Titan talk is about unhappy ending

Titan talk is about unhappy ending
Titan talk is about unhappy ending

Tennessee Titans’ safety Chris Hope breaks up a pass and is called for pass interference during the Titans’ loss on Sunday.
NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans had a lot of explaining to do after Denver rallied for 10 points in the final 1:33 for a 26-20 win Sunday at LP Field.
Head coach Jeff Fisher tried his best afterward.
• On a pass interference call on Chris Hope in the endzone on 2nd-and-25 from midfield that gave the Broncos the ball at the Titan one and set up Kyle Orton’s ultimate game-winning touchdown to Correll Buckhalter:
“I will have to see it, his vision, the ball,” Fisher said. “But I don’t know the route. I didn’t see the routes that put him in that position.”
• On the ensuing kickoff, rookie Marc Mariani — who had earlier returned one 98 yards for the first such TD return in nine years for Tennessee — failed to catch a wind-shortened kick, leading to a Denver recovery and killing any rally hopes by the Titans while setting up the last of Denver’s four field goals with a half-minute to play:
“There was a gust of wind and it actually went backwards, or stalled and came straight down. Marc was lined up short. We moved our front line up. So they got a unique bounce. It was one of those things that sums up the game today. We are not looking to blame anybody,” the Titans’ skipper claimed.
• On a Tennessee offense that had 242 first half yards, but squandered scoring chances when Rob Bironas missed a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter and Chris Johnson fumbled inside the Broncos’ 30 — then produced just 46 yards and three first downs in the second half:
“Well, we threw the ball today. We just didn’t have the opportunities, a couple of three-and-outs. It would have been nice to hand the ball off and get a few first downs and punt the ball away or keep the ball, but we didn’t,” Fisher continued.
• And all in all from his team that lost its second straight home game and blew the chance to take advantage of an Indianapolis loss and move into a tie with Houston for the early AFC South Division lead with multiple wasted opportunites:
“This loss is, unfortunately, an example of just not being able to make the play at the end to close this game out and that is exactly what happened. We had plays in all three phases that had they gone the other way or had we made a play, then we would have a chance to will this ballgame. We had chances; we didn’t get it done. I’m very disappointed,” he concluded.
Denver QB Kyle Orton threw for 341 yards and two TDs, despite being battered by a Titan defense that recorded six sacks — three by Dave Ball.
The Broncos, who kept possession more than 10 minutes longer than Tennessee (35:18 to 24:42), scored on six of seven trips inside the redzone against the NFL’s toughest defense in that statistical category after failing to tally on five trips inside the 20 last week against Indianapolis.
The Titans were also penalized 10 times for 111 yards and saw Johnson reduced to mainly a non-factor with just 53 yards rushing on 19 carries with a long run of just eight yards.
Yet, Tennessee still led with five minutes to go in the third quarter, 20-16, after Mariani’s kickoff return and the second of two Bironas field goals — a 46-yarder.
And the Titans appeared to be poised to hang on for the victory behind the gritty play of its defense that held on a fourth-and-goal play with 4:33 to play when Orton threw low to Jabar Gaffney in the back of the endzone.
But Denver forced a three-and-out from the abysmal Tennessee offense and set up shop after receiving the ensuing punt near midfield for its game-winning drive.
A holding call and Ball’s last sack pushed the ball back to the 50 after the Broncos had initially moved inside Titan territory on two Orton completions before the aforementioned pass interference flag on Hope, who was defending Gaffney on a deep-ball. After a false start penalty and an incompletion, Orton found a wide-open Buckhalter out of the backfield in the right flat for the game-deciding score.
Vince Young was 17-of-28 for 167 yards and an eight-yard touchdown to Kenny Britt in the second quarter, Tennessee’s lone offensive touchdown. Young was just 4-of-10 for 29 yards in the second half in the virtually non-existent Titan attack.
Tennessee (2-2) plays the first of back-to-back road games this week at Dallas.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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