EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – **A week after winning a dandy, the Titans turned in a dud here on Sunday. The offense and defense struggled equally in a 30-8 loss to the Jets. The biggest highlight of the day for the Titans was a 41-yard touchdown catch by quarterback Marcus Mariota.
But big plays were few and far between in this one, as the Titans fell behind early and never really made a game of it while dropping to 3-10 with three games to play. The Jets improved to 8-5.
"Well, that was not good,'' Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey said afterward. "The first half was a good example of if you play poorly in all three phases, you're going to have a hard time against a good football team, let alone anyone in this league. We played poorly in all three phases for one reason or another.
"Give credit to (the Jets). They played a good game, a solid game and didn't make a lot of mistakes. And we made lots (of mistakes). It has to be corrected."
Mariota completed 21-of-39 passes for 274 yards in the contest, along with an interception. He was also sacked five times, and was under pressure throughout.
Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had plenty of success. He completed 21-of-36 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
This one got ugly early for the Titans, who turned in a thrilling 42-39 win over the Jaguars the previous Sunday and had been competitive every other week under Mularkey. The Titans are now 2-4 since Mularkey replaced Ken Whisenhunt.
"It's tough, (but) this is the NFL,'' Mariota said. "I thought we were going to be able to use the momentum a little bit (from last week), but the Jets played well. They did a good job of holding us as an offense, and making plays."
The Tennessee Titans take on the New York Jets in Week 14 at MetLife Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
The Jets took an early 7-0 lead on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to receiver Eric Decker, which capped off a 14-play, 80-yard drive.
The Jets expanded the lead to 13-0 early in the second quarter on a pair of field goals from kicker Randy Bullock.
Then things got really sloppy, as the Jets scored back-to-back touchdowns on defensive lapses from the Titans.
A 16-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to running back Bilal Powell was made possible because of a bunch of missed tackles, and that made it 20-0.
Mularkey called his team's tackling "questionable" in the game.
When the Jets got the ball back, Fitzpatrick threw the ball to uncovered receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught the pass and beat everyone to the end zone to make it 27-0 at halftime. Mularkey said the team's headsets went out just prior to the series, and the coaches weren't able to communicate with the players on the field.
"It's one of those things where when things get ugly, they get ugly,'' linebacker Brian Orakpo said.
The Titans were outgained 324-72 in the first half while managing just four first downs compared to 17 for the Jets. The Titans were outgained 439-292 in the game.
The Titans didn't cross midfield until the 4:16 mark of the third quarter on a 28-yard pass from Mariota to running back Dexter McCluster, which set up the play of the game for the Titans.
On a 1st and 10 from the New York 41, running back Antonio Andrews threw to Mariota, who caught the pass on the right sideline and raced to the end zone. It's a play the Titans worked on in practices during the week. A two-point conversion pass from Mariota to McCluster made it 27-8 with 4:09 remaining in the third quarter.
Mariota caught two touchdown passes in college at Oregon. It was his first career catch in the NFL.
"The guys did a great job of selling it, and I just had an opportunity,'' Mariota said. "I played receiver growing up, and had experience in high school as a receiver. I was pretty comfortable."
The Jets added another late field goal from Bullock to account for the final margin.
In the contest, Delanie Walker broke Frank Wycheck's record for most catches in a season by a tight end.
The Titans travel to face the Patriots next Sunday.
"It's one game, man,'' receiver Harry Douglass said. "We know the team that we are, and what we are capable of. It's definitely not the team that we are, what we showed today. We are definitely going to come back and work even harder and come ready to play next week."