CLEVELAND – The Titans lost 27-3 to the Browns on Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Here's a look at six things that stood out from the contest:
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked five times in the contest, and the Browns were credited with eight quarterback hits in the game. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett tallied 3.5 sacks and five quarterback hits on the day, doing his best work against Titans left tackle Andre Dilliard. "We have to get better as a unit, and I have to be better as an individual," Dillard said in the locker room after the contest. "I need to be better with my hands and my sets and all that stuff. I'm just trying to get better." Dillard said he talked with Garrett after the game, when he gave him some pointers. "What you do is learn from it," Dillard said. "You watch the film, you study it, take the constructive criticism, and you move forward."
End of 1st Half
It was a frustrating day for the Titans, and no play was more troublesome than the last play of the first half. Trailing 13-3, and with the ball at the Cleveland 11-yard line with 13 seconds left, the Titans had a chance for one more play before having to settle for a field goal. The Titans, of course, wanted a touchdown instead. But Tannehill was sacked by Garrett, and the clock ran out. The Titans walked away with no points. "We were in a situation where the ball had to be in the end zone, or out of bounds," Tannehill said. "It wasn't a long developing play we had called. (Garrett) got there pretty fast, and he made the play."
Nowhere to Run
Titans running back Derrick Henry's stat line at the end of the first half wasn't pretty – four carries, minus-seven yards. At the end of the game, it wasn't a whole lot better. Henry finished the day with 20 yards on 11 carries, with a long of nine yards. The Titans had to abandon the run early because they were in so many third-and-longs. Running back Tyjae Spears had four carries for six yards. The Titans running backs didn't appear to have much room when they got the football in their hands. "It hurts," Henry said. "I am big on trying to do the best I can help this team win, and when we don't, and we lose in that fashion, it's tough. I have to have a growth mindset of flushing it after 24 hours, and move on."
The Titans committed eight penalties for 80 yards in Sunday's game, with most of the penalties coming on defense. The defense was flagged for multiple penalties in coverage, along with a roughing the passer penalty on Arden Key. The Titans were also penalized for having too many men in the huddle on offense, in addition to a holding call on special teams. It was among the laundry list of problems Titans Coach Mike Vrabel talked about in his post-game press conference at Cleveland Browns Stadium. "That's what happens when you perform, and you coach like that," Vrabel said of the loss, and the poor play. "You play like that in this league, you coach like that in this league, you get your ass beat."
Not Enough Plays
The Titans made some good plays on Sunday, but not nearly enough. Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting made a spectacular play early when he forced a fumble, and then recovered it. Receiver Chris Moore made a beautiful grab for a 33-yard gain, and receiver DeAndre Hopkins made a heck of a catch for a 26-yard gain. LB Azeez Al-Shaair had nine tackles, a sack, and two tackles for a loss and I noticed inside linebacker Jack Gibbens around the ball a lot, even on some QB pressures. CB Roger McCreary had 10 tackles and a sack. But the good plays were few and far between on this day, as the Titans were guilty of many more mistakes. "We're competitors, so it's always frustrating when you lose," and the frustration is always at an all-time high when you lose," Hopkins said. "We have to put this behind us and (play better)."
The Need for Consistency
One thing that was obvious roaming the Titans locker room: Players weren't very happy with the result, and they expressed that on Sunday. "It's getting old – it's time to actually do it," Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons said of the promise to "get better." "We talk about it, but it's a mindset," Simmons said. "It's time to win. We have to start winning." Still, safety Kevin Byard said it's important to stick together. The Titans bounced back after a season-opening loss to the Saints and beat the Chargers. "We have to keep a positive mentality, and not let guys get too down on themselves," Byard said. "It's still early in the season, we're 1-2, and we have a big game against the Bengals, at home, a team we haven't beat in a while, and that's where all our focus has to go into. … We have to keep moving forward, and keep chopping wood."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Browns in Week 3 at Cleveland Brown Stadium.