NASHVILLE – The Titans lost 20-7 to the Jaguars on Thursday night.
It wasn't pretty.
But this is a weekly feature, so here's a look at six things that stood out from the game as the team begins to turn its attention to the Atlanta Falcons on September 29.
Marcus Mariota getting sacked over and over again is the biggest thing I remember from the game. The Titans quarterback was sacked nine times in the contest, and he's now been sacked 17 times in three games. This isn't the place to come if you want a breakdown casting blame for each sack. But I'll say this: The Titans better get this problem fixed or it's going to be a long season.
Mariota Up and Down
Mariota needs to be more consistent, and he said it himself: "I didn't help our team at all in the first half, didn't give our guys a chance to make plays." It's true. Mariota was off early before being more effective late. He completed 17-of-24 passes for 242 yards in the second half after going just 6-of-16 for 62 yards in the first half. Still, he missed too many targets throughout on a night when he was constantly under duress.
It had been a quiet start to the season for Titans receivers Adam Humphries, Corey Davis and Tajae Sharpe. But all three showed up and made plays on Thursday night. Humphries led the team with 93 receiving yards on six catches (he had three catches for four yards heading in). Davis made a nice one-handed catch, one of his three catches, and Sharpe had a pair of nice grabs, including one for a 47-yard gain.
The Titans have been a disciplined team under head coach Mike Vrabel. Heading into Week 3, the Titans had been penalized 11 times in two games, tied with the Steelers, Panthers and Colts for the fewest penalties in the NFL. Dating back to last season, the team's 5.2 penalties per game under Vrabel was a league best. But the team racked up nine penalties for 101 yards against the Jaguars. I must say here some of them were pretty questionable, however.
Adoree' Jackson's Muffed Punt
The turning point in this game came early, when Titans return man Adoree' Jackson muffed a punt the Jaguars recovered at the Tennessee 7. On the next play, the Jaguars scored, and things snowballed from there. Vrabel has used both Humphries and Jackson in the return game at punt returner, and after Thursday's game he said he continued to use Jackson to allow him a chance to regain his confidence. Some outsiders have questioned the decision. I think everyone would agree the Titans need a spark here.
The defense played well enough for the team to win. The Titans allowed just 20 points, and one of Jacksonville's touchdowns was the gift-wrapped score when Jacksonville took over on the very short field. The Jaguars managed just 12 first downs in the game, and only five in the second half. They were just 2-of-11 on third down. The Titans were solid in run defense. Cornerback Malcolm Butler gave up some big plays, but he was battling and was physical. Overall, the Titans didn't do enough to rattle Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew, however. He wasn't sacked once.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3 of the 2019 NFL season on Thursday Night Football.