Christmas Eve Grinched

Official Tennessee Titans Fan Reporter

By Karen Christensen @ksc47

Titans 17 Jaguars 38

Tennessee Titans performance = awful.  

After all the hard work, the grinding out in the frigid air last week against the Kansas City Chiefs  and having a miracle win, the Titans just did about the worst thing possible.  Not one part of this team was doing their job.  Losing in a super bad, awful embarrassment of a game.  Why?  

To quote Dr. Seuss from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas:  The Grinch Hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now please don’t ask why, No one quite knows the reason!

Why would you not be trying your hardest to get the one win you need to get in the playoffs after all these years?  Why did the coaches not realize how hard the Jaguars would be playing after losing their coach Gus Bradley last week? 

Why were the players not focused and doing everything that they could to get a win? Why are you not going to do everything to protect your quarterback like you’ve been doing all year?  Why are you going to throw the ball anywhere near Jalen Ramsey when you know what a good player he is and you know that your secondary is weak? 

Why are you not going to go all out right from the start and play like this game is your championship game? And why after your leader, your QB suffers a broken leg, are you going to play like you’ve never been on a football field before in your life?  “No one quite knows the reason!”

DeMarco Murray defeats Jalen Ramsey courtesy: Donn Jones/Titans

Right from the start the Jacksonville Jaguars are just getting first down after first down, so easy; but this has been happening all year long with the Titans. Usually the Titans rally and start making some plays. This time the defense was just not present at all and the offense was not completing plays.  No focus.  It was hard to watch. Maddening. 

Head Coach Mike Mularkey said after the game that “he sensed his team was flat”.  Where is the inspirational speaking and the encouragement from the HC to light up his team?  The whole viewing audience could sense the Titans were “flat”.   The Titans usually get fired up at some point in a game and start to play to win but there was no fire this time, and not even a spark.

Seven Titans players were out, DL Karl Klug and CB Jason McCourty, most notably, after injuries from last week’s game.  Did these two players being out make that much of a difference? Any pro NFL team should be able to adjust their play with only a few players missing, right?  RT Jack Conklin said that maybe the “players were over confident”. 

The Titans did defeat the Jags 36-22 in October of this year, but that should have made the Titans realize that the Jags do have good players (Robinson, Ramsey, Ivory) and that the Jags were capable of winning. Towards the end of the game in October, the Jags were closing in on Tennessee’s lead, lucky for TN that time ran out.

For rookie RB Derrick Henry, this was a homecoming game of sorts. He played at Yulee High School near Jacksonville Florida. It is so sad that this game was such a bust for the Titans with Henry’s family, fans, and friends all in attendance.  Henry rushed for only 13 yards with four carries. The Jags also corralled RB DeMarco Murray, he only ran for 42 yards.

Chris Ivory vs Brice McCain courtesy: Gary McCullough/AP

And the worst of it all is that QB Marcus Mariota has a fractured fibula after being sacked by Jacksonville’s DT Sheldon Day.  The disaster happened late in the third quarter, Mariota was carted off the field with an air cast to his right ankle.  The Titans said he was “devastated” by the injury and the loss of the game. 

Titan Nation is devastated also.  Hard to think about Marcus having to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas in the hospital.  Mariota will be having surgery sometime this week, and then there will be rehab. One website had written that it would take six months of rehab time for this type of injury.

With this Titans’ loss and the Houston Texans win against the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday  night, the Titans are out of the playoffs.  They will not meet their goal this year of winning their division.  They were outplayed from start to finish in this game.  Shameful. 

Why did they not all care more and play harder?  “No one knows the reason”.  What a change in just a week’s time. No playoffs, no celebrations, no football joy this Christmas.  The entire Titans staff just punted out on us.

And to end it all, another quote that is, surprise, from Dr. Seuss:  “When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you”.

Dear Titans, let this awful Christmas Eve disaster strengthen you.  Don’t let this loss be another time that folks define this team as losers once again.  This loss did destroy this year’s playoff picture, but let’s pull it together and never ever again let a lack of focus ruin an entire season of hard work.

Goal for next year:  Win every game against those three teams in your division so you will be at the top.  Those games are the most important.    And do not just show up only in body for next week’s game against the Houston Texans.  Show up in spirit for your team, your town, your fans, and for yourselves.

Featured image courtesy: Donn Jones/Titans

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