They finished with only 94 yards in losing 27-3 in Cleveland. That was the lowest total not just since this franchise left Texas for Tennessee in 1997, but the lowest since the then-Houston Oilers were held to 81 by Dallas in 1974.
Coach Mike Vrabel said Monday he sees a lot to fix with his Titans (1-2), and his message is simply get back to work.
“You can define your culture by what you look like when when things aren’t great, when things don’t go well, and (Sunday) they didn’t go very well,” Vrabel said.
The loss was so ugly that some fans already want Vrabel fired despite him being honored as the AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2021 for earning the AFC's No. 1 seed with a 12-5 record.
This season, the Titans are struggling to score points with a new offensive coordinator. They sit at the bottom of the AFC South after winning this division two of the past three seasons. The Titans won't play their first divisional game until Oct. 8 when they visit Indianapolis.
“That’s the thing about this league," wide receiver Chris Moore said. "It’s a long season, and you just got to keep going week by week.”
Special teams. The Titans allowed only 5 1/2 yards on a pair of punt returns, Mason Kinsey was promoted from the practice squad to replace kick returner Kearis Jackson, who was placed on injured reserve late last week. Kinsey returned one punt 13 yards and fair caught another.
Veteran Nick Folk made his one field-goal attempt, a 44-yarder. He's made all eight field goals attempted this season, tied for third most in the league.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The offensive line. The Titans are missing their top draft pick with left guard Peter Skoronski having missed consecutive games recovering from an appendectomy.
They are tied with Chicago with 13 sacks ahead of only Washington (19) for most sacks allowed entering Monday.
The Titans ran 45 offensive plays, and they were stopped for either no yards or went backward on 24 of those.
Asked if they might shuffle up the offensive line, Vrabel said he doesn't see anything changing until he learns who's available. Skoronski is the only offensive lineman currently on the injury report.
Nicholas Petit-Frere, who won the starting right tackle job as a rookie last year, now is allowed to attend meetings and work out at the team facility. But the earliest he can return is Oct. 29 under his six-game suspension for gambling.
Punter Ryan Stonehouse continues developing his game. He averaged 53.4 yards on seven punts with four downed inside the 20. Only two were returnable as the second-year punter angled three out of bounds.
LT Andre Dillard. He gave up three sacks to Myles Garrett, including one just before halftime, as Garrett finished with 3 1/2 of the Browns’ five sacks. He’s also allowed 16 quarterback pressures this season.
The Titans signed the 2019 first-round draft pick to a three-year contract this offseason for $29 million, though the team could get out of that deal after 2024 according to Spotrac.com.
RB Julius Chestnut didn't finish the game with an injured hamstring. S Mike Brown was seen in a walking boot after the game. Vrabel said Monday that CB Sean Murphy-Bunting is not in the concussion protocol.
3 — Number of touchdowns scored by the Titans, which is worst in the NFL among teams having played three games. Tennessee ranked 28th in the league in averaging just 17.5 points a game last season and has taken a step back to start this season. Thanks to Folk's field goals, they're averaging 15 points a game.
Fix the protection, clean up the penalties and find a way to keep the offense on the field. The Titans host Cincinnati, which will be coming off a Monday night game, and won't be back home again until Oct. 29. They visit Indianapolis and then play Baltimore in London on Oct. 15.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl
Teresa M. Walker, The Associated Press