|Titans hurting themselves with variety of mistakes|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 20 November 2007 11:40|
Missed tackles, bad penalties and receivers dropping passes. All the mistakes the Titans didn't make in going 12-3 in a 15-game stretch dating back to the last time they lost consecutive games now have them mired in their first two-game skid since then.
``They're just little things we have to tighten up,'' running back LenDale White said. ``No need to fear. We're 6-4 and still in it, very much in it. We just have to buckle down and do the little things better.''
This skid has dropped the Titans from being tied for second in the AFC South with Jacksonville, a game behind Indianapolis and with a one-game lead for a wild-card berth, down to third in their division. They now are tied with Cleveland (6-4) for the last wild-card spot.
``We're going to come back and work and get better,'' coach Jeff Fisher said. ``We have a short week, and we're going to go on the road and get ready to play Cincinnati.''
The Titans have plenty to fix after following a 28-13 loss to Jacksonville with a 34-20 loss in Denver on Monday night.
Vince Young had been criticized in recent weeks for being off-target and hesitant in his decision-making. In Denver, he looked like the guy who won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2006 as he threw for a career-high 305 yards and ran for 74 more.
It was the first time a Tennessee quarterback had thrown for 300 yards since Young's mentor Steve McNair on Dec. 18, 2005.
But receivers dropped four passes, including one that might have been a touchdown by Roydell Williams and a perfectly thrown ball to Brandon Jones, who already had beaten Denver cornerback Champ Bailey on the opening drive.
Veteran Eric Moulds defended the normally sure-handed players.
``I had a dropped ball that I should have caught. You have to give credit to Denver, but it wasn't something they did to stop us,'' Moulds said.
Young was intercepted twice in the fourth quarter. The Titans also had trouble holding onto the ball, losing one of four fumbles. They now have 25 turnovers, one short of what they had in all of 2006.
The discipline problem doesn't stop there.
The Titans were flagged six times for 80 yards, and two couldn't have come at worse times. Daniel Loper and Donnie Nickey were penalized for unnecessary roughness on consecutive punt returns in the fourth quarter with the Titans trying to rally.
The defensive struggles hurt the most. A defense that had allowed 66 yards rushing with tackle Albert Haynesworth now has allowed 166 yards rushing in each of the two losses he sat out with a sore right hamstring.
Cornerback Nick Harper also sat out with a concussion. Denver scored three TDs on plays of 41 yards or longer, including a 62-yard run in which Harper's replacement, Reynaldo Hill, let Andre Hall run through his arms.
``We have to make tackles,'' Fisher said. ``It's something that's been a problem for us which was not a problem for us earlier in the year.''
That doesn't even include the 80-yard punt return for a touchdown, the first allowed by Tennessee since R.W. McQuarters' 75-yarder for Chicago on Nov. 14, 2004.
Now the Titans face a quick turnaround, with a second straight road trip to Cincinnati (3-7) on Sunday. They have only one game left against a team with a winning record, in Indianapolis. But desperation abounds with visits from Houston (5-5), San Diego (5-5) and a trip to Kansas City (4-6).
To Young, the approach is simple.
``We got to shut up our mouth and just play the game. That's it,'' he said.