2-14. Fans of the Tennessee Titans thought they’d never see that again.
The good news? The Titans are 2-9. The bad news? The Titans may be well on their way to 2-14 after yet another head-scratching loss.
Let’s the get the obvious out of the way first: the Titans did not lose to the Raiders because of a ridiculous holding call on fourth down.
A holding call on the defense late in the game allowed Oakland to continue its drive and score the game-winning touchdown.
There was no excusing the call. It was a complete joke. But it’s not why the Titans lost.
No, the Titans had their chances. They always do. It’s just that they can never convert on those chances.
Look no further than the final drive of the game for evidence of that. With Tennessee rattled after the Oakland score, Marcus Mariota looked as poised as ever in trying to lead the Titans to a potential game-winning touchdown or game-tying field goal.
Then it happened. It always does. Wide receiver Kendall Wright wasn’t where he needed to be on the throw, and Mariota’s pass sailed perfectly into the hands of an Oakland defender.
We should have expected it. The Titans once again had a chance to end their 400-plus day losing streak at home.
But like all the times before during this turbulent season, they found a way to prevent that from happening.
We’re 11 games into the season. Nothing is surprising anymore. The Titans continue to be who we thought they were when they started sliding early in the season. This is a team that simply isn’t equipped to get over the hump.
Player development is perhaps the most important aspect of building a team.
Ken Whisenhunt was unable to develop this roster. New interim head coach Mike Mularkey – though with limited time – hasn’t been able to do it. And you aren’t going to win when that’s the case. That has to become priority number one for the new head coach.
Of course, it’s also the top priority of current Titans general manager Ruston Webster to acquire players that the coach can work with.
So far, Webster’s track record of that hasn’t been ideal.
The Titans aren’t going to get over the hump with what they have now. And that goes for both staff and players.
Everyone was given a chance to prove their worth this season. Obviously, that hasn’t gone too well.
The loss to the Raiders at Nissan Stadium was just another loss. It’s become such a regular occurrence that some fans aren’t even furious anymore. They’re indifferent.
The fall of the Titans has been sad to watch. They’ve gone from 9-7 four years ago to what could be 2-14 in back-to-back seasons.
In my Titans/Raiders preview column, I said that Tennessee could learn a lot from the new Raiders. Oakland has managed to turn their franchise around with smart decisions on and off the field.
After Sunday’s loss, the Titans are a step closer to the Raiders of old. One step closer to being the most irrelevant team in football.
Good luck to Titans ownership in selling that product to season-ticket holders this offseason.