NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A penalty here, an incomplete pass there or simply good defense. Pick a reason, the Tennessee Titans have struggled with those issues this season.
Sometimes all in the same drive.
It's all part of the inconsistency for a team that can score points in bunches only to bog down when the game's on the line. That's why the Titans (5-8) have lost seven of nine, including two straight.
Ryan Fitzpatrick said Wednesday they keep working to improve their consistency every day knowing how those setbacks have hurt whether coming on first, second or third down.
"That's a big focus for us, just getting onto the next play," Fitzpatrick said. "Forgetting about what happened, going out there trying to sustain drives. Last game we scored 28, but we had some opportunities that we really missed out on. Had some three-and-outs and some short drives and some turnovers that definitely affected the outcome of the game."
The Titans scored on their first two drives and were up 21-10 before losing 51-28 in Denver last week. They also scored on their first two possessions Nov. 14 when they jumped out to a 17-3 lead over Indianapolis only to lose 30-27.
In Denver, the Titans went three-and-out four times before punting with another drive ended on an interception when they still had a lead in the third quarter. Yet the Titans rank sixth in the NFL on third-down efficiency for the season, and they've also had 10 drives of at least 10 plays or longer in four of their five wins.
Only once in their losses have they had more than two drives in any single game, and the Titans blew the lead over Indianapolis that night.
Tennessee is outscoring opponents only in the first quarter barely (58-55) and again in the fourth (122-108). The late points haven't helped because the Titans are 1-7 when trailing after three quarters this season.
Titans coach Mike Munchak, also busy dealing with speculation over whether he keeps his job after this season, said it's frustrating because they felt they could have had two or three more touchdowns in last week's 51-28 loss at Denver if not for a holding call on one drive, a missed block here and a rare fumble lost by Chris Johnson.