Mularkey plans to stay course with struggling Titans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey pledged Friday to stay the course with his struggling team, the day after it lost for the eighth time in 10 games.
The Titans (2-8) fell 19-13 at Jacksonville on Thursday night as the Jaguars scored 10 fourth-quarter points to pull out a victory over their AFC South rival. The Titans are now 2 1/2 games behind division co-leaders Houston and Indianapolis, who are a half-game ahead of the 4-6 Jaguars. Mularkey said the Titans won't be making wholesale changes as long as they have what he considers a chance in the division race.
''We're by no means looking at it as if it's over, by any means, not in this division, it's not over,'' Mularkey said. ''We have two wins, and the first-place team has four wins, and there's six games to go. So we're by no means thinking about altering course.''
Thursday night's game was their fourth loss by a touchdown or less this season. The Titans next host the Oakland Raiders on Nov 29.
Tennessee's defense mostly gave a strong account at Jacksonville. The Titans sacked Blake Bortles four times, forced two turnovers and held Jacksonville to just one touchdown in five red-zone opportunities.
The Titans controlled time of possession and had 22 first downs. But it didn't add up to a victory, as Tennessee allowed a 63-yard punt return by Rashad Greene to set up Bortles' touchdown pass to Julius Thomas with 3:30 to play.
On the ensuing series, Titans tight end Phillip Supernaw was stripped of the football after a catch. The Jaguars recovered and eventually added three more points.
Even after that, the Titans had a final opportunity to win, reaching the Jaguars 23-yard line before Marcus Mariota was sacked as time expired.
''We had a chance to win the game last night all the way through three-and-a-half quarters,'' Mularkey said. ''The point of bringing them in there today was to watch the tape, study the tape, learn from the tape and learn how not to lose those games. They know when it's been done right, we're pretty darn good. We've proven that. We've proven it through the whole year, not just the last three games. We've proven we have a chance, regardless of where we're playing, regardless of who is on our roster and where we are with injuries. That's irrelevant.
''When we're efficient and playing with the effort that we're playing with, we are a good football team. So I'm not going to change the message. I never have in my 21 years of coaching. That's not changing. We do have proof that we're a good football team; we've got to just finish the games.''
That was the same message resonating throughout the Titans' disappointed locker room following the loss.
''We made a couple mistakes and had some sacks there at the end, and that really hurt us,'' said tight end Delanie Walker, who had eight catches for 109 yards. ''But the big punt return really did us in. It's frustrating to lose a game like this. I felt we played good right at the end, and I thought we were going to win it in that last drive. We just can't afford the mistakes we made, penalties and some sacks. You can't win doing that.
''There's no panic in the locker room. We just need to eliminate our mistakes.''
NOTES: Titans tight end Anthony Fasano suffered a bone bruise and didn't finish the game. Running back Dexter McCluster suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, and safety Da'Norris Searcy sustained a hyperextended knee.
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