PITTSBURGH -- Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and the first team offense never really got in sync here on Saturday against the Steelers.
Four drives produced zero points, and too many mistakes.
"You have to give credit where credit is due, but we did miss some opportunities," Mariota said after the team's 16-6 loss to the Steelers. "It is good it is preseason, and we can learn from it. But it does leave a sour taste in your mouth."
Mariota finished the game 5-of-8 for 43 yards and an interception on four possessions, and with the Titans trailing 7-0.
It was the first unsteady performance by the first team unit this preseason, after two games with impressive outings. The Titans scored two touchdowns on three drives combined in games against the Packers and Buccaneers.
In three preseason contests, Mariota has completed 11-of-18 passes for 165 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception.
"We've shown flashes of stuff that we can do," Mariota said. "We've shown flashes of potential. But potential means nothing. We have to go out there and continue to get better. Looking at this game, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. … It's a process for us and we continue to build. But it's all part of the process of getting ready for Week One."
The Titans initially moved the ball well in their opening possession against the Steelers. Mariota connected with receiver Tajae Sharpe for a pair of third down completions, and both produced first downs, as the Titans moved the ball into Pittsburgh territory after taking over at their own eight-yard line.
But that drive ended with an incompletion, on a ball that landed short of receiver Corey Davis.
After the game, Mariota blamed himself for the missed opportunity. With the coverage, Mariota said Davis was thinking "home run shot" and "I should have been thinking the same thing because he was uncovered. That's on me, and we'll get it fixed."
"I should have made that throw on third down, and given Corey a chance to go score," Mariota said. "They busted a coverage, and we should have made the most of that one."
Davis, however, insisted on taking the blame.
"Miscommunication," Davis said. "I take the blame for that. It was definitely on me. It was my fault."
Things never really looked good after that.
The Titans went three-and-out in their next possession, and the third drive failed to get going after Mariota was sacked for a seven-yard loss on the first play.
Mariota was sacked twice in the contest, and he was intercepted by Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds on a ball intended for receiver Taywan Taylor on the team's fourth possession. Mariota was 0-for-2 targeting Davis.
Back-up quarterback Blaine Gabbert replaced Mariota late in the second quarter.
The Titans face the Vikings in preseason game No.4 on Thursday night at Nissan Stadium.
"Take no credit away from them, they are a great team," Davis said. "But most of the things, it's things we need to fix. Today we weren't firing like we should have.
"We have some weapons, we have the talent. We just need to put it together. It is kind of humbling us a little bit, but we can get it fixed."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 of the preseason on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at Heinz Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 of the preseason on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at Heinz Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)