NASHVILLE – The Titans are coming off a gut-wrenching loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Five games into the season, the team is just 2-3. The Titans swapped out kickers this week, and the football mood around the city hasn’t exactly had a New Year’s Eve feel.
But quarterback Marcus Mariota isn’t moping, and he’s determined to not let his teammates get down either.
“I think it starts with me,” Mariota said. “If you come in here with your head down feeling sorry for yourself, that kind of sets the mood of the day for everybody around you. Just being able to, again, be grateful, come out here, have some fun on the field and just move on.
“I think just being grateful. I think every opportunity that you have to walk in this building, it’s a privilege. No matter what, wins, losses, you’ve just got to keep your head up high and move on. I think our guys do a great job flushing and getting ready for the next game. I don’t feel like there’s any sort of negativity, and guys just have to continue to work.”
The Titans have a chance to change the subject on Sunday in Denver when they face the Broncos.
But clearly, some things need to get fixed first.
The Titans scored just one touchdown against the Bills, the second time they’ve been held to a single score this season. Mariota has been sacked 22 times in five contests, including five times by the Bills.
The Titans are currently ranked 27th in the NFL in total offense (16th run, 28th pass).
There have been bright spots, including the consistent play of running back Derrick Henry, who already has 388 rushing yards and four touchdowns while averaging 4.0 yards per carry.
In Week 4, the Titans scored 24 points in the first half of a win against Atlanta.
“We are close,” Mariota said. “I think this past Sunday was a result of us hurting ourselves. If we can just kind of string together these positive plays, and not allow a negative play or a penalty to disrupt that, I think we’ll have a chance to do what we want. “
Mariota knows the Titans face a big challenge in dealing with the Broncos defense, which is ranked 7th overall in the NFL (22nd rushing, 7th vs. the pass).
Broncos pass rusher Von Miller has two sacks on the season, but he has 10.5 in his last 10 home games. He’s recorded a sack and forced fumble in two of three career games vs. the Titans.
Mariota said the Titans are determined to get it right.
“I feel like I say this every single week, but they’ve got great players all across the board,” Mariota said of the Broncos. “You talk about (Chris) Harris and Von (Miller), those guys have been All-Pro type players for quite some time now. For us it’s a challenge, it’s an opportunity, and we’ve just got to go make the most of it.”