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Vrabel's Post-Monday Mastery Continues

With Sunday's victory over the Las Vegas raiders, the Tennessee Titans are 5-0 in games that follow an appearance on Monday Night Football.

NASHVILLE – You can’t win them all. But since Mike Vrabel became their head coach, the Tennessee Titans have never lost immediately after they played on Monday Night Football.

Tennessee improved to 5-0 under their current head coach in games that followed a Monday contest with Sunday’s 24-22 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders at Nissan Stadium. That is tied for the best such record in the NFL since the start of 2018, when Vrabel replaced Mike Mularkey. The Baltimore Ravens are also 5-0 while New England is 4-0 and Green Bay is 3-0.

All five post-Monday triumphs have been home games, and the average margin of victory has been 11.4 points. Twice, the Titans won by 24 points. This latest was the third that was not decided until the final seconds.

Tennessee (1-2) does not play on Monday again this season.

“Guys were hurting. Guys were tired, but we just kept preaching one more play,” safety Kevin Byard said. “… It was going to be tight. It was going to come down to a last possession where it was the offense on the field or the defense on the field. We just happened to be out there last and make a play to win the game.”

The Titans got past the Raiders (0-3) only when linebacker Dylan Cole broke up a game-tying two-point conversion with 1:14 to play, and Austin Hooper recovered the subsequent onside kick. Las Vegas outscored Tennessee 12-0 in the second half and got its final 10 in a span of 2:15 late in the contest.

After a short work week, a fast start – touchdowns on the first three offensive possessions – and a field goal as time expired on the second quarter gave the Titans a 24-10 lead that ultimately held up.

“I'm proud of the way we responded (Sunday),” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “We came out and we played with an attitude, played with an edge and found a way to win at the end of the day. That's all we were asking ourselves to do. That's all we're asking each other to do and I'm proud of our guys. We did that.”

A look at the Titans’ games under Vrabel following an appearance on Monday Night Football:

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• Nov. 11, 2018: vs. New England: W 34-10 – The defense held New England quarterback Tom Brady to a 51.2 completion percentage and no touchdown passes. Tennessee scored touchdowns on its first two offensive possessions and never trailed.

• Dec. 2, 2018: vs. New York Jets, W 26-22 – Marcus Mariota’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis with 36 seconds to play put the Titans in front for the first time. The game-winning drive included a 25-yard scramble by Mariota on which he fumbled but recovered the loose ball.

• Sept. 20, 2020: vs. Jacksonville, W 33-30 – Stephen Gostkowski’s 49-yard field goal with 1:39 to play broke a 30-30 tie. Tennessee led by 13 at the start of the fourth quarter, but Jacksonville tied it with 7:25 to play.

• Oct. 24, 2021: vs. Kansas City, W 27-3 – The defense limited Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes to 206 passing yards and no touchdowns. Kansas City never crossed midfield in the first half, and for the game lost two fumbles, threw one interception, failed once on fourth down and missed a field goal.

• Sept. 25, 2022: vs. Las Vegas, 24-22 – Randy Bullock’s 48-yard field goal as time expired on the first half proved pivotal. Tennessee was outscored 12-0 over the final two quarters as the defense, which held the Raiders to one third-down conversion on 11 tries, allowed to fourth-down conversions on the Las Vegas’ final possession.

What made this latest one different from the others is what preceded the contest. Three of the first four post-Monday triumphs came six days after a victory. The exception was the 2018 matchup with the Jets, which came after a 34-17 loss at Houston.

The Titans did not simply lost last Monday night at Buffalo. Their 41-7 defeat was their worst of the Vrabel era, and it dropped them to 0-2 for the first time under their head coach.

Never, therefore, was it more important that they come back and get a win on a short week.

“I think it will help everybody,” Vrabel said. “Losing sucks, especially when you’re used to winning and you have high expectations. I’m excited for the players. I really am. … You only get what you fight for in this league, and I thought they fought for it (Sunday).”