Titans' offense struggling with extended touchdown drought
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans made a coaching change after winning their first playoff game in 14 years to rev up Marcus Mariota and the offense.
So far, the Titans have taken a major step backward on offense with their first-time head coach and his offensive coordinator who had never called plays in a regular-season game until last month.
"We're not going to have a mid-season report," coach Mike Vrabel said Monday. "We're not going to have a State of the Union Address. We're going to try to get better. We're going to try to improve it. We're going to try to take what we have and give them the best opportunity to go make some plays. We have to get the quarterback going and improve this week."
The Titans (3-3) have little time to address the offensive problems before leaving for the franchise's first game in London against the Los Angeles Chargers (4-2).
They now have lost two straight games in which they didn't score a single touchdown. The skid follows a three-game winning streak where they won a third game without scoring a TD with coordinator Matt LaFleur and the Titans showing plenty of creativity to work around a variety of injuries on offense.
The offensive woes include:
— Only 87 points scored, ahead of only Arizona (82) and Buffalo (76) — a team that beat Tennessee 13-12 on Oct. 7.
— A 21-0 loss to Baltimore was the franchise's first shutout at home since leaving Texas for Tennessee in 1997.
— A season-low 106 yards total offense.
— Derrick Henry ran a season-low seven times against Baltimore in a run game Vrabel said, "We weren't able to commit to."
— A passing attack that ranks 30th in the NFL, ahead of only Buffalo and Arizona, a pair of teams starting rookie quarterbacks.
— Giving up 11 sacks in a single game after allowing only nine through the first five games. Marcus Mariota was sacked more times than he completed passes (10). According to NFL research, since 1960 only the Packers gave up a higher percentage of sacks on pass attempts (44 percent) in a loss to Detroit in 1965 than the Titans (42.3 percent)
"We've got to get back to the drawing board, continue to work on our process and see what we can do better," Mariota said.
The Titans have talent with a pair of Heisman Trophy winners in Mariota (2014) and Henry (2015), a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle in Taylor Lewan and a right tackle in Jack Conklin who was an All Pro in 2016 as a rookie. But they are missing three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker who broke his leg in the opener with nobody replacing his production yet.
Tennessee also has the tiebreaker in the struggling AFC South over both Jacksonville and Houston, each at 3-3. The Titans get their bye when they return from London before a visit to Dallas and a home game Nov. 11 against New England.
"We have to improve," Vrabel said. "We've got a logjam in our division, and we've got to get on a plane and we've got to go to London, and we've got to play a tough opponent and we have to win. We've got to find a way to win."
Notes: The Titans added WR Devin Ross to the practice squad and let go WR Chad Hansen. The Titans put Ross on injured reserve during their final roster cuts at the end of the preseason.
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