The Buffalo Bills have finally figured out how to win in Nashville.
The Tennessee Titans have not.
Buffalo won its first ever game in the Music City on Sunday, rallying late for a 14-13 victory in a game that the Titans seemingly dominated.
Sound familiar? It was the definition of same story, different verse.
After dominating the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3, the Titans found a way to give the game away in the fourth quarter, resulting in a 35-33 loss. It was the same thing all over again against the Bills.
With the Bills needing 23 yards on third down and in the shadow of their own end zone, it appeared that Tennessee was in complete control. And then it happened. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor scrambled up the middle and there wasn’t a Titans defender within a mile of him.
Buffalo got the first down, and eventually, the game-winning touchdown on a Taylor throw to Chris Hogan with just over five minutes to go.
Titans fans should have seen it coming. After all, what else should have been expected? The team continues to find a way to lose in close games. It’s the difference in a 1-3 and 3-1 record.
It’s a disturbing trend that can’t continue. Tennessee has already given – literally – two straight home games away, so dropping the next two of this four-game home stand is no longer an option.
Ken Whisenhunt realizes that. Perhaps now more than ever.
While its early in the regular season, the NFL is a results-based business. We all know how Whisenhunt’s first season went. Unfortunately, this season is starting to mirror it.
The Titans are going down a road that resulted in a 2-14 season a year ago. Win the first game in impressive fashion, and then spend the next 15 games looking like a completely different team.
For an NFL coach, that’s the worst thing that can happen. When the season starts, you give everyone a glimpse of how good your team can be. And then you spend the rest of the year giving them the complete opposite.
Having a young team only works as an excuse for so long. Saying that you’re close to turning the corner only works for so long.
Yes, the Titans are young. But the problem is that in nearly every game this season, they’ve looked like a veteran team. That is, until crucial moments present themselves.
And yes, the Titans have been close on several occasions. But when you win two games the season before, and realistically should already have three this season, that line of thinking is no longer acceptable.
Whisenhunt and the Titans have to turn the corner. That doesn’t mean winning the division, but it does mean winning games that you completely control.
Losses like the ones to the Bills and Colts were understandable last year. However, as the weeks progress, patience runs out.
The Titans have a solid core of young talent, and Marcus Mariota has already shown that the sky is the limit in terms of his development as a quarterback. But thus far – just like the Titans – he has regressed.
This season was suppose to be a turning point for this franchise. Luckily, there’s still plenty of time for that to happen.
But the more we see these kind of losses, the more we lose hope. That’s not a direction that Whisenhunt wants this franchise heading in.
Unfortunately, under his leadership, that’s the only direction that any of us know.