NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have completely nothing on the road Thursday evening besides satisfaction and the possibility to construct some momentum by snapping a five-game skid.
Getting as wholesome as potential for his or her regular-season finale in Jacksonville (7-8) with the AFC South title on the road issues rather more.
The Titans (7-8) are preventing for his or her fourth straight playoff berth due to the franchise’s longest skid since 2015 after a 19-14 loss to the NFL’s worst team in Houston. Now they face a fast turnaround internet hosting Dallas (11-4) with the Cowboys needing to win out to win the NFC East.
As a lot as coach Mike Vrabel would possibly wish to relaxation each starter and deal with this as an exhibition, he additionally has the NFL’s most banged-up crew having used a league-high 82 gamers. That comes a 12 months after setting the league record with 91 players in a non-strike season.
His message Monday was easy and quick: “Say much less and do extra.” Vrabel additionally calls this an incredible alternative for gamers making the most of the possibility to play.
“We’ll simply preserve having to search out guys that wish to try this,” Vrabel stated.
The protection. Sure, as banged up as this unit is and regardless of giving up 10 factors within the fourth quarter of their loss to Houston, the Titans held their tenth opponent to twenty factors or much less. Twice, they held Houston to area targets after getting contained in the Titans 10.
However the banged-up secondary has allowed opponents to throw at will towards Tennessee, and the Titans gave up three of their 4 greatest performs within the fourth quarter on move performs, together with a 37-yarder that arrange the successful landing.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The offense. Malik Willis scored his first NFL landing on a 14-yard run with an help from offensive lineman Jordan Roos. However the rookie quarterback had as many throws (23) as Derrick Henry had dashing makes an attempt. Henry ran for 126 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry with a 48-yard touchdown run.
Willis was sacked 4 instances by halftime behind the patchwork offensive line. He completed 14 of 23 for 99 yards passing with each interceptions within the fourth quarter, the final on the ultimate play in the end zone with Treylon Burks manhandled with no flag.
The Titans received Burks again from a concussion that price him two video games. Willis threw to him late within the first quarter for a 20-yard completion worn out by a maintain on rookie proper sort out Nicholas Petit-Frere. Burks was focused formally 3 times with no catches, although he did have one carry for 15 yards.
Veteran huge receiver Robert Woods. He caught all 4 passes thrown to him for a team-high 30 yards, and he leads the Titans with 44 receptions for 448 yards. His greatest asset? He’s been accessible each recreation regardless of the left ACL tear that ended his 2021 season.
Derrick Henry. Sure, he’s the NFL’s second-leading rusher has 1,429 yards and 13 TDs, however he additionally has 5 fumbles within the Titans’ five-game skid. The three-time Professional Bowler and two-time NFL dashing chief got here into this season with a mixed 11 fumbles over his earlier six seasons.
“That’s three video games in a row I’ve fumbled the ball and no excuse,” Henry stated. “I must be higher.”
The Titans may have to achieve the playoffs simply to have an opportunity for quarterback Ryan Tannehill to return from an injured proper ankle. They put two beginning offensive linemen on injured reserve final week after shedding their three-time Professional Bowl left sort out in September.
They’ve 18 at the moment on injured reserve with one spot left to deliver a participant again this season. LB Zach Cunningham, activated off injured reserve Friday, couldn’t end the loss to Houston with one other harm to his elbow. Titans OLB Bud Dupree additionally harm his chest and was restricted to twenty-eight snaps.
Petit-Frere, who got here in with an injured ankle, was changed by Le’Raven Clark within the second half. That left the Titans with solely left guard Aaron Brewer from opening week as the one beginning offensive lineman nonetheless accessible.
6 — This franchise at the moment has a six-year streak of successful data at stake. The Titans additionally haven’t misplaced six straight video games because the skid that cost coach Ken Whisenhunt his job after a 1-6 begin to his second season in 2015.
Heal up as a lot as potential for Week 18 in a recreation whose date and kickoff has but to be set. Having a division title on the road may push the sport towards Jacksonville to the NFL’s remaining recreation of the common season on Jan. 8.
Comply with Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker
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