The Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars were neck and neck going into Sunday’s games versus the Cardinals and the Seahawks respectively. While both teams knew what was on the line, the Titans unfortunately did not hold up their end of the bargain when it comes to keeping pace with the Jaguars. Tennessee fell in and could not escape the trap game against the Arizona Cardinals, losing 12-7. The loss puts the Titans one game behind the Jaguars for the division lead with three games remaining. The good thing for the Titans is they play the Jaguars the last game of the season and that could allow them to win the division that day. The bad thing is the Jaguars are not falling off like they previously would have. So with that being said, the Titans have to win the rest of their games heading into that battle. Before they can think about doing all of that, they must clean up the issues they had offensively.
The defense held up their end of the bargain against the Cardinals. Any time you only give up 12 points to an opponent, the offense for your team has to be pretty bad to not win that game. Well, not only was the Titans offense bad, it was downright ugly. After the Titans scored seven points in the first half, they never scored again the rest of the game. One big issue that reared its ugly head in this one is the play of quarterback Marcus Mariota. The third-year quarterback received a lot of grief from Titans fans wondering if the Titans need to move past him and look for another franchise quarterback. While the grief may be overblown, there is an issue with Marcus. His touch seems to be off and his throws seem to be carrying a little further than usual. With how he is throwing the football, the only suggestion that can be made is for him to visit the film room. His mechanics are the reason for some of these inaccurate passes. Lots of times, you see Marcus not driving through the football and being stiff on his back leg. That causes him to be high with his throws and also affects the accuracy. Along with the mechanical issues, Marcus has also made some mistakes that are quite frankly unlike him to do. The result in the Cardinals game were two costly interceptions in big moments. Mariota has to get back to having solid mechanics and being better prepared for what he is going to see. The next game versus the 49ers should give him a chance to get back on track.
While everyone is speaking on Mariota and his struggles, no one has talked about the issues that DeMarco Murray is having running the football. The veteran running back has only had over four games in which he has eclipsed 50 yards rushing. After the big season he had in his first year in Nashville, this type of production has been disappointing. Sure, some of the issue is the offensive line is not as physical as they were in the 2016 season, but sometimes he is running more laterally than up the field and it seems like he does not hit the hole quite as hard. Whether it be an injury or not, it seems that he is not the same running back and that Derrick Henry is just outperforming him at this point. The fgood thing for him is that he has the 49ers up next on Sunday afternoon but this is not the same DeMarco Murray Titans fans got used to seeing in 2016. If they are to make the playoffs, they need Murray to get it together along with his offensive line. The running game was the identity of the Titans last season and now no one can really tell you their identity there if you truly watch their games.
The Titans have now put themselves in a difficult spot and they essentially have to win out in what amounts to playoff games each weekend. The journey starts with their matchup Sunday versus the 49ers. Will they show up or will they fall into another trap this weekend?
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