AFC South: 2013 Week 14 TEN at DEN Rapid Reaction
December, 8, 2013
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com
DENVER -- Rapid reaction from the Tennessee Titans' 51-28 loss to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High:
What it means: The Titans can’t have a winning season after dropping their eighth game of the season. At 5-8 they’ll have to win three in a row to avoid a losing season. Again the Titans played well for a segment of the game Sunday but showed an inability to maintain it and finish. Tennessee is hardly the only team to struggle against the Broncos. But the Titans had put themselves in position where they needed to pull an upset, and they could not. They've lost seven of their past nine.
Stock watch: Alterraun Verner has been excellent at cornerback this season, but against Peyton Manning and a quality stable of receivers, Verner got called for three penalties. One was declined. It was far from his best day in coverage.
Gutsy call: I really liked the fourth-and-1 play call in the second quarter. Ryan Fitzpatrick faked a handoff to Chris Johnson, rolled with Johnson and hit him with a little pass that CJ turned into a 28-yard gain. The Titans went on to score a touchdown that put them up 21-10. Things went south after that.
Bad flag: I don’t think the officiating went strongly against the Titans. But the personal foul against Bernard Pollard in the third quarter was for a hit to the shoulder of Eric Decker, and it simply did not warrant a flag. It was a key play on the opening drive of the third quarter when Denver marched to a go-ahead TD that made it 27-21. The Titans never got the lead back.
What’s next: The Titans host the Arizona Cardinals in a late-afternoon kickoff at LP Field for their final NFC West matchup of the season. They are 1-2 against the division so far.