When it comes to good luck the Titans have none at all as they blew a big lead as the Indianapolis Colts scored three times in the fourth quarter led by Andrew Luck’s two touchdown passes and Frank Gore powering in from the right side to erase a 27-14 deficit.
The Titans didn’t give up without a fight, however. Marcus Mariota drove Tennessee 80 yards in two minutes to make the score 35-33. Mariota was 5-of-7 on the drive for 69 yards. Jalston Fowler then took it in from the one.
Then the fateful two-point conversion… Fowler got the ball again but was unable to get in the end zone off of left tackle leaving the score 35-33 with 51 seconds remaining. From there the Colts ran out the clock as Luck remained undefeated in his career against the Titans.
“Well, obviously extremely disappointing,” said Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt. “I guess not much to say except that we couldn’t make the play we could have made to win that game.”
Many pundits argued that the Titans play-calling got too conservative after climbing to a 27-14 lead but Marcus Mariota disagreed. “Not at all. I felt the coaches did a great job calling the plays,” he said. “Myself, I’ve got to do a better job of executing them.”
Blowing a double-digit lead late did not set well with the Titan defense. “We just have to eliminate those big plays. We gave up that big play at the end of the game, and we couldn’t defense the way we needed to,” said Tennessee defensive tackle Durell Casey. “Started off pretty good, but just have to figure out a way to finish. We know how the Colts are. They are a team that can keep on fighting, and they are not going to give up to the last second. You know, we kept our head down and kept trying to go, but we just couldn’t make the plays when we needed.”
Colt’s head coach Chuck Pagano after publicly criticizing his franchise quarterback last week seemed impressed on how Luck was able to overcome his mistakes against the Titans. “He’s a gritty guy and he’s able to move past the bad plays, put them behind him and put something together like he put together today,” he said.
After starting the season 0-2 Pagano is finally seeing things turn around for his team. “We’re a work in progress,” he said. “We’re grateful that we got a win and we got on the board. Hopefully now we can go back and go to work and fix what we need to fix and get better next week.”
Many things led to the downfall of the Titans. Up 24-14 they drove to the Colts’ 1-yard line but had to settle for a field goal. Mariota’s interception also helped turn the tide as well as Luck being able to move the ball effortlessly on a 98-yard drive that did not take much time off the clock. “It was huge. We got up there, and there was a special look in the guys’ eyes, said Luck on the importance of the 98-yard drive to pull closer at 27-21. “You’re sitting on the 2-yard line. This is a test. If we can do this, we’ll have a chance, and if we can’t we won’t have a chance,” he continued. “It’s good to get a 98-yard touchdown drive, and a great job by the guys up front. Again, overcoming some penalties in that drive early I think as well, and what a great job.”
Titans linebacker Zach Brown thought it was a missed opportunity. “If you’re up like that, you allow your defense to finish the game up. Can’t make silly mistakes,” he said. “When it’s time for you to make a play, you have to make a play. Yes, this one definitely got away from us.”
The young Titans are a work in progress. “We’re a very young team and we have to learn how to finish. That’s the bottom line, said Titans linebacker Bryan Orakpo. “We have to learn how to finish. We are still the work in progress, so to speak, because we have so many young guys on this team trying to do the best they can.”
“I think it’s still early. I want them to make sure they understand we could’ve been 2-1 and what we have to do to get to 2-2 because I feel like we can do that,” said Whisenhunt. “The biggest thing I said to the team today is that they stuck together and they fought and there was a lot of things that that game had a lot of ups and downs, but the one thing about this football team is, we’re a better football team and we’re going to continue to get better and we’re going to win some of these games.”
The Titans bye week comes early this season as they will be off this weekend. They return home October 11 when they host Rex Ryan’s upstart Buffalo Bills. Kickoff is at 1pm and the game will be aired on CBS.
– Dave Weinthal
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