NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Here's a look at six things that stood out in Sunday's 10-7 loss to the Falcons.
Feed the beast**
The Titans have used a running-back-by-committee-approach this season, and at times it's worked. I've always been of the belief that if one guy jumped out and separated himself from the pack, he should get more opportunities. Well, Antonio Andrews has done that. Andrews ran hard on Sunday vs. the Falcons, when he racked up 57 yards on just 10 carries. He punished defenders when they tried to tackle him, and ran with an attitude. The Titans need to give the ball to Andrews more often, and let him get into a rhythm.
Young DBs stepped up
Rookie cornerback Cody Riggs wasn't afraid. When he was thrown into the action in the secondary against the Falcons, he rose to the challenge. Riggs made a nice breakup on a ball intended for receiver Julio Jones, and he held his own in his 16 snaps. Across the board, the Titans got solid play with Perrish Cox inactive and Jason McCourty sidelined a good chunk of the game. Coty Sensabaugh played well, and defensive backs Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Marqueston Huff did a solid job as well.
Blown chances at home
Spending time around some former Titans during Homecoming weekend, I was reminded even more about how dominant the Titans used to be at home. Man, have things changed. The Titans are just 1-11 in their last 12 games at Nissan Stadium after Sunday's loss to the Falcons. It was the team's fourth straight home loss this season. The Colts have more wins at Nissan Stadium than the Titans do since the start of the 2014 season. Let that sink in for a minute. The Titans will have to stew over this one for a bit. They now travel to Houston and New Orleans before their next home game on November 15 vs the Panthers.
AFC South still wide open**
The Ravens are 1-5, and they can kiss any chance of winning the AFC North goodbye because the first-place Bengals are 6-0. The Lions, at 1-6, have the same issue in the NFC North – the Packers are 6-0. The Titans, at 1-5, still have a shot if the team can find a way to win some games. The Colts lead the division at just 3-4, and they have a brutal schedule upcoming – at Carolina (6-0), Denver (6-0) and at Atlanta (6-1) -- in the next three weeks. The Texans and Jaguars, both 2-5, have issues, too. The Titans aren't going to compete if they keep losing, but if they can get it together …
Too many drops
The Titans played well enough on defense to win on Sunday, but their offense let the team down. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger's two interceptions were costly, especially the one on his final pass of the game. But Mettenberger was also victimized by drops. Receiver Justin Hunter let a 50-plus yard gain slip through his fingers on a brutal drop, and Kendall Wright failed to haul in a bullet thrown by Mettenberger. Dexter McCluster dropped one, and Dorial Green-Beckham didn't get his head around on a ball intended for him. Per @ESPNStatsInfo, the Titans dropped 11.4 percent of Mettenberger's passes – the highest percentage in NFL in a game this season.
Offensive line was solid
After allowing Marcus Mariota to get clobbered against the Bills, the Titans offensive line stepped up against the Falcons. Mettenberger was sacked just once, and while he was hit on occasion, the protection was mostly solid. Same goes for the line's performance in the running game. The Titans did it with some new bodies in the trenches, first with center Andy Gallick, and then Joe Looney, who stepped in for the rookie in the second half. Looney just joined the Titans last week. Jeremiah Poutasi settled down at right tackle after a tough day against the Bills.