It’s déjà vu all over again for the Tennessee Titans. The Titans fell to 1-3 after being unable once again to hold a double-digit lead against the visiting Buffalo Bills to lose 14-13.
Marcus Mariota threw an interception late that sealed the fate of the Titnas. With his 68.1 passer rating, the number two overall pick wished he could face Jameis Winston and company every week instead of the rest of the NFL.
Much like 2014 the Titans opened the year with an impressive win only to win one more game the rest of the season.
The 2015 Titans don’t look that bad. They’ve been in just about every game. Their last two losses came after losing double-digit leads late. “I don’t know. We’ll have to look at the tape. Obviously, everybody is frustrated. This isn’t the way you want to finish games. Like I’ve said, it’s been a reoccurring theme, so something has to change,” said Titan cornerback Jason McCourty about the rash of last minute losses the following two games.
Titan head coach Ken Whisenhunt came to the defense of his young team and their inability to hold a lead late. “It’s part of being a young team. We’ve got a lot of young guys in there that are trying to learn how to play this game. We’ve got some new guys. There’s no magic formula,” he said. “We’ve got to make a play. We had some opportunities to make plays today and we didn’t, but what do you do? You think we’re just going to lay down and quit? We’re going to keep working. We’re going to get better and we’re going to make those plays.”
If one did not know better one would have thought this game was all Tennessee. The Buffalo offense was held in check most of the day and the Titans held the ball over ten minutes longer than the Bills. “Our offense was on the field for a long time. The defense was doing a heck of a job all game,” said Titans running back Dexter McCluster. “It’s definitely frustrating when you know that you out-physicalled a team, but they find a way to make a play when it matters.”
Bills head coach Rex Ryan felt fortunate to get out of Nashville with the win. “We are fortunate to be 3-2, there’s no question about it,” he said. “We will take it. I am happy as heck we got the win.”
Bills QB Tyrod Taylor despite only completing five passes all day helped rally the troops the second half to improve the team’s record to 3-2 and second place in the AFC East behind New England. When asked about only completing five passes on the day he kind of blew it off. “We are fortunate to be 3-2, there’s no question about it. We will take it. I am happy as heck we got the win,” he said.”
Taylor took some hard shots late from the Titans but stayed in the game. He is questionable for Sunday’s game, however. “I’m doing good. It was nothing major, so I’m ready to roll,” he said.
Taylor ran for the go-ahead score late and Tennessee was unable to rally. “At the end of the day, it’s a win. It might look ugly, but we went out there and got the win, so we are happy about that,” said Bills linebacker Preston Brown.
“That’s what Tyrod (Taylor) does. We go into games expecting that he’s going to make plays. He’s a pretty spectacular athlete,” said teammate wide receiver Chris Hogan. “That’s why he’s becoming such a great quarterback. He’s able to make plays with his feet, he’s able to make plays with his arm, so when we needed some big plays, Tyrod stepped up.”
“Once you get a couple of these, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth,” said Mariota. “You don’t want to go through that again, so we’ll learn to finish games. Obviously we can improve on those things and we’ll go from there.”
The Titans remain at home this weekend. They will host the dysfunctional Miami Dolphins Sunday at Nissan Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 1pm and the game will be aired on CBS.
– Dave Weinthal
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