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QB Josh Dobbs Sparked the Titans, But It Wasn't Enough in a 27-13 Loss to the Cowboys

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NASHVILLE – The Titans put a new quarterback – Josh Dobbs – in the saddle against the Cowboys.

But in the end, Dobbs and the Titans just didn't have enough firepower – and they made too many mistakes -- in a 27-13 loss at Nissan Stadium.

"It was a great opportunity to evaluate Josh, and we'll make a decision going forward," Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said after the game, already looking ahead to the team's season-finale against the Jaguars. "I thought he did some good things, and obviously a couple of throws he'd like to have back. We'll see where things are here in a couple of days.

"… We just beat ourselves too much (in the game). It is too hard to beat the Cowboys, or good football teams, when you beat yourself. But I thought we competed. I was extremely proud of the way the 47 guys we had up tonight competed. We gave ourselves a chance but did too many things that hurt us."

The Titans showed some spunk in the contest, however, and Dobbs showed some promise.

In his first NFL start, Dobbs completed 20-of-39 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown for the Titans, but he also threw an interception in the fourth quarter. The former University of Tennessee star kept the football for a souvenir following his touchdown, since it was his first career touchdown pass.

But that didn't keep the Titans from losing their sixth straight game to drop to 7-9.

"It's a unique situation, and a wonderful opportunity that I really embraced and had a lot of fun with," Dobbs said after the game. "There's obviously things that I can do better, and be better at. We'll dive into that, because I know we have a big one coming up.

"But I thought the guys, how we fought throughout the game, it was great to see."

The Titans return to action next weekend against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, on either January 7 or January 8. The exact date and time for the contest – which will decide the AFC South – will be announced in the coming days.

Vrabel didn't say which quarterback – Dobbs or Malik Willis – would be the starter in Jacksonville.

Thursday night's game was exciting most of the way.

The Cowboys took a 7-0 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliott, and then extended that lead to 10-0 on a 36-yard field goal from Brett Maher.

The Titans cut the lead to 10-3 on a 37-yard field goal by kicker Randy Bullock with 1:04 left in the first half. Then, on the final play of the half, the Titans got a 29-yard field goal from Bullock to make it 10-6 at the break.

The Titans came up with three turnovers on defense in the first half – two interceptions by safety Kevin Byard and a fumble recovery by defensive lineman Teair Tart. Both came in Tennessee territory, and they ended drives by the Cowboys.

The Cowboys, however, stretched their lead to 17-6 on a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dak Prescott to tight end Dalton Schultz, which was set up by a defensive pass interference penalty on Titans cornerback Tre Avery.

But the Titans answered back, thanks to a 14-play, 71-yard drive that was engineered by Dobbs, who made one big throw after another.

Dobbs, who just signed with the team last week, connected with Robert Woods on a six-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-13 with 2:04 left.

The Cowboys when extended their lead to 24-13 on another Prescott-to-Schultz touchdown pass, this one from 10 yards, with 11:58 left in the contest.

Another Maher field goal, this one from 45 yards out with 6:24 left, made it 27-13.

The Titans played the game with a lot of back-ups.

After placing QB Ryan Tannehill, OLB Bud Dupree, and OLB Zach Cunningham on Injured Reserve earlier in the day, the Titans then made RB Derrick Henry, DL Denico Autry, DL Jeffery Simmons, CB Kristian Fulton, OL Nicholas Petit-Frere, and S Amani Hooker among the team's inactives for the contest.

While the Titans had some positive moments, they were also penalized 10 times for 124 yards, and there were too many mistakes, and too many drops.

The Titans need to get some things fixed by Week 18 to extend their season.

"It's still disappointing we didn't get the win," Byard said on Thursday night. "We went into this game trying to win this game – you've obviously seen the effort that we played with. To lose, it's disappointing.

"But I can guarantee you this: I am going to make sure everybody … mentally, physically (we) need to get prepared to go win a playoff game. That's pretty much what it is – a playoff game (vs Jacksonville). You win, you keep playing. You lose, we all go home."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17 at Nissan Stadium.

The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17 at Nissan Stadium.

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