Titans Cough Up Game, Opportunity Vs. Colts

Posted at 8:36 AM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 10:15:02-04

We should have known better. This, after all, is a Titans team that regularly delivers heartache.

If we were smart, we wouldn't have gotten our hopes up Sunday because we knew what could happen. But just when the Titans started to make people believe that this team was different, heartbreak revisited Nissan Stadium in a 34-26 loss to the Colts.

Tennessee fans are conditioned for disappointment. The Titans had won just three of their last 19 home games entering Sunday and had lost nine straight to the nemesis Colts.

But there were reasons to think this team was different. Consecutive wins over the Dolphins and Browns gave the Titans their first winning streak since 2013 and, at 3-3, they had already equaled their win total from all of last season.

The Titans were flirting with us. After years of feeling unloved by our favorite team, they were the pretty girl that attracted our attention and got us dreaming about future Sundays together even with many questions left unanswered.

If it seemed a little too good to be true for a team that won just five games total the past two seasons, it probably was.

On Sunday, a lot of the warts that have plagued the Titans reappeared.

The defense failed to disrupt Andrew Luck or the Indianapolis passing attack, sacking the league's most sacked quarterback just twice. Luck continued his mastery of the Titans throwing for 353 yards and three touchdowns, including what proved to be the game-winning 7-yard TD to former Titan Jack Doyle with 1:55 to go.

Marcus Mariota again showed an inconsistent side, throwing a pair of touchdowns but also missing several easy throws and then fumbling away the Titans' chances right after the Colts took the lead. Ty McNeil stripped Mariota in the pocket and Robert Mathis scooped up the fumble and scooted into the end zone for another Indianapolis win in Nashville.

And special teams, a significant issue all season, hurt the Titans again. After driving the field for a touchdown on the opening possession, holder Brett Kern couldn't handle the snap on the extra point and was thrown for a loss.

Then, when the Colts rolled the dice attempting an onside kick after taking a 14-6 lead, special teams cost the Titans three more points. Phillip Supernaw was in position to field the kick, but let it bounce off his arms and onto the turf where the Colts recovered leading to a field goal.

These are not the Titans of the past two years. Those teams would've been done at that point, down 17-6 and on the way to a blowout loss. This team fought back with a long touchdown drive before halftime and 10 fourth quarter points to take the lead.

But just like the pretty girl in the bar, the Titans don't have staying power. It's going to take winning a few games like Sunday for this team, and its fans, to truly believe they are back to being contenders.

And yes, it will take a win over the Colts at some point.

Many of us thought that victory was going to come Sunday, but it's a long road from the bottom of the league to the top. The Titans are on that road, but it's clear they still have a long ways to go.