Buck Reising, Tennessee Titans reporter and host of Tackling Music City, provides three observations from the team’s Week 11 38-10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — 5-5. That is the record of the Tennessee Titans after 11 weeks of this season and it is emblematic both of them and of the state of professional football as a whole; no one team is all that much better or worse than anyone else. You can smack around Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots one week and then lose to a team that started the year 1-5 the very next.
Here is what stood out Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium:
- Prayers Up for Pees
- Tennessee defensive coordinator Dean Pees suffered an undisclosed medical issue in the first quarter of Sunday’s game and was taken from the press box to an Indianapolis hospital for further observation. Pees reportedly was able to walk out of the booth under his own power but was asked to sit in a wheelchair while being taken to transportation from the stadium.
- “Dean’s doing OK,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said in his post-game press conference. “They took him to the hospital, they evaluated him, they’re going to keep him overnight for some tests but everything that I’ve heard, as of now, has been very positive. He should make a full recovery and be fine, you know, whatever he had going on (in the press box).
- Pees, 69, retired from the same position with the Baltimore Ravens at the end of the 2017-2018 season before Vrabel was able to lure him to Nashville. In Pees’ abscence, Vrabel took over defensive play-calling for the remainder of the contest,
- Mariota Down
- In addition to Pees’ medical incident, quarterback Marcus Mariota appears to have re-aggravated the elbow injury that he sustained in the team’s season opener in Miami. Mariota was sacked by defensive lineman Denico Autry in the final minute of the first half and remained down on the turf. He was escorted to the locker room early by the training staff and was replaced by back-up Blaine Gabbert, who finished out the game.
- “I asked (Mariota) how he was on the field and he said he would be OK,” Vrabel said of Mariota. “You know, we made the decision to go with Blaine.”
- Vrabel had an interesting response to what went into the decision to sit his starting quarterback and let the back-up ride it out.
- “I just think, you know, making sure there was an effective way to take care of the quarterback,” said Vrabel of his logic. “I think sometimes you get in these games and all our players want to finish the game and they want to compete and they want to fight. I definitely appreciate that in them but at some point in time you have to get some other guys in the game, take a look at some other guys. We did that defensively. Because, to move forward and win, we’re going to need everybody.”
- Assumptions will be made about the security of Mariota’s position after those comments by his coach and because of the offensive execution prior to the injury. Mariota completed 10 of his 13 attempts for 85 yards but took several detrimental sacks (one to take his team out of field goal range on their opening drive) and threw a horrific interception directly to cornerback Quincy Wilson in the second quarter that led to an Indianapolis field goal and a 10-0 lead. Mariota’s inconsistency is his most consistent issue and it held true today after a couple of quality starts the two weeks previous.
- Andy Luck’s Streaking
- Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has never lost to the Tennessee Titans; he now boasts a 10-0 career record against them. Not only did Luck’s undefeated streak survive today at Lucas Oil but his run of games in which he has thrown at least three touchdown passes was prolonged as well.
- After besting Tennessee, Luck tied Dan Marino for the league’s third-longest stretch of consecutive games with three or more touchdown passes at seven. The Titan Killer savaged the opposing defense, completing 23 of his 29 passes with 297 yards and the three scores. Luck also was not sacked for the fifth consecutive game.