This was the game the Tennessee Titans had to win.
Forget the disappointment in Cleveland. Forget the wins that they gave away against the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills.
None of that mattered for the Titans in Week 6 against Miami. The only objective was to win.
For the fourth straight time, Tennessee was unable to do that. The Dolphins controlled the game from start to finish, exiting Nissan Stadium with a 38-10 victory.
This was the same Miami team that fired its head coach just a few short weeks ago after a disastrous start to the season. But yet, on Sunday, the 2015 Dolphins seemingly transformed into the 1972 Dolphins, which still stands as the only undefeated Super Bowl winner in NFL history.
Miami fired its head coach and finally got the desired result. Ironically, the Titans may be heading towards a similar situation.
Facts are facts. Ken Whisenhunt is now 4-29 in his last 33 games as an NFL head coach. 4-29.
Had the Titans lost another close game, Whisenhunt’s seat wouldn’t be as hot. But losing by four touchdowns to a team led by a man in his first game as an NFL head coach is inexcusable.
Frustrated fans are always looking for reasons to fire a struggling head coach. However, this isn’t looking. This is simply reality.
Winning is what matters in the NFL. Just as a starting quarterback needs to win games to keep his spot in the lineup, a head coach needs to win games to stay in charge.
And maybe the quarterback deserves some of the blame for Whisenhunt’s latest loss. Marcus Mariota was not himself in turning the ball over four times in the loss, so he was certainly a big reason why the Titans struggled.
But here’s the thing: Everyone watching the game knew that Mariota wasn’t himself after taking a cheap shot to the knee by Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon in the first half.
Despite an obvious lack of mobility, Whisenhunt chose to leave Mariota in the game. He was never the same after that, and while Mariota’s decisions were questionable on the interceptions, the injury undoubtedly didn’t help matters.
There is plenty of blame to go around after an embarrassing loss, but as the head coach, you must shoulder the bulk of it.
Ultimately, Whisenhunt is accountable for 2-14 in 2014. And he’s now accountable for 1-4 through six weeks in 2015.
Yes, the Titans still have 11 games to go. Put together a win streak in the next month to get back to a .500 record and perhaps the opinion of Whisenhunt changes.
The problem is that we have no reason to expect that. All that we have to go in is what we see. What we’ve seen from Whisenhunt during his time as Titans head coach is an inability to win games. And once again, that’s all that matters in this league.
You could be the nicest person in the world with the greatest of intentions, but if you do not win, you will not keep your job.
Whisenhunt didn’t win last season. He’s not winning this season.
This trend cannot continue. While the Titans are far from having the most talent in the NFL, there are enough quality players on this roster to win games.
Tennessee has now been outscored 56-16 in the fourth quarter this season. When it matters most, the Titans are not getting it done.
And in the position that matters most in the franchise – head coach – the Titans aren’t, either.
John Glennon of The Tennesseean tweeted out this quote from Whisenhunt’s post-game press conference:
Whisenhunt: "There's no defense for today. I mean, we didn't get the job done. I acknowledge that." #Titans
— John Glennon (@glennonsports) October 18, 2015
Whisenhunt is exactly right.
If he wants to continue to have the opportunity to attend post-game press conferences as the head coach of the Titans, it’s his job to change that.
But at this point, it may not even matter.