The Tennessee Titans are trying to figure out how to stop hurting themselves offensively.
The quicker the better.
The Titans missed another opportunity at a rare home win with a 17-10 loss to Oakland and fell to 2-16 in their own stadium since the end of the 2013 season after a combination of mistakes. Now they hit the road for two straight games tied with Houston. The Titans play the Texans on Sunday and Tennessee enters the game scoring an NFL-worst 14 points per game and needing to clean up penalties, mistakes and turnovers.
“It’s the NFL,” running back DeMarco Murray said Monday. “It’s hard to score points, but at the end of the day, it’s self-inflicted wounds by us. I don’t think it’s the defense, it’s not the rush, it’s us. We have to find a way to get the job done.”
The Titans (1-2) outgained Oakland 393-368, and Murray even ended a 34-game drought for this franchise by rushing for 114 yards on 16 carries — the first running back to reach 100 yards in a game since the 2013 season finale.
Tennessee had a chance to win in the final minute after driving to the Oakland 3 before two penalties and one not called cost the Titans. Coach Mike Mularkey said Monday he told the offense to go for the 2-point conversion and the win when they scored the touchdown. Officials wiped that out flagging receiver Andre Johnson for offensive pass interference on his 13-yard TD catch.
Mularkey again defended left tackle Taylor Lewan for an unnecessary roughness penalty that pushed Tennessee back from the 3 to the Oakland 18 before Johnson’s catch. The Titans coach said he doesn’t want to take away his players aggressiveness, especially when a Raiders linebacker appeared to be coming into the pile when the whistle blew.
Lewan and umpire Dan Farrell also exchanged words after the game, which Mularkey called unacceptable. Wide receiver Harry Douglas didn’t draw a flag on the final play despite going down in the end zone as the ball arrived .
“We didn’t lose the game because of the officials,” Mularkey said. “We have to coach better, we have to play better, and I think they have to officiate better. All of us have to do things better … I just want consistency.”
One of Murray’s mistakes included going the wrong way on a pass to Douglas earlier in the fourth quarter.
“We just have to eliminate the mental errors,” Murray said. “I know I had two myself. We’re playing well. When you look at the film, it’s never as bad as you think it is. We’ve got to look at ourselves, each man in the mirror and say, ‘This is what I can improve on in my game.’ We’re a good team, there’s no doubt in my mind.”
The Titans rank seventh in the NFL averaging 128 yards rushing per game and third averaging 5.1 yards per rush. The defense currently is tied for eighth giving up only 19 points per game.
Marcus Mariota, who already has seven turnovers this season, has to limit his mistakes as well. The quarterback could get back both tight end Delanie Walker, who missed the Oakland game with a sore right hamstring, and wide receiver Kendall Wright, who has yet to play this season after an injured left hamstring.
“That’s me learning and growing,” Mariota said after the game. “I can do a better job of just taking it one play at a time, not trying to win the game on one throw. But again, it’s a process for me and I am doing my best to learn.”
Notes: Mularkey said safety Da’Norris Searcy sprained an ankle that might keep him out of Sunday’s game. LG Quinton Spain hurt his knee that may limit him.
Freelance writer Terry McCormick contributed to this report.
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