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Notebook: Film Study Shows Titans Opportunities for Better Finish

Posted Oct 7, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s offense and defense reviewed film Monday and saw moments where the Titans could have finished the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at LP Field.

A 17-point rally in the second half gave the Titans a 17-13 lead with 14:52 remaining in the game. Tennessee forced a punt on Kansas City’s next possession, but the offense had passes fall incomplete on second-and-1 and third-and-1, keeping the Titans from building on their lead.

“We had the opportunity in this game to stay out there with the offense and had two dropped passes that were valuable in getting the first down, so that just goes with finishing,” tight end Delanie Walker said. “Guys have to make the plays when they come to them. I wouldn’t say killer instinct. I would say it’s just us not finishing when we need to.”

The Chiefs got the ball back and benefited on a tough unnecessary roughness call that awarded Kansas City a first down on a third play that QB Alex Smith scrambled for two yards when he needed five. The Chiefs scored the go-ahead touchdown five plays later.

Titans coach Mike Munchak disagreed with the call that went against Moise Fokou for striking Smith before the quarterback’s foot stepped on the out of bounds line on Sunday and again on Monday after reviewing it on film.

“I’m all for protection for the quarterback and all that obviously, but that’s hard on the defense at that point in the game on a third down when that’s so critical getting the stop there,” Munchak said. “We thought the contact came before he got out of bounds. But, again, they’re deciding to protect the quarterback at all costs, so in that case, that hurt us.”

The Titans (3-2) suffered two interceptions on its next five plays that allowed the Chiefs (5-0) to add a pair of field goals for the final margin of 26-17.

The feelings of opportunities missed took Tennessee’s players back to their Week 2 loss at Houston when the Titans led 24-16 with less than five minutes left in regulation but were unable to continue an offensive possession to run more clock and gave up a tying score late in regulation. The Titans were unable to convert a third-and-1 with the game tied at 24 and lost in overtime.

“We didn’t start out fast (against the Chiefs) but we were right there,” safety Michael Griffin said. “Both games that we did lose, we took the lead, and as a defense, we take it on us that we’ve got to be able to keep the lead. That’s something that’s happened here in the past. We’ve got to continue to stick together.”   

The Titans must recover this week as they prepare for a game at Seattle (4-1), which has won its last 10 home games. Tennessee was able to rebound from the loss at Houston with consecutive home wins against San Diego and the New York Jets.

Bernard Pollard and Alterraun Verner combine to stop Kansas City's Sean McGrath. Click here for a slideshow from the game.

“We are competitors. We hate to lose. We want to win every game we play, but that’s not reality,” safety Bernard Pollard said. “You’re going to lose some games. It’s a lot of teams that would love to be 3-2 right now so we have to own what we’ve done, fix the mistakes we’ve made and go play Titans football.”

LOCKER OUT: Starting QB Jake Locker will miss his second consecutive start with hip and knee injuries suffered against the Jets. It will be disappointing in that it will keep the Washington native from playing in his home state, but Munchak said the third-year QB is making progress.  

“He’s doing pretty well,” Munchak said. “Now, it’s just seeing how fast, it’s like one of those things for seeing how quickly he can come along now that a lot of the soreness has gone out of it, so now it’s seeing how he progresses and if he does a little more in rehab.”

INJURY UPDATES:  As for players who suffered injuries against the Chiefs, Munchak said DE Derrick Morgan had a shoulder injury, LBs Patrick Bailey and Zaviar Gooden had hamstrings, Zach Brown was in and out, and Coty Sensabaugh had a concussion that will require him to pass the NFL protocol for concussion tests.

All six linebackers on Tennessee’s roster have encountered injuries since the Titans began their offseason program, but Munchak said he thinks Brown is “going to be OK.”

“As far as the game, the linebackers, it seems like all year we’re having a run on linebackers,” Munchak said. “A lot of these guys are getting MRIs so we don’t know the extent, but we assume these guys are going to be playing this week.”

Of Shonn Greene (knee injury in Week 1) and Sammie Hill (ankle in Week 2), Munchak said, “hopefully by Tuesday, they’ll probably get a good workout in and see where they’re at for Wednesday and Thursday.”

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