AAnother week, another shellacking.
Such is life for the Tennessee Titans right now, as they traveled to Minnesota on Sunday and took yet another resounding beating, 30-7 at the hands of the Vikings.
The loss leaves the Titans 1-4 on the year, and extended their string of allowing at least 30 points each game this season. That currently has the Titans on pace to give up a record 579 points this season with the Pittsburgh Steelers coming to town for a Thursday night game.
“I don't think we feel good about the way we are playing right now, about the product we are putting on the field. We've got to find a way to fix it,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said after the loss.
It marked the fourth time in five games that the Titans were simply a non-competitive football team. The Vikings quickly established control with Christian Ponder finding Percy Harvin for a 45-yard gain, and later on the drive Harvin cashing in with a four-yard touchdown run.
Tennessee's best chance to make a game of it came with the Titans down 7-0 and facing a fourth-and-4 situation near midfield. A trick play off a wildcat formation led to a 10-yard run by safety Jordan Babineaux to extend the drive. However, on the very next play, Chris Johnson fumble and Minnesota recovered, snuffing out the threat and the momentum.
“We go for a fake punt, we execute it. We've gain momentum, I think it was 7-0 at the time, and then we fumble on the next play,” Coach Mike Munchak lamented. “Penalties and turnovers just killed us all day. The penalties and turnovers affected the flow of the game.”
In all, the Titans lost two first-half turnovers and were penalized 10 times for 75 yards Sunday.
It didn't get any better for Tennessee for the rest of the game, the only consolation being holding the Vikings to Blair Walsh field goals on their next three scores. Minnesota led 13-0 at halftime, and quickly added a third Walsh field goal in the third quarter.
But Minnesota wasn't through, getting a 10-yard TD pass from Ponder to Harvin in third quarter as well to go up 23-0.
The Titans, who started Hasselbeck at quarterback in place of injured Jake Locker, managed their only scoring drive of the day when Hasselbeck hit Jared Cook with a 10-yard TD with 10:35 to play in the game.
The Titans tried an onside kick, but the ball squirted out of bounds before Tommie Campbell could gain control of it. After that, the Vikings scored again, this time with Ponder firing a 15-yard touchdown to tight end Kyle Rudolph.
For the Titans it was another day of missed tackles and points allowed by the barrel full on defense.
On offense, Chris Johnson and the running game reverted back to its terrible form, after a one-week aberration. Johnson finished with only 24 yards on 15 carries, and was stuffed late in the game with the Titans going on fourth-and-1, seeking a mop-up touchdown.
The Titans will have an even bigger challenge on a short week with the Steelers heading to town. Hasselbeck, who probably will get the start again Thursday, admitted the Titans have a lot of work to do in a small amount of time.
“It doesn't look good right now, I know we're better than it looks, but we are how we play, and that's how we're playing. I know we can fix it,” Hasselbeck said. “The only thing I can say is I know we can turn it around, we can fix it. We play again in four days.”