Titans waste chance to win AFC South but still control playoff destiny – Tennessee Titans Blog


The AFC South Division title was there for the taking, but the Tennessee Titans40-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers delayed the possibility until next week.

The Titans got off to a slow start Sunday night at snowy Lambeau Field, allowing touchdowns on Green Bay’s first three drives.

“I don’t think you can do that against anybody. The mistakes that we made and the start that we had, I don’t think you can beat anybody. There was just too much inconsistencies,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.

The offense managed to run only 14 plays combined in their first three drives before finding the end zone on their fourth possession, which was capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to tight end Jonnu Smith.

Even the rushing attack got off to a slow start. The Packers held Derrick Henry to 1.2 yards after contact per rush in the first half, well under his season average of 2 yards after contact. Henry finished the game with 23 carries for 98 yards, which broke his nine-game streak of 100-yard rushing performances on the road.

Slow starts, especially in the first quarter, have hurt the Titans multiple times this season. Tennessee holds the tiebreaker over the Indianapolis Colts and will have a chance to secure their first AFC South title since 2008 next week with a win against the Houston Texans. But they cannot have a slow start as they have had in each of their five losses.

If the Titans would have beaten the Packers, they would have been one of four teams to clinch a playoff spot in the AFC. As it stands now, only three teams have clinched a spot in the conference, representing the fewest in a conference entering Week 17 since 2013.

Pivotal play: The Titans had just scored a touchdown on a 45-yard run by Tannehill to make the score 19-14. On the next drive, running back Aaron Jones broke off a 59-yard run with a good chunk of them coming after the officials missed him stepping out of bounds. Wide receiver Davante Adams caught his third touchdown pass of the day two plays later to give Green Bay a 26-14 lead.

Describe the game in two words: Total letdown. It was clear which was the superior team, as the Packers outgained the Titans in total yards 448-260. Green Bay outclassed the Titans defensively with a pass rush — led by Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith — that constantly put pressure on Tannehill, forcing him to uncharacteristically throw two interceptions.

Troubling trend: The Packers scored on four of their five red zone visits against Tennessee. Entering this week, the Titans were 29th in the NFL allowing opposing teams to score on 70.9% of their trips to the red zone. Additionally, even though the Titans got a sack from Wyatt Ray, they didn’t do a good job of getting pressure on quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Ray’s sack was the 15th of the season for the Titans — the lowest total among all NFL teams.

Bold prediction for next week: Wide receivers A.J. Brown and Corey Davis will both cross the 1,000-yard receiving plateau in the first half. Davis needs 55 yards to post his first 1,000-yard receiving season, while Brown needs 76 yards to go over 1,000 yards for the second time.



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