Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/EditorTitansOnline.com
The Titans didn’t get on scoreboard until the fourth quarter, and they had breakdowns on defense and on special teams in Sunday’s loss to the Bears. It offered clear evidence there’s work to do for the regular season.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans showed some positive signs on Sunday against the Bears.They also showed they still have plenty of work to do before the regular season opener.
The Bears beat the Titans 19-7 at Nissan Stadium on a day when the team struggled on both sides of the ball early, and played sloppy football throughout.
“Too many mistakes,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. “We have a lot of work to do. Same old thing with making too mistakes. We have to overcome ourselves, let alone to beat anybody.”Quarterback Marcus Mariota and the first-team offense ended on a high note at least.
Mariota guided the Titans on an 11-play, 90-yard drive on a possession that ended with a three-yard touchdown pass to running back Derrick Henry on the first play of the fourth quarter. It cut Chicago’s lead to 12-7 at the time.
Mariota finished the contest 12-of-21 for 193 yards and a touchdown before being relieved by back-up Matt Cassel in the fourth quarter. His most memorable completions when to rookie Taywan Taylor, Rishard Matthews, Delanie Walker and Henry.
“We just weren’t crisp,” Walker said. “We didn’t play our game. We didn’t execute the way we should have on offense. I am not speaking on the defense, but we had critical penalties that set us back. I think there are some things we have to clean up and get that out of the way before we head to week one.”
The Bears jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on quarterback Mike Glennon’s one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dion Sims. It capped off a 15-play, 96-yard drive which saw the Bears convert three third downs.
The Bears made it 9-0 when a Brett Kern punt was blocked, and recovered in the end zone for a safety. A 41-yard field goal by kicker Connor Barth made it 12-0 at halftime.Defensively, rookie Adoree’ Jackson started opposite Logan Ryan on the outside, and moved inside when LeShaun Sims entered the contest. Jackson struggled early, but he showed up on run support and seemed to settle down after allowing several completions early.
“I didn’t do too good,” Jackson said afterward. “You just have to keep fighting. You can’t do things like that in a regular season game, so I’m glad I got that out of the way. Everything happens for a reason, so I’m glad I got that out of the way. I know I have room to improve.”
After the Titans trimmed the lead on Henry’s touchdown catch in the fourth quarter, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky connected with Tanner Gentry for a 45-yard touchdown pass to make it 19-7.
“On the field, I just don’t think we played enthused enough for us to win,” linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. “I know we didn’t make enough plays to give is a chance to win. We have to get better.”
Running back DeMarco Murray and receiver Tajae Sharpe made their 2017 preseason debuts on Sunday. Murray, who missed the first two games with a hamstring injury, carried the ball six times for 16 yards in the first half. Sharpe, removed from the team’s PUP list earlier this week, had one catch for 10 yards.
The Titans wrap up the preseason on Thursday at Kansas City.
The regular season opener against the Raiders is now less than two weeks away.
“Definitely not where we wanted it to be coming out for a dress rehearsal,” defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said of Sunday’s performance. “So we have to clean that up.”