NASHVILLE – The 1,000th all-time game in franchise history was a forgettable one for the Tennessee Titans.
The Bengals came into Nissan Stadium on Sunday and walked away with a 20-16 win over the Titans.
"All four phases, we didn't do a good enough job today," Titans coach Mike Vrabel. "Coaching, special teams, offense and defense."
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed 22-of-34 passes for 291 yards in the contest, but the Titans stalled in the red zone time and again and had to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns.
Running back Derrick Henry had little or no room to run all game, and he finished the contest with just 38 yards on 17 carries.
Defensively, the Titans couldn't get stops, especially when it mattered most.
"We couldn't stop the run, and we couldn't run the football," Titans safety Kevin Byard said. "They were just being more physical than us, bottom line."
The Titans fell to 7-4 with the loss.
"It is very tough – nobody wants to lose," linebacker David Long Jr. said. "But the thing is, this is a family, and we've been here before. We have to get back in the film room, lick our wounds, and get back to (being) us."
It was a struggle throughout the game for the Titans.
The Titans took a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 33-yard field goal by kicker Caleb Shudak, which capped off a 10-play, 39-yard drive that included big third down catches from tight end Austin Hooper and receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.
Minutes later, the Bengals tied it at 3-3 on a 47-yard field goal by kicker Evan McPherson.
The Titans then took the lead 10-3 in an unpredictable way. Tannehill connected with Henry on a 69-yard screen pass, but Henry had the ball knocked from his grasp as he approached the end zone. Rookie receiver Treylon Burks pounced on the loose football in the end zone for a touchdown.
But the Bengals answered back with a long scoring drive, and tied the game at 10-10 on a seven-yard touchdown run by running back Samaje Perine with 1:55 before halftime.
The Titans missed a great chance for a halftime lead, but a drive stalled inside the Bengals 20, and Shudak missed a 35-yard kick with four seconds left and it was 10-10 at the break.
After the Bengals took a 13-10 lead with 2:35 left in the third quarter on a 38-yard field goal by McPherson, the Titans answered back quickly on a 24-yard kick by Shudak, which was set up by a beautiful 52-yard catch by Burks, and it was 13-13 at the end of the third quarter.
The Bengals put together a long drive on their next possession, however, and capped it off with a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Burrow to Tee Higgins with 13:42 left in the fourth quarter.
The Titans cut the lead to 20-16 on a 38-yard field goal by Shudak with 6:07 left, but they couldn't get the ball back.
A late-game unnecessary roughness call on defensive lineman Kevin Strong, who was called for hitting a defenseless player on a late Bengals field goal, allowed the Bengals to run out the clock.
"This one, it definitely hurts," Henry said. "But at the end of the day, you have to learn and grow from it. We have to come in tomorrow and watch the film and see what we need to correct to get better and focus on improving for the next one."
The Titans return to action next Sunday in Philadelphia against the Eagles.