NASHVILLE – The Titans lost to the Indianapolis Colts 19-17 in the home opener on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
Here's a look at six things that stood out from the day as the team begins to turn its attention to Thursday's game vs the Jaguars:
Coming Up Short
As I worked in the press box following Sunday's disappointing finish, I watched the crazy ending to the Bears-Broncos game. Trailing by a point, the Bears took over at their own 25-yard line, down 1, with 31 seconds left. But they managed to get into position to kick a game-winning field goal at the horn. The Titans had no such luck on Sunday. A drive that began on their own 28 with 1:07 left came up short in large part because a pair of short completions took too much time off the clock and required perfection at the very end. It didn't happen. The reality is the Titans had plenty of opportunities earlier that could've kept it from coming down to the final drive.
Former Titans running back Eddie George spoke all week about how much having his No. 27 jersey retired meant to him and his family. Seeing George fight back tears while standing next to former teammate Steve McNair's family and former teammates at the halftime ceremony hammered that home for anyone at Nissan Stadium on Sunday. While the result of the game wasn't what anyone had in mind, it was a beautiful day for two of the franchise's legends. The No.9-shaped cloud that appeared in the sky perhaps offered proof McNair approved as well.
Third Down Woes
The Titans had chances to surge ahead against the Colts, but too many times drives stalled before they could get on track. Once again, the team struggled on third down. On Sunday, the Titans were just 1 of 10 on third down, a week after going just 2 of 10 on third down in Cleveland. Mariota blamed the team's issues on first and second down for putting the team in too many 3rd and long situations against Indy, and it's partly true. Everyone agrees 3 for 20 (15 percent) isn't going to cut it.
Cancer Survivor, TD Catcher
David Quessenberry is a 6-foot-5, 305-pound offensive tackle who isn't used to catching touchdown passes. But on Sunday he found himself wide open in the end zone, and then saw the ball coming his way. Quessenberry caught it, of course, and the reaction from his teammates and coaches said it all. It wasn't special because it was a big man touchdown, though. It was special because they all knew what Quessenberry, a cancer survivor, had gone through to be in a position to make the play.
Too Many Sacks
The Titans were forced to rearrange their offensive line at the start of the season, and some issues have come as a result. Mariota was sacked four times on Sunday, and he's now been sacked eight times in the team's first two games. That, of course, has him on track to be sacked 64 this season, which would be a career high. Mariota blamed himself for not getting rid of the ball sooner on some of the sacks, while on others he didn't have enough time. Either way, the Titans are going to need to get this fixed.
The Titans allowed 167 rushing yards on Sunday, including a 55-yard run by Colts running back Jordan Wilkins that set up the winning score in the closing minutes. The previous week in Cleveland, the Titans allowed 102 yards on the ground. After two weeks, the Titans are ranked a very respectable No.10 in the NFL in total defense. But the team is ranked 26th vs. the run, allowing 134.5 yards per game. Next up is a Jacksonville squad that will try and run it down their throats. It's time to tighten up.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Indianapolis Colts in their 2019 home opener at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)
Franchise legends Eddie George and Steve McNair have their jersey numbers retired during a special halftime ceremony at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)