JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – All the ingredients developed for a perfect storm against the Titans on Thursday night, and it got ugly.
-The Titans fell behind early against a Jacksonville defense that’s proven capable of creating havoc.
-The Titans once again struggled on early downs, putting themselves in long down-and-distance situations.
-There were communication issues up front, and in some cases, linemen just flat-out got beat.
It all added up to nine sacks of quarterback Marcus Mariota in a 20-7 loss to the Jaguars.
“It’s not how you want to play this football team – you don’t want to play from behind,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “We’ve talked about that every time we’ve played them. This is not the team that you want to play from behind -- they can rush the passer. Unfortunately, we were playing from behind.”
The Titans fell behind 14-0 in less than nine minutes, and trailed throughout.
The Jaguars sacked Mariota just once in the first half, but they got to him eight times in the second half.
“We have to watch the film,” guard Rodger Saffold said. “It takes all 11 to be able to protect the quarterback. We have to figure out what is going on. Why is there nowhere to go with the ball? What do we need to do? I think everybody is going to look real critically of themselves coming into next week.
“Most of the time we put ourselves in bad situations which put us in third and long and things really got heated up with seven-man pressures, eight-man pressures. They were bringing the house a lot.”
Mariota has been sacked 17 times through the first three weeks of the 2019 season. That is the most a single QB has been sacked through Week 3 since 2002, per the official Twitter account of the NFL Media Research Department.
“It’s a rough one,” Titans tackle Jack Conklin said. “We don’t want to see our quarterback get hit that much and it’s on us.
“Any time you fall behind you start moving away from the run game, you lose your play-action and you are just dropping back. It shortens our playbook and ramps theirs up. Any time you get in that situation you are in for a rough night.”
Mariota completed 23-of-40 passes for 304 yards, but most of his success came in the second half, when the Titans were playing catch up.
Mariota said he was “frustrated” after the contest.
“We didn’t come out and play very well and that’s what happens in this league,” Mariota said. “They got their guys going and unfortunately we got down quick. A lot of it was our own mistakes, whether it was penalties or negative plays.”
One of the few positives: Mariota played better in the second half.
Mariota completed 17-of-24 passes for 242 yards in the second half after going just 6-of-16 for 62 yards in the first half.
But Mariota wasn’t happy it took him so long to get going.
“I have to find it out because I can’t start games that way,” Mariota said. “I didn’t help our team at all in the first half, didn’t give our guys a chance to make plays.
“I think (being more consistent) is something we’ll continue to look at. We have the weekend now to discuss it, and I think from a quick glance it really just starts on first and second down.”
The Tennessee Titans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3 of the 2019 NFL season on Thursday Night Football.