCourty said Sunday's game was frustrating and perplexing at the same time.
"You prepare all week, all season, all offseason for moments like this: with three games left, you're going in with playoff chances still high, so it's extremely frustrating when you're on that sideline and trying to do everything you can, and for whatever reason, it's just not working," McCourty said.
Washington said the Titans must focus on improving against the Jaguars, who won the first meeting 16-14 in the season opener due to another sluggish start by Tennessee.
"I'm not even worried about the playoffs right now," Washington said. "I'm worried about playing good football. I'm going to give everything I've got for 60 minutes in these last two games. These fans deserve it, the community deserves it, and these guys in this locker room deserve it. I'm pretty sure that every guy in this locker room is going to do the same."