A promising start for the Tennessee Titans quickly devolved into a blowout loss to division rival Indianapolis that saw Ryan Tannehill on the bench in garbage time.
The Titans took the first drive of the game and easily maneuvered for a six-play, 67-yard touchdown. After the Colts came up empty despite an 11-play possession, Tennessee had a chance to jump out big. A.J. Brown beat Xavier Rhodes deep and Tannehill dropped a dime while getting crushed on a third-and-11. Brown, however, couldn't corral the potential long TD, watching the ball land harmlessly on the turf.
From there, the game spiraled out of control for Tennessee.
The Colts offense marched up and down the field against a defense that put up about as much resistance as a feather pillow in a nunchuck fight. Philip Rivers guided Indy on scoring drives on five of the next six possessions -- the only Titans stop came at the 1-yard-line.
The Titans offense couldn't conjure big plays and was held under 300 total yards, with Tannehill passing for a paltry 147 yards and one early score.
And the special teams imploded with a shanked punt, a punt block for a touchdown and a missed field goal.
"We simply have to start playing better, plain and simple," Tannehill said. "We're just inconsistent. We've done some good things. The defense has done some good things. We're just not consistent enough as a team playing complementary football, playing off of each other. We're just not making enough plays. So we're going to have to clean that up, really get healthy over this little extended week we have here, clear our minds and our heads and come back ready to go on Monday because we can't wait around any longer."
The Titans fell to 6-3 and behind the Colts in the AFC South race. Tennessee has lost three of its last four games after getting off to a 5-0 start.
"We have to take it up a notch and be ready to play our best football every Sunday from here going forward," Tannehill said. "The onus is on us to take a critical look at ourselves and do whatever it takes to clean it up and make the plays on Sunday."
The schedule doesn't get any easier for Tennessee with the Baltimore Ravens on tap next week and a rematch with Indy in Week 12 that could decide the AFC South. If the Titans don't turn it around quickly after the blowout loss, they'll be conceding the division early and be in a dogfight for a Wild Card spot.