DENVER – The Titans hit a low point on Sunday in the Rocky Mountains.
A dreadful performance on offense produced a quarterback change, but not a victory – the Titans lost 16-0 to the Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High.
The Titans replaced starting quarterback Marcus Mariota with back-up Ryan Tannehill in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. It was Tannehill’s first action since the Titans traded for the former Dolphins quarterback earlier this offseason.
Tannehill couldn’t engineer a comeback, however, as the Titans dropped to 2-4 on the season.
“We have to stick together as a team, and don’t blame anyone,” cornerback Malcolm Butler said. “We are all in this together – we are all Titans. We just have to keep fighting and be better. And we have to want to be better – the fans deserve better, and we deserve it for ourselves.”
Frankly, the Titans weren’t very good on Sunday.
The Broncos led 6-0 at the half on a pair of field goals from kicker Brandon McManus, from 31 and 53 yards. The Broncos stretched their lead to 13-0 on a two-yard touchdown run by running back Phillip Lindsay, and another kick by McManus made it 16-0 with 4:53 left in the contest.
Meanwhile, the Titans struggled on offense. Mariota was sacked three times in the first half, and the team couldn’t get anything going.
Mariota completed just 7-of-18 passes for 63 yards and two interceptions and a 9.5 rating before being replaced with 4:49 in the third quarter, with the Titans trailing 13-0.
“I was inaccurate today, and I didn’t give our guys a chance to make plays and that’s some of the reasons I got pulled,” Mariota said. “It starts with me – I have to do a better job.”
Tannehill completed 13-of-16 passes for 144 yards with a 78.1 rating. He was sacked four times.
“Every decision we make we try and do in the best interest of the football team at every position,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “At that point and time, we’re just trying to move the football and score more points.”
Vrabel said he’ll consult with Titans general manager Jon Robinson and his coaching staff before deciding if the quarterback change is permanent.
Mariota said he’ll support Tannehill and be the best teammate he can be no matter what the team decides.
No matter what happens the Titans better get better on offense.
Titans safety Kevin Byard did his best to provide a spark early in the second half when he intercepted Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco on Denver’s first possession.
But the Titans couldn’t capitalize.
On the day, the Titans managed just 12 first downs and 204 yards of offense. Drives were wrecked because of seven quarterback sacks and missed plays.
“We are shooting ourselves in the foot,” tight end Delanie Walker said. “We lost, I don’t think you should be happy. I am upset.”
It wasted another solid offense from the defense, which allowed just 11 first downs and 270 yards of offense.
The Titans face the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
“Right now, I am trying to lead a football team than is disappointed, like me,” Vrabel said. “We are going to stay together and we are going to try to improve. It is a long season and the only way you get out if this is to fight and practice and prepare and obviously execute.”