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Titans Can't Overcome Slow Start in 24-16 Loss to the Ravens


LONDON – The Titans looked like they were in a London fog for a half here on Sunday.

By the time they came out of it, it was too late.

In the end, their slow start was too much to overcome in a 24-16 loss to the Ravens.

"I think we're always going to hang our hat on effort and finish," Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said when asked about the identity of his team. "We're going to continue to play physical. But you have to win. When we start winning, then you have an identity. … We have to figure out how we can improve."

The Titans dropped to 2-4 with the loss, heading into their bye weekend.

Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons said he's looking for fighters when the team returns to action.

"We need to figure something out," Simmons said. "We need to figure out the guys who are going to fight. We need to figure out the guys who want to be out there. We need to re-evaluate our team and figure it out. That's the message – figure out who wants to play football for the Titans."

Malik Willis replaced Ryan Tannehill in the fourth quarter at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Tannehill suffered an ankle injury earlier in the contest, and he ended up being carted off the sideline for tests.

Tannehill left the locker room on crutches, his right foot in a boot.

"It freakin' sucks," Tannehill said. "It's part of the game, getting injured. We'll see what it is going to look like with the MRI moving forward. But it's frustrating."

The Titans played a lot of bend-but-don't break defense in this one, which kept them in it.

The Ravens took an early 3-0 lead on a 41-yard field goal by kicker Justin Tucker. The Titans got a big stop on 3rd and one from linebacker Jack Gibbens and defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson to force the field goal.

After the Titans made it 3-3 on a 26-yard field goal by kicker Nick Folk, the Ravens had to settle for two more short field goals from Tucker – from 28 and 23 yards – to make it 9-3 in the second quarter.

Punter Ryan Stonehouse saved a touchdown with a tackle after a 70-yard return by the Ravens gave them the ball at the Tennessee 17-yard line. Later, Titans linebacker Harold Landry stopped Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson for a loss on a 3rd and goal play from the one-yard line.

The dam broke late in the second quarter, however, when Jackson connected with Zay Flowers for a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 15-3.

A costly mistake by returner Kyle Philips – who muffed a punt with one second left before half – gave the Ravens three more points on another Tucker field goal to make it 18-3 at the half.

"I need to be better," Philips said. "I let the team down."

The Titans managed just five first downs and 66 yards of offense in the first half, compared to 13 and 242 for the Ravens.

The Titans showed life early in the second half, getting a three-and-out on defense, and then a 64-yard run by Derrick Henry to set up a first-and-goal at the Baltimore eight-yard line. But the Titans had to settle for a field goal, a 27-yarder by Folk, to make it 18-6 at the 9:24 mark of the third quarter.

The Titans managed to keep the momentum going.

An interception by Sean Murphy-Bunting gave the ball at the Baltimore 30-yard line.

A few snaps later, Henry scored on a 15-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 18-13 at the 8:24 mark of the third quarter.

"I felt like we had momentum in the second half, put some plays together," Henry said. "We just didn't finish most of (the drives) with six points, in the end zone."

The momentum was halted on an interception thrown by Tannehill, who was trying to connect with tight end Chig Okonkwo downfield.

The Ravens cashed that in for another field goal to make it 21-13 with 12:49 left, and then another Tucker field goal, this one with 4:16 left, made it 24-13.

The Titans kept it interesting late, as Folk's 38-yard field goal made it 24-16 with 38 seconds left. But the Ravens got the ensuing onsides kick, and they ran out the clock.

"Guys are frustrated," Titans safety Kevin Byard said. "You put a lot of time into this game, a lot of time in the week preparing, and when you don't play well it's very frustrating. We've been trying to string together some wins, and it's just not happening right now. We're not playing well on either side of the ball, honestly."

The Titans have a bye next weekend. The team will return to action on Sunday, October 29 against the Falcons at Nissan Stadium.

The Tennessee Titans take on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

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