Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains thought that first incompletion put Fitzpatrick into a “funk” it took a long while for him to emerge from.
By the time the Titans went to the locker room for intermission, Fitzpatrick was five for 14 for 31 yards and a 44.3 passer rating. The Titans were down 13-0 and had just three first downs.
“I just didn’t play well early,” Fitzpatrick said. “I was trying to feel the game out rather than go out there and taking it. I think that was part of it.”
He came to life a bit, to his credit, in the second half.
Escaping from a collapsing pocket, he flicked a ball to Chris Johnson and Johnson, finally in some open space, cut across the field and went for a 49-yard scoring reception.
“That’s just on the fly,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m kind of running around and saw CJ getting up off the ground and threw it to him and you know, obviously, his specialty is when he gets in space, so he made a nice little run.”
Still, after four games without a turnover, the Titans gave away a fumbled punt early and Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions in the second half.
He ended the game with 247 passing yards, two more than Kansas City's Alex Smith. But Fitzpatrick had just a 57.7 passer rating.
That hardly picked up where Jake Locker, who had gotten better in each of his four games, left off. Locker was on the sideline on crutches following a sprained knee and hip suffered last week in a victory against the New York Jets.
All the talk of the backup getting back into game speed has to be over now.
The Titans blew a chance to get to 4-1. Now they make the toughest road trip in the NFL for a game in Seattle.
Fitzpatrick has a reputation as a streaky player. In his first game substitution for Locker, he was mostly bad.
He’ll probably have to be better than mostly good for the Titans to pull an upset in the Pacific Northwest and avoid going 3-3.