NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It was an ugly ending for the Titans at Nissan Stadium on Sunday.
In the team's home-finale against Texans, the Titans turned the ball over four times, and struggled to get anything going on offense with back-up quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The defense, meanwhile, failed to make plays against Texans quarterback Brandon Weeden.
It all added up to a 34-6 loss for the Titans.
"Losing, man, I'm just tired of losing,'' tight end Delanie Walker said afterward. "Yeah, I like some of the positive stuff I see in games, but we lost the game again. And there's nothing you can take from an L.
"I can't knock Houston, and I'm not going to. They came to play today and they were the better team. But we have to play better than this."
The Titans dropped to 3-12 on a day when the Texans (8-7) took a big step towards winning another AFC South crown.
Titans tackle Byron Bell said the game seemed like a dream that turned into a nightmare with mistakes.
Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey said he felt the team was ready to play, only to see things unravel early. But Mularkey said the team didn't quit.
"I thought they were prepared and ready to play,'' Mularkey said. "I mean we had a good week, a very good Friday. I liked what I saw in the locker room prior.
The Tennessee Titans take on the New Houston Texans in Week 16 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
"… I'm disappointed. I really thought we were prepared. I thought we had a good plan, and felt good about it. I felt like, to be honest, it would be a really close game … to come down to the wire, not this time of game."
It was a disastrous start for the Titans, and on this day, things wouldn't get any better.
Running back Antonio Andrews fumbled on the team's opening possession, and Texans safety Quintin Demps picked the ball up and returned it for a touchdown.
Later in the quarter, Harry Douglas fumbled a punt that was recovered by Houston. A 22-yard field goal by kicker Nick Novak made it 10-0.
"We have to eliminate the mistakes -- you can't spot them 10 points,'' Douglas said. "We just have to play better."
Weeden scored on a seven-yard touchdown run to make it 17-0 at halftime.
Making matters worse for the Titans – the team lost receiver Kendall Wright (knee) and left tackle Taylor Lewan (concussion) to injuries in the first half, and neither returned.
The second half didn't start much better for the Titans, as the Texans drove the ball 80 yards on eight plays to make it 24-0 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Weeden to receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
On the next series, Andrews had the ball ripped out of his hands by Texans safety Eddie Pleasant on a ball thrown by Mettenberger. It was ruled an interception.
The Texans scored again a few minutes later on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Weeden to receiver Nate Washington to make it 31-0. A 36-yard field goal by Novak at the end of the third quarter stretched the lead to 34-0.
The Titans scored their only points on a one-yard touchdown pass from Mettenberger to rookie receiver Tre McBride with 1:31 left to make it 34-6.
Mettenberger completed 27-of-51 passes for 234 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the contest. Weeden completed 15-of-24 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
"We have to look forward to tomorrow, watch film, see what we need to work on. It's pathetic. We say the same things each and every week,'' Titans safety Michael Griffin said. "You've always got to look at yourself in the mirror, and ask yourself, "Did you play 100 percent? Did you do everything right?
"Nobody ever plays a perfect game, so I would never point a finger. Because if you point a finger, someone can always point it back at you."
The Titans wrap up the season next week at Indianapolis.
Mettenberger, who started in place of injured quarterback Marcus Mariota, said he expected to be start against the Colts as well.
"I think I am definitely the guy to do that, and I am looking forward to playing Indy next week,'' he said. "We just have to keep our heads up and go into Indy and try and get a win. … We are going to work hard next week to try and get that fourth win of the year."