To say the Tennessee Titans dropped the ball in Sunday’s 17-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars was not simply an expression, it was an accurate reflection of what took place at some critical moments for the offense.
Most notably, Nate Washington and Bo Scaife both failed to make plays on balls that were – at best – catchable or, in some cases, right on target. Each did so twice.
“We had too many drops and we just didn’t make any plays,” coach Jeff Fisher said.
The most grievous error was by Scaife, who was open down the middle on third-and-10 from the Jacksonville 19 on the Titans’ opening possession of the third quarter. They settled for a field goal.
Midway through the fourth quarter, with the Titans behind by 11, Washington failed to make a fourth-down catch on a ball that was underthrown slightly. He also dropped Tennessee’s first pass of the game.
“Catching the football (when) the weather changes … you adjust,” Fisher said. “You make those adjustments. Guys step up and make adjustments.”
• Challenge backfired: Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio issued the only video replay challenge of the day when he thought quarterback Kerry Collins fumbled while being sacked in the fourth quarter and that his team recovered.
Officials initially ruled that Collins was down before the ball came out, which set up a fourth-and-8. Before Del Rio threw the challenge flag, Tennessee sent its punt team on the field.
Upon review, the ruling was changed to an incomplete pass. That made it fourth-and-3, and the Titans sent the offense back on the field, only to have Collins throw incomplete to Washington.
“It’s certainly a big difference between fourth-and-8 and fourth-and-3,” Fisher said. “The challenge created a fourth-and-3, and we have to make the play and convert.”
The good news for Jacksonville was Del Rio was not charged a timeout because his challenge resulted in a change to the outcome.
• Back to Collins: For the sixth straight game the Titans had a different starting quarterback than the previous one.
This time it was Collins, who started for the third time during this stretch. He also got the assignment on Oct. 24 against Philadelphia and Nov. 14 at Miami. In between, Vince Young started at San Diego on Oct. 31 and against Washington on Nov. 21, and Rusty Smith started Nov. 28 at Houston.
Collins completed 14 of 32 passes for 169 with two interceptions. That amounted to a season-low 34.5 passer rating.
“I could have thrown the ball better,” Collins said. “There were more plays out there to be made and for whatever reason, we didn’t make them. I know this: I definitely left some things out there. That is extremely frustrating.”
• In charge, upstairs: Less than a week since he began chemotherapy treatment for cancer, offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger was in attendance and performed his primary duties.
Although, he was in the press box and not on the sideline (as usual), Heimerdinger called the plays for the offense. According to Fisher, Heimerdinger made the call to quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains, who then relayed them to the quarterback.
“I didn’t feel like there were any problems with it,” Collins said.
• The Titans have played 13 quarters since their last offensive touchdown. That was a 13-year reception by Washington with 1:13 to play in the third quarter Nov. 15 at Miami.
• Rob Bironas has made his last 17 field goal attempts, including two against Jacksonville, which is three shy of the franchise record he shares with Al Del Greco.
• Randy Moss caught his first pass at LP Field as a member of the Titans. His 13-yard gain late in the third quarter (his only catch of the contest) drew a loud ovation from the crowd. Moss did not have a catch two weeks earlier against Washington.