Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) catches a pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. Mariota scored a touchdown on the play. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Julie Jacobson
December 14, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans can take some measure of comfort from possibly their ugliest performance this season. It put them back in position to draft No. 1 overall in 2016.

If they play the final three games like they did losing to the New York Jets, that spot should be pretty safe.

Unfortunately, the Titans still have their toughest road game left, as they visit the New England Patriots (11-2) on Sunday in a game that has been dredging up painful memories of a 59-0 loss there in 2009.

So interim coach Mike Mularkey said Monday the Titans (3-10) have two choices after being routed 30-8 by the Jets.

''We can have a little pity party, or we can rally together ...,'' Mularkey said. ''And don't worry about pointing fingers. If there's anybody, just look at yourself and make sure you doing everything you're supposed to be doing before you look around.''

The Titans missed a chance at consecutive victories for the first time since the end of the 2013 season in a loss when they were dominated from start to finish. The final margin could have been so much worse if not for the defense holding the Jets to three field goals and another attempt that was missed.

Tennessee set the tone with cornerback Perrish Cox dropping a would-be interception on the fifth play for the defense. Tight end Delanie Walker followed with his first dropped pass this season on the first drive for the offense. Walker said they just didn't come ready to play.

''You can see us taking some plays off,'' Walker said. ''If that was finishing in the run game or not making the catches, you can say that's loafing and not focusing.''

The Titans' lone highlight came when rookie Marcus Mariota caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from running back Antonio Andrews late in the third quarter. That made Mariota the first player in a season to run, pass and catch a TD of 40 yards or longer since Walter Payton in 1983.

Mariota also was sacked five times - the most since the Titans promoted Mularkey to interim head coach Nov. 3 with the mission of protecting the Heisman Trophy winner selected No. 2 overall in April. Mularkey counted 12 missed tackles by the secondary alone.

The lowlight came late in the first half.

The Titans' headsets went down, leaving defenders looking to the sideline for a play call. Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick noticed and got a quick snap, tossing an easy pass to an uncovered Brandon Marshall for a 69-yard TD.

Cox said they didn't know the ball was snapped. Mularkey said the Jets went straight to the line without huddling, snapping the ball just as he was trying to alert the side judge their headsets went out for a timeout. Mularkey praised defensive lineman Jurrell Casey for his effort trying to chase down Marshall.

''They caught us with it, caught us uncovered,'' Mularkey said.

Mularkey has just three games left this season to make his case to keep this job past the finale Jan. 3 at Indianapolis. He didn't single out any specific player Monday, instead making it clear the effort given in the Jets' loss is not what the Titans want.

''It's not acceptable; these will be the consequences if it happens,'' Mularkey said. ''But I'm talking to the team, and I want them all listening, not just one guy.''

NOTES: Mularkey said linebacker Derrick Morgan had season-ending surgery Monday to repair his left shoulder, while running back Dexter McCluster will need season-ending surgery in the next day or two to repair a broken left wrist. Morgan has 4 1/2 sacks in 10 games, while McCluster ranks third in rushing and is the Titans' punt returner.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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