EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – In a New York minute, everything changed for the Tennessee Titans here on Sunday.
The momentum from the team's two-game winning streak, early control in the AFC South, and all the positive vibes are all now gone, thanks to a 27-24 overtime loss to the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
The Titans are now 2-2 following an ugly, frustrating loss.
"I feel like we are frustrated because we just got our tails whupped," Titans safety Kevin Byard said after the game. "It's consistency with us and this team – we didn't play well in the first game (a loss to the Cardinals), we didn't play well in first half of the second game (an OT win vs Seattle). We played well last week (in a win vs the Colts), but it's consistency. We are just not doing it in all three phases, and that's the main thing that's disappointing for us as a team."
The Titans looked like they might pull out another close one after tying the game at 24-24 on a two-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to receiver Cameron Batson with 16 seconds left in the fourth quarter. It capped an 11-play, 74-yard drive that took 1:53 off the clock, and it sent the game into overtime.
"We knew we could come back and win this game," tackle David Quessenberry. "I felt like every guy in that locker room felt like we were going to win that game."
But it didn't happen.
The Jets got the ball first in overtime, and they scored on a 22-yard field goal by kicker Matt Ammendola.
Titans kicker Randy Bullock misfired on a 49-yard field goal, which would have tied it with 19 seconds left, and likely ended the game in a tie.
Tannehill was sacked seven times in the contest, and the Titans struggled to find consistency on offense on a day when they played without starting receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Brown. Tannehill completed 30-of-49 passes for 298 yards in the contest, with a touchdown, but too many drives ended with field goal tries, and not touchdowns.
"We have to play better," said Titans running back Derrick Henry, who ran for 157 yards and a touchdown in the contest. "We have to go back to the drawing board and watch film. We have to practice better. Leaders (need to) lead, (we need to) hold each other accountable, and grow from it."
The Titans missed one opportunity after the next early, which allowed this to be a ball game.
And the previously winless Jets made them pay.
"Obviously, we didn't execute well in critical situations," Tannehill said. "We didn't score when we were down in the red zone – that obviously hurt us. We moved the ball well, and we stalled out in the red zone. We have to be able to score when we get down there.
"We battled back, and we tied it up … but we didn't execute well enough."
Tennessee's defense didn't get it done either – Jets quarterback Zach Wilson completed 21-of-34 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns, with a passer rating of 97.3.
Jets receiver Corey Davis caught four passes for 111 yards and a touchdown against his former team.
After taking a 3-0 lead on a 44-yard field goal by Bullock, the Titans were on the verge of going up two scores early in the second quarter, with the ball at the New York 10.
But center Aaron Brewer, in for an injured Ben Jones, sailed a snap over Tannehill's head, resulting in a 17-yard loss, and the Titans had to settle for another field goal, this one from 46 yards by Bullock.
Cornerback Kristian Fulton put the Titans in scoring position moments later with an interception, but another drive stalled, and the Titans kicked another field goal, this one from 36 yards out, to make it 9-0.
The Jets then drove the ball 75 yards down the field to cut the lead to 9-7 with 4:49 left before halftime on a two-yard touchdown run by Michael Carter.
Then, late in the third quarter, the Jets took a 10-9 lead on a 27-yard field goal by Ammendola.
It was a crazy fourth quarter.
Trailing 10-9 heading into the fourth quarter, the Titans took a 17-10 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Henry, and a successful two-point conversion.
But the Jets quickly tied the game at 17-17 on a three-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to receiver Jamison Crowder with 11:30 left in the contest.
Then came a 53-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Davis, which gave the Jets a 24-17 lead with 9:06 left.
Then came the Titans rally, but an eventual loss.
The Titans travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday.
"Give them credit, but hopefully we can come back out there and play better next week," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said after the game. "Hopefully we can get back on the right track (next week), and get healthy."