Buck Reising, Tennessee Titans reporter and host of Tackling Music City, provides three observations from the team’s 21-0 Week 6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Where to even begin. The 2018 Tennessee Titans continue one of the most perplexing campaigns of any NFL team in recent memory with a shutout loss on their home field two weeks after defeating the defending Super Bowl champions in the same stadium. Here are the three things you need to know from Sunday’s proceedings:
- Almost Record-Breaking
- Tennessee’s performance was abysmal for a variety of reasons but chief among them was the 11(!) sacks of quarterback Marcus Mariota by a voracious Baltimore pass rush. Through five weeks of the 2018 campaign, the Titans quarterbacks had been sacked a total of nine times.
- “It’s frustrating,” said left tackle Taylor Lewan. “Being seen as a leader on this team, that’s on me and on us and we’ll do the best job we can to fix that.”
- The constant pressure applied by the Ravens lead to a franchise record sack total by Baltimore; the NFL record for most sacks taken by a quarterback is 12. Mariota became the first quarterback to be sacked at least 11 times since Greg McElroy for the New York Jets against the (then) San Diego Chargers in 2012, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Tennessee’s offense converted only once one third down out of the ten total they faced and drummed up only 106 net yards of offense.
- Third and Not Long Enough, Apparently
- Earlier in the week, Vrabel had cited the Raven offensive line’s ability to consistently keep quarterback Joe Flacco upright as one of the primary reasons for the improvement in his play and their offense from previous seasons. Flacco pretty much had his way with the Titans pass defense, in part, because of a virtually non-existent pass rush from the home team. The Ravens offense converted an astonishing 12 of their 17 third down attempts (71%), with third-and-long proving to be no great difficulty due to the absence of pressure.
“It was third down,” said cornerback Logan Ryan. “I mean everything early in the game was third down. We are a pretty good third-down defense. They are pretty good third-down offense. They came out, did some tempo, tried to line up and hurry us up in the beginning of the game. We just didn’t get enough stops on third down. That’s on me, it’s on the secondary, that’s on the defense. If we get off on third down like we’ve been all year, those are field goals, those our punts and we didn’t do that today.”
- Tennessee was able, however, to disrupt their opponent’s passing game on a 2nd-and-eight play with 1:04 remaining in the first half. Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo jostled Flacco on a stunt just as we was firing a deep pass intended for wide receiver Willie Snead IV that Ryan tipped up for safety Kevin Byard to come down with his first interception of the season and the lone highlight of the Titans day.
- With the final margin on 21-0, Sunday became the first time that the Titans were held scoreless in Nashville and the first time shut out at home since the franchise was the Oilers on Dec. 11, 1976 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com.
- “Bad coaching, not good execution, that’s how it goes,” said coach Mike Vrabel. “There’s no excuse for it. We have to be better on all levels. It starts with me and I’ve got to do a better job, and I will. We’ve got to coach better, we’ve got to play better and it’s not just the protections, it’s not just the third downs, it’s everything. We’re right back to where we started at, we’re 3-3. We were 0-0 to start the season. We’ll get back to work here in a few minutes and improve.”
- Sunday’s loss to the Ravens was not an offensive anomaly, though. Tennessee has not scored a touchdown in back-to-back losses in Weeks 5 and 6 and sports a point differential of -20 on the season, good for 22nd in the league pending the results of the Sunday and Monday Night Football games.