Titans' skid now at 2 straight losses, 5 of last 6
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have lost five of their
last six games and are hoping to turn things around down the stretch
with one simple message: The playoffs start now.
A franchise that last reached postseason in 2008 sees the remaining six
games all as postseason contests. The Titans have lost two straight,
including a 30-27 loss to Indianapolis on Thursday night that ended
hopes of challenging for the AFC South title. Tennessee remains
confident and points to four losses by seven points or less as a sign
of how close the team is winning.
Coach Mike Munchak said Friday the Titans (4-6) understand the
challenge ahead. They start a three-game road trip Nov. 24 at Oakland
with trips to Indianapolis and Denver, and four of their final six are
away from home.
"We know we're probably the only ones that believe we can do it,"
Munchak said. "You hear about teams every year that do something, and
so it's kind of our turn to show we can do it."
Safety Michael Griffin, one of only seven Titans left on the roster
from this franchise's last playoff appearance, said they realize
whether they finish 10-6, 9-7 or 8-8 lies within their hands.
"How we approach this and how we play these next six games will
determine what happens in January," Griffin said.
First, the Titans are getting a long weekend off to rest up from two
games in five days. They are not due back until Tuesday, and safety
Bernard Pollard said they need to rest up and get their minds right for
the final six games. None of the Titans are happy at being in a
position where any leeway is gone.
"We have to play smarter football," Pollard said. "We dominate a team
for a half, then we come back out of halftime and don't do a good job.
They run the ball down our throat, they hit some tricky plays. So I
just think it doesn't matter what our schedule looks like. We got six
games, left, and we got six games that we need to win."
The Titans blew a 14-0 lead after the first half and a 17-6 edge at
halftime. The defense that has kept Tennessee in so many games this
season wilted. They allowed the Colts to put together four drives of 11
plays or more with Indianapolis simply playing keepaway for the final
2:32 of the first half and the first 6:27 of the third quarter.
By the time Tennessee touched the ball offensively again, it was midway
through the third quarter and the Titans went three-and-out. The Titans
allowed the Colts to run 10 times for 60 yards in an 11-play drive for
the clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"We as a defense, we got to get off the field," Pollard said. "We had
guys in gaps, missed tackles. Me, myself ... when I hit a guy, got to
make a play. We can't allow their tight ends to squeeze by. No matter
what's going on, we have to find a way to get off the field, and we
didn't do that."
Offensively, the Titans did well enough in their first game with Ryan Fitzpatrick taking over at quarterback for the injured Jake Locker.
Fitzpatrick was near perfect in helping the Titans jump out to the
early lead using a no-huddle, hurry-up offense, and he drove them 80
yards in four plays with a 19-yard TD pass to Delanie Walker with 1:54
left giving them a chance at an onside kick the Colts recovered.
For a second straight game, the Titans couldn't recover the onside
kick. Munchak said they have to study harder to make fewer mistakes and
"You just can't leave games to that situation assuming that you're
going to get that ball back because it doesn't happen very often,"
Notes: Receiver Justin Hunter is being evaluated for a concussion after
landing hard in the fourth quarter. ... Munchak said LB Moise Fokou has
a good chance to return at Oakland and hopes C Brian Schwenke (ankle)
can be back on the field next week. ... WR and returner Damian Williams
(hip) remains week to week.
Tennessee general manager Ruston Webster thinks Mike Munchak helped the franchise that drafted him…