Tennessee Titans

24th Season First Game Played August 31, 1997
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1997: After getting clearance to leave Houston a year early, the team needed to find a temporary home while construction began on their new stadium in Nashville. Eventually, the Oilers would sign an agreement to play at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. On August 31st, the Oilers made their Tennessee debut at the Liberty Bowl by beating the Oakland Raiders 24-21 in overtime. Highlighting the day was Eddie George, who rushed for 216 yards. As quarterback Steve McNair struggled in his first full year as a starter, the Oilers would lose their next four games. The Oilers would recover to win three in a row but finished at 8-8 while alternating wins and losses in the second half. Playing in Memphis, the Oilers would go 6-2 at home, despite struggling to get more than 30,000 a game. After the season, the Oilers decide to move again, deciding they are better off playing in Nashville their eventual home, where they signed a deal to play a season on Vanderbilt University’s campus.

1998: The Oilers get off to a slow start playing in Nashville’s Vanderbilt Stadium, losing three of their first four games. quarterback Steve McNair and running back Eddie George continued to develop into All-Pros as the Oilers started to put together wins, in total taking seven of ten at one point, to stand at 8-6 in playoff contention with two weeks to go. However, the Oilers would finish at 8-8 again after losing their last two games to playoff teams.

1999: With their new stadium in Nashville finally complete, the team decides to make a name change to align themselves closely with the people of Tennessee. Playing on Nashville’s Greek influences, the name Titans is chosen to exemplify power, strength, knowledge, and excellence. On September 12th, the Titans christen Adelphia Coliseum in grand style beating the Cincinnati Bengals 36-35 on Al Del Greco’s Field Goal. Adelphia Coliseum would provide just what the team needed, a home field, and they would take advantage, winning all eight home games while compiling a 13-3 record and making the playoff as a Wild Card. Despite finishing second in the AFC Central, the Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars twice, handing them their only losses on the season. Along the way, Jevon Kearse quickly established himself as one of the most dominant players on defense, collecting 14 sacks while winning Defensive Rookie of the Year. In their first playoff game in Tennessee, the Titans host the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round. The Titans held the lead most of the day, but the Bills rallied and appeared to have dealt the Titans a heartbreaking loss by taking a 16-14 lead, with 16 seconds left in the game. Needing a miracle, Frank Wycheck lateraled the kick-off to Kevin Dyson, who ran the 75-yard for a touchdown that gave the Titans a 22-16 win, in a play that earned instant folklore in the NFL, earning the nickname of the “Music City Miracle.” The Titans would upset the Colts in Indianapolis in Divisional 19-16, as Eddie George rushed for 162 yards, including a key 68-yard touchdown run. In the AFC Championship Game, the Titans traveled to Jacksonville, hoping to beat the Jaguars for the third time. After falling behind 14-10 in the third quarter, the Titans would win the game behind 23 unanswered points 33-14 to advance to the first Super Bowl in franchise history. Leading the second-half surge was quarterback Steve McNair, who ran for two Touchdown scores.

Super Bowl XXXIV: Facing the St. Louis Rams in Atlanta, the Titans saw their dreams of a Lombardi trophy fading trailing 16-0 late in the third quarter. The Titans showed no quit as Running Back Eddie George got them on the board with a touchdown in the final seconds of the third quarter. Although they missed a two-point conversion, the Titans were not finished yet, scoring ten points in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 16-16. However, just after the two-minute warning, the Rams struck back, scoring on a Kurt Warner 73-yard Touchdown pass. Now down 23-16 with less than two minutes left, the Titans needed another miracle to get to overtime. Steve McNair drove the Titans down the field and had them at the Rams nine-yard line with sevens seconds left. There he would have one last play to tie the game, as he hit Wide Receiver Kevin Dyson who had an angle for the endzone, but Dyson was brought down one yard short of tying score by Mike Jones as time ran out.

2000: After starting the season with a loss in Buffalo to the Bills, the Titans established themselves as the best team in the AFC by winning eight straight games and taking over first place in the AFC Central. Their winning streak would come to an end on November 12th with a 24-23 loss to the Baltimore Raves. It was also their first loss after 13 wins at Adelphia Coliseum. The Titans would lose only one more game the rest of the season, finishing with a 13-3 record while capturing home-field advantage. In the Divisional Round, the Titans faced the Ravens again and had many opportunities to control the first half. However,  Al Del Greco had a miserable day missing a Field Goal and having another block as the game entered the fourth quarter tied 10-10. The Titans appeared set to take the lead as Del Greco set up for a chip shot. However, he had another Field Goal blocked, and this time it was returned 90-yards for a touchdown as the Ravens took the lead. A few minutes later, the Ravens would salt the game on a Ray Lewis interception return that gave them a 24-10 win. Following the game Del Greco, the all-time scorer in franchise history, was released.

2001: After losing Full Back Lorenzo Neal to Free Agency Running Back Eddie George was left without a lead blocker, and he was exposed right from the start in a 31-23 loss to the Dolphins at Adelphia Coliseum. In that game, the Titans were not only beat they were beaten up as quarterback Steve McNair and RB Eddie George were injured in the game. With their top stars playing hurt, the Titans got off to a 0-3 start. McNair would return and would have another stellar season passing for 3,350 yards and 21 touchdown passes. George would struggle with pain all season and would be limited to 939 yards, as the Titans could never get it going, as their playoff hopes ended early in a disappointing 7-9 season.

2002: The Titans started the season on a solid note with a 27-24 comeback win over the Philadelphia Eagles at The Coliseum. Jevon Kearse suffered a foot injury that would force him to miss most of the season along the way. Without Kearse, the Titans looked lost, losing their next four games. However, the Titans would rebound to win their next five games. After a one-point loss on the road to the Baltimore Ravens, the Titans found themselves facing a second straight loss trailing the New York Giants on the road 29-21 with nine seconds left in the game when Steve McNair hit Frank Wycheck with a nine-yard TD pass. Still needing a two-point conversion to force overtime, McNair rushed up the middle to knot the game at 29. In overtime, McNair would drive the Titans into Field Goal range, where Joe Nedney hit the game-winner for 38 yards out to improve the Titans to 32-29. The win would spur the Titans on to a strong finish as it started a season-ending five-game winning streak that enabled the Titans to capture the newly formed AFC South with a record of 11-5 earned them a first-round bye. However, the Titans would not garner any respect from the rest of the league, as they were the only team not to have a representative earn a trip to the Pro Bowl. Facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Playoffs at The Coliseum, the Titans would be put to the test as Eddie George was knocked out of the game early in the third quarter with a concussion and Steve McNair was playing through a badly injured thumb, as the game went into overtime tied 31-31. In overtime, the Titans took the opening kick down the field when Joe Nedney hit a 31-yard Field Goal. However, as fireworks were celebrating the Titans’ victory, the referees ruled the Steers had called time out before the kick. On his second attempt, Nedney’s kick would sail wide. However, the Steelers would be called for running into the kicker, giving Nedney another chance, which he nailed from 26 yards out to send the Titans to the AFC Championship. Facing the Oakland Raiders on the road with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, the Titans appeared to be in good shape late in the first half leading 17-14 on the road. However, two costly fumbles deep in Raiders’ territory gave the Raiders a 24-17 halftime lead. The Titans would not recover as the Raiders went on to win the game 41-24.

2003: The Titans started off the season by getting a measure of revenge against the Oakland Raiders, winning an exciting opener in primetime 25-20. After splitting their next four games, the Titans ran off a six-game winning streak as quarterback Steve McNair made the Titans one of the top offenses in the NFL, with seven of their first ten games scoring at least 30 points, despite playing with consistent pain through a variety of injuries. The injuries would catch up to McNair as he missed two of the last three games after the Titans’ hopes of winning the division title were lost in a 29-27 loss to the Colts at the Coliseum in Week 14. Nonetheless, the Titans would have a successful season getting into the playoffs as a Wild Card with a solid 12-4 record as Steve McNair shared NFL MVP honors with Colts QB Peyton Manning. In the playoffs, the Titans battled the Baltimore Ravens in a classic nail bitter. Both McNair and Eddie George battling injury had solid games as the Titans got the road upset 20-17 with a 46-yard game-winning field goal by Gary Anderson in the final minute. Things would prove tougher the following week as the Titans traveled to Foxboro, where they were met by temperatures near zero degrees against the New England Patriots. Battling the cold and pain, McNair had another solid game passing for over 200 yards as the game was tied 14-14 in the fourth quarter. After the Pats took a 17-14 lead with 4:11 left in the game. The Titans had one more chance to tie the game or pull off the upset. However, the drive died at midfield, as did the Titans season. The off-season would prove turbulent for the Titans as Running Back Eddie George and Defensive End Jevon Kearse were forced to be let go due to salary cap concerns. In contrast, Tight End Frank Wycheck was forced to retire due to continued concussion problems.

2004: The new-look Titans would start the season earlier than expected when a coming hurricane in Miami moved their season opener from Sunday to Saturday. The early start would not affect the Titans, who shut down the Dolphins for a solid 17-7 win. Wins would not come easy as they dropped their next three games as quarterback Steve McNair suffered through a season of nagging injuries that would limit it to just 8 games and have him contemplating retirement. Without their MVP McNair, it seemed as if the air had been let out of the balloon as the Titans endured a disappointing 5-11 season, their worst since moving to Tennessee. After the disappointing season, the Titans continued to make a youth movement as several key players, including Samari Rolle, Kevin Carter, and Andre Dyson, were let go.

2005: Coming off a disappointing season, the Titans got off to a rocky start as they were pounded in Week 1 by the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-7. They would recover to win their home opener a week later against the Baltimore Ravens 25-10. There would be more days like Week 1 as the season went on as the Titans struggled all year with one of the worst defenses in the NFL, while the body of QB Steve McNair continued to break down. As the season wore on back up Billy Volek would see more and more playing time as rumors circulated that Steve McNair might actually retire. The Titans would finish in third place with a 4-12 record, their worst since moving to Tennessee. Following the season, the Titans rebuilding continued as they drafted Rose Bowl Hero Vince Young out of Texas while rudely showing Steve McNair the door by first not allowing him to use the team’s practice facility before trading him to the Baltimore Ravens.

2006: When the season began, the Titans were a team looking toward the future as they were not expected to make a run for the playoffs, while the fans anticipated when quarterback Vince Young, the third overall pick, would get his chance to play. Young would play sparingly in the first two games before finally getting his chance to start in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys. Young and the Titans would lose that game 45-14, as they got off to a 0-5 start. Young got his first win in Week 6 against the Washington Redskins, as the Titans overcame a 14-3 deficit to win the game 25-22 before returning home the following week to beat the Houston Texans 28-22. However, there were still growing pains for the young Titans as they dropped their next two games and fell to 2-7. The Titans, though, would not end the season quietly as they stunned the Philadelphia Eagles 31-13 on the road, using the big play to win the games, as a 70-yard run by Travis Henry and a 90-yard punt return by Pacman Jones put the game out of reach in the third quarter. A week later, the Titans came out flat as they trailed the New York Giants at home 21-0 in the fourth quarter. However, the Titans would show fans that there was no quit in their team as they scored 24 unanswered points to stun the Giants 24-21, as Pacman Jones intercepted a pass by Eli Manning in the final minute to set the game-winning field goal. The Titans used the momentum of that win to stun the Indianapolis Colts 20-17 the following week at LP Field as Rob Bironas nailed a game-winning 60-yard field goal as time expired. A week later, Vince Young returned to his hometown Houston to show Texans fans just what got away, leading the Titans to their fourth straight win with a 39-yard touchdown run in overtime 26-20. Suddenly the Titans were the hottest team in football as they climbed to .500 with a 24-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The streak appeared to be on the verge of ending the following week as they trailed the Buffalo Bills 29-20 on the road in the fourth quarter. However, the never say die Titans rallied again for a 30-29 win, with Bironas again kicking the game-winner. With an outside chance of making the playoffs, the Titans ended the season with a game against the New England Patriots. However, the Pats looking to finish the season strong jumped out to a big lead and never looked back, as the Titans finished the season with an 8-8 record, as Vince Young was named Offensive Rookie of the Year. Not all news was good news for the Titans, as Pacman Jones would find himself in legal hot water for his involvement in a nightclub shooting in Las Vegas. With a history of arrests, Jones became the poster child for out-of-control NFL players and was made an example of by commissioner Roger Goodell who suspended him the entire 2007 season.

2007: Despite early struggles from Vince Young, the Titans got off to a solid start backed by a strong defense, winning three of their first four games. Their only during this period came in Week 2 when they were beaten by the reigning Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts 22-20. Vince Young would suffer a knee injury in Week 6 as the Titans were beaten by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10 in a hard-fought defensive battle on the road. Facing the Houston Texans with backup Kerry Collins, the Titans again played strong, building a 32-7 lead. A furious Texans comeback had the Titans on the ropes, as the Texans scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take a 36-35 lead with 57 seconds left. Facing third and ten, Kerry Collins, who had a solid game, hit Roydell Williams on a 46-yard pass to set Rob Bironas up for a game-winning 29-yard field goal. The kick was also a record as Bironas nailed eight during the game. Vince Young would return one week later but struggled badly, completing just 6-of-14 passes for 42 yards. Fortunately, LenDale White had a career day, rushing for 133 yards as the Titans beat the Oakland Raiders 13-9. A week later, Young struggled again, but the Titans continued to win with defense, beating the Carolina Panthers 20-7. At 6-2, the Titans were about to hit a road bump, as they dropped their next three games. Vince Young’s slump would end a week later as he passed for 248 yards with two touchdowns to beat the Texans 28-20. Leading the San Diego Chargers 17-3 in the fourth quarter, the Titans were stunned on the road as the Chargers rallied to win in overtime 23-17, putting the Titans playoff hopes on the ropes. Needing a win desperately, the Titans marched into Kansas City and beat the Chiefs 26-17, as Vince Young had a strong game with 191 yards passing and two touchdowns without throwing an interception. A week later, the Titans nearly let it slip away at home, as the Titans barely beat the 4-12 New York Jets 10-6, as the defense saved the day with six sacks led by Kyle Vaden Boch, took down Jets quarterback Chad Pennington, three times. At 9-6, the Titans still needed a win in their final game to secure a playoff spot. The bad news it was in Indianapolis, but the good news the Colts had nothing to play for as they rested up for the playoffs with Peyton Manning just playing in one series. The Titans would take full advantage, winning 16-10 as Rob Bironas was the difference again with three key field goals in the second half. In the playoffs, the Titans faced the Chargers again, this time in San Diego. For much of the first half, the Titans dominated the game, but they could not take full advantage of great field position and only held a 6-0 lead at halftime. In the second half, the Chargers would come alive, scoring 17 unanswered points to beat the Titans 17-6.

2008: The Titans won a key game to start the season, beating their AFC South rival Jacksonville Jaguars 17-10, despite a poor game from quarterback Vince Young, who left the game with a sprained knee. Leading the way to victory was the Titans, defense led by Albert Haynesworth, as the Titans combined to sack David Garrard seven times while picking off the Jaguars quarterback twice. Between the first and second week, the Titans had to deal with a distraction caused by Vince Young, who was upset about missing games and his poor performance. However, with Kerry Collins under center, the Titans’ defense continued to roll, beating the Cincinnati Bengals 24-7. Collins would play well for the Titans, as they entered the bye week with a 5-0 record, after rallying to beat the Baltimore Ravens 13-10, with ten unanswered points in the 4th quarter. With Kerry Collins leading the Titans to a perfect start, a decision was made to have him start at quarterback the rest of the season, despite Vince Young’s knee returning to full health. Collins and the Titans continued to roll after a bye, with a 34-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs that saw Titans 1-2 punch at Running Back Chris Johnson and LenDale White combined for 317 yards and four Touchdowns. A week later, the Titans proved they are for real with a 31-21 Monday Night win over the Indianapolis Colts that had them in the driver’s seat for the division title. Titans would remain undefeated into late November as they entered a home game with the New York Jets holding a 9-0 record. Against the Jets, it would be a long day for the Titans as Brett Favre picked apart the Titans defense, leading the Jets to a 34-13 win. The Titans would not have to wait long to rebound, as they dominated the woeful Detroit Lions 47-10 on Thanksgiving, four days later. The Titans would clinch the division title a week later with a 28-9 win over the Cleveland Browns, as they would go on to capture home-field advantage in the AFC Playoffs with a 13-3 record that matched their franchise-best performance. The Titans would face a tough test in the playoffs as they hosted the Baltimore Ravens, who gave them all they could handle in Week 5, holding a 10-3 lead, before Kerry Collins led the Titans to a fourth-quarter comeback. This time in the Divisional Playoffs, the Titans would strike first behind an eight-yard touchdown run from Chris Johnson in the first quarter. However, the Ravens would quickly strike back, scoring on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to former Titan Derrick Mason. The next two quarters would be a defensive struggle, as the game remained deadlocked 7-7 entering the fourth quarter. The Ravens would take the lead early in the final quarter on a 21-yard chip shot from Matt Stover. The Titans answered back with a 27-yard Field Goal from Rob Bironas. Late in the game, Stover again gave the Ravens lead with a 43-yard Field Goal with 57 seconds remaining. Down 13-10, the Titans facing desperation were unable to answer, losing another playoff heartbreaker to the Baltimore Ravens at home.

2009: After their disappointing playoff exit, the Titans began the season on Thursday night, facing the reigning Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The game would be tight throughout, but eventually, the Titans would lose in overtime 13-10. A week later, in their home opener, the Titans would again lose by a field goal as the Houston Texans edged the Titans 34-31. Titans would continue until their bye week as they posted a 0-6 record, culminating with an embarrassing 59-0 loss to the New England Patriots. After the bye week at the request of Owner Bud Adams, Vince Young was named starting Quarterback, replacing Kerry Collins, who started the first six games. The move paid dividends right away as the Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-13 as RB Chris Johnson rushed for 228 yards with two long touchdown runs of 52 and 89 yards. With Johnson leading the way, the Titans would win five games in a row as they faced the Indianapolis Colts with a chance to get back to .500. The Colts, who were 11-0 entering the game, would prove too much for the Titans to handle as they won 27-17 to drop Tennessee to 5-7. However, the Titans would recover, beating the St. Louis Rams and Miami Dolphins in the next two games to reach 7-7, emerging as a late dark horse in the AFC Playoff chase. That would all come to an end on Christmas Day, as the Titans were beaten at home by the San Diego Chargers 42-17. The Titans would close the season with a road win over the Seattle Seahawks 17-13 to finish with an 8-8 record. As the Titans won eight of their last ten games, Chris Johnson would have one of the best individual seasons in NFL history, becoming just the sixth player in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards, as he finished the season with 2,006 yards rushing. Adding his 503 receiving yards, Chris Johnson set a new single-season record for All-Purpose Yards for 2,509 yards with 16 touchdowns as he was named Offensive Player of the Year.

2010: Chris Johnson picked up where he left off the year before, as he had 142 yards rushing with two touchdowns as the Titans began the season with a 38-13 win over the Oakland Raiders at LP Field. In Week 2, things would not go as well, as Vince Young is benched, while Johnson is limited to 34 yards in an ugly 19-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Chris Johnson would recover to rush for 125 yards, as the Titans beat the New York Giants 29-10 in their first road games, as the defense had a big day forcing three turnovers. Returning home a week later, the Titans would suffer a fourth-quarter collapse, losing to the Denver Broncos 26-20. With Chris Johnson leading the way, they would earn back to back wins on the road against the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars. They would then earn a third straight win against the Philadelphia Eagles as Receiver Kenny Britt had a breakout performance, with 225 yards receiving and three touchdowns as Kerry Collins started for an injured Vince Young in a 37-19 win in Music City. Young would return to face the San Diego Chargers a week later but was forced out again after tweaking his ankle. The Titans lost 33-25 to enter the bye week with a 5-3 record, acquiring WR Randy Moss along the way to add more firepower to the offense. After the bye, it was Kerry Collins who was injured as the Titans suffered a 29-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins. A week later, the Titans would drop their third in a row, losing to the Washington Redskins 19-16 at LP Field; the loss came despite 100-yard games from receiver Nate Washington and RB Chris Johnson. The game would see Vince Young go down with another injury, tearing the flexor tendon in his thumb. Following the game, Young threw his shoulder pads into the crowd as he left the field, had an altercation with Coach Jeff Fisher in the locker room, and stormed out. With the relationship between Coach Jeff Fisher permanently stained, and QB Kerry Collins unavailable, the Titans turned to Rusty Smith against the Houston Texans. They came up with a fourth straight loss, as they were blanked 20-0. Collins would return, but the Titans continued to lose, dropping their next two games before beating the Texans 31-17 in their final home game of the season. It would not be enough to save their season as they lost their final two games and seven of their last eight overall to finish the season with a record of 6-10. Following the season, Coach Jeff Fisher who had led the franchise since 1994 when they were still known as the Houston Oilers, would be fired as an argument over the firing of assistant coaches. The Titans would go on to name Mike Munchak, a legendary offensive lineman who was on Fisher’s staff since 1994 as their new head coach. The Titans would also move to release QB Vince Young, drafting rookie QB Jake Locker in the first round of the NFL Draft.

2011: It was the start of a new era in Nashville, as the Tennessee Titans for the first time had a new coach, as Mike Munchak replaced Jeff Fisher, who had led the team since their last years in Houston. The Titans also had a new quarterback as they drafted Jake Locker from Washington in the first round. However, they would not hand the reigns over to the rookie, as they also signed veteran Matt Hasselbeck to play the role of tutor. When the season began, the Titans’ main concern was Running Back Chris Johnson, who came to camp out of shape after a holdout. In the Titans’ first game, Johnson collected just 24 yards as the Titans were beaten on the road by the Jacksonville Jaguars 16-14. In their home opener, the Titans would put up a much better effort as they as Matt Hasselbeck passed for 358 yards as the Titans doubled up the Baltimore Ravens 26-13. Hasselbeck continued his strong play a week later, leading the Titans to a 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos, with 311 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner to Daniel Graham fourth quarter. The big play helped pave the way as the Titans improved to 3-1, as an 80yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Jared Cook and a 97-yard interception return guided the Titans to a 31-13 win over the Cleveland Browns. All the Titans’ momentum would quickly disappear as they suffered two blowout losses with the bye week in the middle to drop to 3-3. The Titans would get back on track with a win against the Indianapolis Colts, as they began alternating wins and losses. In Week 11, Jake Locker would see his first significant playing time, passing for 147 yards with two touchdowns in a 23-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. At 5-5, the Titans rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-17, as Tommie Campbell electrified LP Field with an 84-yard kickoff return. The following week the Titans would climb to 7-5, as Chris Johnson ended a season-long slump by running for 153 yards with two touchdowns as the Titans held off the Buffalo Bills 23-17. Locker would again get time on the field as the Titans hosted the New Orleans Saints. Once again, he played well, passing for 282 yards, including a 40-yard bomb to Nate Washington in the fourth quarter. However, it was not enough as the Titans lost to the Saints 22-17 as Locker was sacked on the Saints’ eight-yard line as the game came to an end. The Titans would suffer an even worse loss a week later as they lost to the previously winless Colts 27-13 to fall to 7-7. The Titans would give themselves a faint chance to make the playoffs by beat the Jaguars at home 23-17 in Week 16 as Matt Hasselbeck again topped 300 yards. They would then close out the season with a 23-22 win over the Texans, as the playoff bout Texans attempted a two-point conversion rather than kick the PAT for a tie at the end of regulation. With the win, the Titans finished at 9-7, but they would miss out on the playoff via a tiebreaker against the Cincinnati Bengals, resulting from their 24-17 loss at Cincinnati in Week 9.

2012: With Jake Locker starting the season under center, the Titans hoped to take a step forward as they started the season against the New England Patriots. Locker struggled as the Titans started the season with a 34-13 loss. Following a 38-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers, the Titans hosted the Detroit Lions, needing to get their season back on track. Locker, who struggled in the first two weeks, played a solid game passing for 378 yards. The game would feature a crazy fourth quarter as the two teams combined for 46 points as the game went into overtime tied 41-41. The Titans’ 21 points all came on long plays, with Darius Reynaud returning a kickoff 105 yards, while Nate Washington caught a 71-yard pass from Jake Locker and Alterraun Verner returned a fumble 72 yards. The Titans would win the game 44-41 on a Field Goal by Rob Bironas. However, it would not carry over as the Titans were blown out in their next two games, with Jake Locker suffering a shoulder injury. The Titans would get back on track in surprising fashion as they upset the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-23 in Thursday Night Game on Week 6. The following week the Titans got their first road win as Chris Johnson broke an early-season slump by rushing for 195 yards with two scores as the Titans edged the Bills 35-34, with Nate Washington catching the game-winning score from Matt Hasselbeck. With a chance to get back to .500, the Titans stumbled again, losing in overtime to the Indianapolis Colts 19-13 on the road, while they suffered another ugly blowout loss against the Chicago Bears 51-20. The loss to the Bears led to the Titans being called out by Owner Bud Adams, who was never known to be that vocal in the past. The Titans responded as Jake Locker returned the face to Miami Dolphins in Week 10, leading the way to a complete 37-3 win in Miami as the Titans defense forced four turnovers. However, after the bye week, the Titans would suffer three straight division losses, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were one of the worst teams in the league. In a Monday Night Game against the New York Jets, the Titans losing streak came to an end as they intercepted Mark Sanchez four times on the way to winning the game 14-10. A week later, the same Titans team that was embarrassed against the Bears showed its ugly head again and suffered a 55-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers as they suffered their tenth loss of the season. The Titans would end the season with a 38-20 win over the Jaguars for their only AFC South win of the year. Highlighting the game were punt returns of 69 yards and 81 yards for touchdowns by Darius Reynaud as the Titans posted a disappointing 6-10 record.

2013: After an uneven 2012 season, the Titans opened the season on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Titans made an early misstep when Darius Reynaud stepped backward into the endzone on the opening kickoff for a safety. The Titans defense shutdown the Steelers, allowing just a late score as they held the Steelers to a total of 194 yards forcing two turnovers. The Titans, meanwhile, got three Rob Bironas Field Goals and a Jackie Battle touchdown to win the game 16-9. The Titans nearly started the season with two road wins, as they led the Houston Texans 24-16 following an Alterraun Verner interception return. However, the Texans tied the game on an Arian Foster touchdown run and two-point conversion run and would win the game in overtime 30-24. In their home opener, the Titans would face the San Diego Chargers, trailing 17-13 late in the fourth quarter Jack Locker connected with Justin Hunter on a 34-yard touchdown pass to win the game 20-13. It marked the first time the Titans beat the Chargers since 1992. The Titans started continued as they beat the New York Jets 38-13, with Jake Locker throwing for 189 yards in three touchdown passes before being knocked out of the game with a hip injury when he was smashed by Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. Locker would miss the next two games, both in which the Titans would lose with backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jake Locker would return for Week 7, but the Titans fell behind early as the San Francisco 49ers behind the running of Frank Gore jumped out to a 24-0 lead through three quarters and cruised their way to a 31-17 win. A die after their loss to the 49ers, the Titans lost the man who had been their biggest supporter from the beginning days with the AFL in Houston, as the only owner they had ever known Bud Adams, passed away at the age of 90. Following their bye week, the Titans faced the St. Louis Rams on the road, who were now being coached by Jeff Fisher. The tick back and forth, late in the fourth quarter, the Titans would get the 28-21 win as Chris Johnson scored on a 28-yard run. Johnson showed flashes of his 2,000-yard season in the game, rushing for 150 yards with two touchdowns. A week later, the Titans season would suffer a major setback, as Jake Locker suffered a season-ending Lisfranc fracture to his right foot. Against the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night, the Titans got off to a strong start thanks to two Chris Johnson touchdowns, but Colts came back with a strong second half to win the game 30-27 and all but put the division title on ice. The Titans would rebound with a 23-19 win on the road against the Oakland Raiders as Kendall Wright caught the winning touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick with ten seconds left in the game. The Titans’ playoff hopes would vanish as they lost their next three games. The Titans would end the season with wins over the Jaguars and Texans, but their 7-9 finish was a great disappointment for all. Following the season, Mike Munchak would be relieved of his coaching duties.

2014: The Tennessee Titans started the season strongly under new Coach Ken Whisenhunt stunning the Kanas City Chiefs 26-10 at Arrowhead Stadium. In the game, Jake Locker was solid, passing for 266 yards with two touchdowns. However, in their home opener, the Titans suffered a major letdown, losing to the Dallas Cowboys 26-10 as Locker had two costly interceptions. Jake Locker would continue to struggle a week later, throwing two more interceptions and suffering a wrist injury as the Titans were mauled by the Cincinnati Bengals 33-7. Charlie Whitehurst would get the start the following week but did not do any better losing to the Indianapolis Colts 41-17. Locker returned to face the Cleveland Browns but again exited with an injury after a first down touchdown pass to Kendall Wright. Whitehurst came on and was quite effective in helping the Titans build a 28-3 lead. However, the Browns got in the end zone before the end of the first half and scored 19 unanswered points in the second half to stun the Titans 29-28 at LP Field. Charlie Whitehurst would start the following week as the Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 16-14 in a lackluster game. It would be the final time the Titans would win during the season. The rest of the season would see the struggle to find a reliable quarterback as Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst, and rookie Zach Mettenberger started multiple games without distinguishing themselves. Few of the Titans’ ten straight losses were close as they suffered a 2-14 record, their worst record since moving to Tennessee. Following the season, a frustrated Jake Locker would announce his retirement.

2015: After a horrendous 2-14 season, the Tennessee Titans, with the number two pick in the NFL Draft, selected quarterback Marcus Mariota from Oregon, who had taken the Ducks to the National Championship Final and won the Heisman Trophy. Facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who picked Jameis Winston with the number one pick, Mariota’s NFL debut could not be any better as he passed for 209 yards and tied a record with four touchdowns as the Titans clobbered the Buccaneers 42-14. Previously only Fran Tarkenton had four touchdown passes in his first NFL game. Mariota would not fare as well in his second start as he was sacked seven times as the Titans were beaten by the Cleveland Browns 28-14. Marcus Mariota would make his first official home start in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts and had an up and down game, passing for 367 yards with two touchdowns, but two interceptions allowed the Colts to rally from down 27-14 at the start of the fourth quarter to win 35-33 as Jalston Flower is tackled attempting a game-tying two-point play with 47 seconds left. Following the bye week, the Titans would see an early 10-0 lead disappear as they lost to the Buffalo Bills 14-13, as Stephon Gillmore picked off Marcus Mariota with 1:32 left to seal the Titans’ fate at Nissan Stadium. Mariota would experience growing pains and real pain as he was injured during an ugly 38-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Zach Mettenberger got the start in the next two games, with the Titans losing to the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans and managing just a total of 16 points. Sitting at 1-6, Ken Whisenhunt would pay the price as he was fired. In 22 games as a coach with the Titans, Whisenhunt managed just three wins. Mike Mularkey would take over for the remainder of the season and benefit from the return of Marcus Mariota who suffered a knee injury on a low hit from Oliver Vernon against the Dolphins in Week 6. Mariota passed for 371 yards with four touchdowns, including a five-yard pass to Anthony Fasano in overtime that won the game 34-28 against the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. After losing their next three games, the Titans ended their 11-game losing streak by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 42-39 in a Nissan Stadium Shootout. The two teams combined for 41 points in the fourth quarter, highlighted by an 87-yard run by Marcus Mariota, who also passed 268 yards with three touchdowns. Mariota would suffer another knee injury the following week against the New York Jets as the Titans lost 30-8. Marcus Mariota would miss the final two games, both Tennessee losses, as the Titans finished with a record of 3-13. In 12 starts in his rookie season, Marcus Mariota passed for 2,818 yards with 19 touchdowns and ten interceptions.

2016: In Mike Mularkey’s first full season as head coach, he hoped to make strides after the Tennessee Titans won just five games in a two-year period. Opening the season at home against the Minnesota Vikings, the Titans started on the wrong foot blowing a 10-0 halftime lead as the Vikings scored a pair of defensive touchdowns to win the game 25-16. A week later, the Titans showed the ability to come back on the road, rallying to beat the Detroit Lions 16-15. The Titans trailed 15-3 at the start of the fourth quarter, but Marcus Mariota saved the day with a pair of touchdowns, including a nine-yard pass to Andre Johnson with 1:13 left, which proved to be the game-winner. Mariota struggled at home a week later, throwing two interceptions as the Titans suffered a 17-10 loss to the Oakland Raiders. In their first divisional game, the Titans suffered a 27-20 loss to the Houston Texans, as special team breakdown in the third quarter was the difference. In Week 5, the Titans got a solid performance from Marcus Mariota, who had three touchdowns in a 30-17 win over the Miami Dolphins on the road. A week later, the Titans earned their first home win, beating the Cleveland Browns 28-26, as Mariota had another three-touchdown game. Things did get hairy late for Tennessee as the Browns scored two late touchdowns. The Titans would get another solid game from Marcus Mariota in Week 7, passing for 232 with a pair of touchdowns, but it was not enough to beat the fell to the Indianapolis Colts at home 34-26. On Thursday Night Football, the Titans got back to .500 with a 24-point outburst in the second quarter to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 36-22. Though they still had trouble breaking over the .500 barrier as they slipped up again in Week 9, losing to the San Diego Chargers 43-35 as two costly turnovers in the second half led to defensive scores for the Chargers. Facing the Green Bay Packers at home, the Titans delivered their most impressive win of the season, 47-25, as Mariota passed for 295 yards with four touchdown passes, but they still could not break over .500 as they lost to the Colts again 24-17 in Week 11. The Titans would get back to .500 again, with a 27-21 road win over the Chicago Bears that enabled them to head into the bye week at 6-6. After the bye, the Titans finally climbed over .500 with a 13-10 win over the Denver Broncos. The Titans had shut down the Broncos but had to sweat out a fourth-quarter rally as Denver scored ten unanswered points and had the ball late before Daimion Stafford recovered a fumble by Daimion Stafford with 1:04 left to seal the win. A week later, it was the Titans staging a fourth-quarter comeback. Down 17-7, the Titans scored 12 unanswered points to beat the Kansas City Chiefs on the road 19-17. The Titans would win the game on a 53-yard field goal by Ryan Succop as time expired. Succop’s game-winner was actually his second attempt to win the game, as he missed his first kick. However, the miss did not count since the Chiefs called time out. At 8-6, the Titans were able to win the AFC South entering the final two games of the season. That dream would die a week later, as Marcus Mariota suffered a broken leg in a 38-17 loss to the Jaguars. The Titans would beat the Texans 24-17 in the final game of the season, with Matt Cassel getting the start to finish 9-7, their first winning season in five years. Before going down in the penultimate game of the season, Mariota had a solid sophomore season, passing for 3,426 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. At the same time, DeMarcus Murray proved to be a key off-season pick up, rushing for 1,287 yards with 12 touchdowns.

2017: Hoping to build off the improvements of 2016, the Tennessee Titans began the season against the Oakland Raiders. In the game at Nissan Stadium, the teams had similar numbers, with Marcus Mariota passing for 256 yards, but Derek Carr had two touchdowns as the Raiders won the game 26-16. The Titans bounced back in Week 2, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road 37-16 as they seized control of matters with 17-unanswered points in the third quarter. Returning home, the Titans held off a late charge to beat the Seattle Seahawks 33-27 as DeMarco Murray had one of his best games since joining the Titans, rushing for 115 yards, highlighted by a 75-yard touchdown run. The Titans of 2017 were a young team on the rise. For teams like that, there are often games you forget and burry, the Titans had such a performance in Week 4, losing on the road to the Houston Texans 57-14, as Mariota completed just six of ten passes for 96 with yards with two interceptions while suffering a hamstring injury. Mariota was sidelined in Week 5, as the Titans suffered a 16-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Marcus Mariota returned in Week 6 and led a second-half comeback against the Indianapolis Colts after trailing 19-9. The Titans got three big touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win the game 36-22 as rookie Taywan Taylor caught a 53-yard pass for his first career touchdown, and Derrick Henry had a 72-yard scoring run. A week later, the Titans’ offense could not get much going but managed to beat the Cleveland Browns 12-9 in an overtime game with seven combined field goals, including the game-winner by Ryan Succop from 47 yards. After going into the bye week at 4-3, the Titans came back and played a much stronger game beating the Baltimore Ravens at home 23-20 as Marcus Mariota passed for 218 yards with two touchdowns. In Week 10, Mariota made the big plays when it mattered most connecting with DeMarco Murray on a seven-yard touchdown pass to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-20. Four days later, the Titans came up flat in a 40-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers as Mariota was picked off four times. The Titans would bounce back the following week with their first win in Indianapolis since 2007 as they edged the Colts 20-16. In Week 13, they improved to 8-4 with a 24-13 win over the Texans as Derrick Henry broke the game open with a 75-yard touchdown run. With the playoffs in reach, the Titans began to stumble down the stretch, losing to the Arizona Cardinals 12-7 as Mariota struggled and was picked off twice. A week later, they suffered a second straight loss on the road, falling to the San Francisco 49ers 25-23 on a last-second field goal by Robbie Gould. Returning home, things would not go any better as the Los Angeles Rams 27-23 beat them. Fortunate to be playing the Jaguars after they clinched the AFC South, the Titans still made the playoffs with a 15-10 win at Nissan Stadium as they finished the season at 9-7. In his third NFL season, Marcus Mariota’s development continued as he passed for 3,232 yards with 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while scoring five rushing touchdowns for 312 yards with five touchdowns.

2017 NFL Playoffs: After their late-season struggles, the Tennessee Titans were not given much chance to beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Wild Card Weekend at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs came out and seized control of the game right away, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter on the way to building a 21-3 halftime lead. The Titans would get back in the game on a flukish touchdown play, as Marcus Mariota caught his own deflected pass and ran it into the end zone, completing a 15-play 91-yard drive. The play turned the game’s momentum around as the Titans got a 35-yard touchdown run by Derrick Henry and a 22-yard pass from Mariota to Eric Decker to take a 22-21 lead. After the Chiefs failed to score, the Titans got the ball back with a chance to run out the clock, only to see a fumble by Henry scooped up and returned for a touchdown. The Titans, though, would have nothing to worry about as replay showed the runner was down before the fumble, and they had a chance to exhale. A play later, Derrick Henry picked up the first down, securing the stunning 22-21 win. The 18-point comeback was the largest for a road team in 45 years. The prize for their stunner in Kansas City was a trip to Foxboro against the New England Patriots. The Titans looked good early, as Marcus Mariota connected with Corey Davis on a 15-yard touchdown for the first quarter’s only score. The Titans also scored the game’s final points, with Mariota and Davis hooking up on an 11-yard score. Unfortunately, the Patriots scored 35 points in between and won the game 35-14. Despite making the playoffs and winning a postseason game for the first time since 2002, the Titans decided to part ways with coach Mike Mularkey at the end of the season.

2018: Before the Tennessee Titans season, there was a major emphasis on rebranding the team’s culture. Tennessee was welcoming head coach Mike Vrabel. Vrabel was seen as a younger players-coach based on his 13 years as a linebacker for the New England Patriots, where he won three Super Bowls. Before the Titans, Vrabel coached under Urban Meyer at Ohio State and Bill O’Brien in Houston. Alongside Matt LaFleur, Vrabel was looking to move away from the heavy smash mouth offense from the year before. Entering his fourth season in the NFL, Marcus Mariota was certainly in a “prove it” year after throwing for only 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions the year prior. The season opened up against the Miami Dolphins recorded as the longest game in NFL history (7 hours 8 minutes) after several lightning delays in Miami. In tough conditions, Marcus Mariota struggled to complete ten passes for 100 yards, and he has two interceptions. In addition, Derrick Henry struggled on 2.6 yards per carry, but Dion Lewis shined with 76 yards and a touchdown. In a tough 27-20 loss, Corey Davis shined in his rookie debut, catching 60% of Mariota’s completions for 66 yards. The Titans would win their next three games against the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Philadelphia Eagles. The defense was certainly the key for the Titans in these three wins that were all within one possession. This star-studded defense was led by veteran linebackers Wesley Woodyard and Jayon Brown. In addition, a deep secondary featured Logan Ryan, Kevin Byard, Adoree Jackson, and Malcolm Butler. Great defensive play was not enough over the course of the next three games. The defense held opposing offenses to under 14 points per game, but the Titans’ offense failed to score over 20 points in all three games. This three-game skid featured an inconsistent Marcus Mariota who struggled to move the ball downfield with his arm. After dropping to 3-4, major questions set in revolving around Mariota and Vrabel. However, the Titans managed to get to a winning record after beating the Cowboys and Patriots. Against his former team, Vrabel dominated the Patriots defense while holding his former teammate Tom Brady to 10 points. However, the Titans lost their next two road games and dropped under .500 yet again. The Titans’ inconsistent offense was certainly not sustainable as they continued to fail to score 20 points. In addition, a young Derrick Henry’s usage was surprisingly low as he averaged a mere 11 carries per game. Sitting at 5-6, the young Mike Vrabel needed to use his energetic character to fire up his team to end the season on a strong note. And that is exactly what happened. The Titans miraculously won their next four games to put them in a play-in game with a 9-5 record. With the defense playing well all season, the offense finally found its consistency, led by a red hot Derrick Henry. Henry rushed for 133 yards per game. In a Week 14 matchup with the Jaguars, Henry had a career day rushing for a whopping 238 yards and four touchdowns. His raw abilities and size proved he could truly dominate a football game. The Titans found themselves in a “win and get in” Week 17 matchup at home to the Indianapolis Colts. Mariota battled against a slew of injuries that flew under the radar all season, including a strained shoulder and broken ribs. However, a partial tear of his plantar fascia in his foot was one he could not overcome as the Titans were left with Blaine Gabbert under center for week 17. After dominating all season, the Titans struggled against Andrew Luck as he threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns. Gabbert struggled immensely while Derrick Henry’s 90 rushing yards were simply not enough for the Titans in a 33-17 loss, and missed the playoffs at 9-7. Even though their playoff dreams came crashing down, the Titans ended the 2018 campaign in a stellar fashion led by a young, energetic coach Mike Vrabel. Marcus Mariota struggled throughout the season, but a slew of injuries to his shoulder, ribs, and foot could be to blame.

Written by Evan Gottlieb

2019: The Tennessee Titans entered the season coming off winning four of their previous five games in 2018. With Marcus Mariota and Derrick Henry leading the charge. Henry was dealing with a lingering calf injury while his best blocker Taylor Lewan was to be suspended for four games. They opened up Week 1 with a dominating 43-13 victory over the highly anticipated Cleveland Browns as they forced Baker Mayfield into three interceptions. However, they went on to lose four of their next five games while the offense averaged an abysmal 11 points per game. Somehow, the defense managed to keep the team relatively competitive in these games. But the career lows in yards per carry from Henry, along with Mariota’s struggles to move the football, proved too costly. Despite plenty of passing opportunities, Mariota consistently struggled to eclipse 200 yards passing in games. In the second half of their Week 6 loss to the Denver Broncos, Mike Vrabel decided he had seen enough from Marcus Mariota. Ryan Tannehill came in and was actually able to move the football as he completed 13 of 16 passes for 144 YDS in his Titans debut. With better quarterback play complementing a great defense, the Titans were poised for success. In a pivotal Week 7 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers, the defense continued to dominate with a goal-line stand to win the game 23-20. This win sparked a red-hot run for Tennessee as they went on to win six of their next seven games. While Week 7 was their most pivotal victory, their Week 10 win over the season’s Super Bowl champions was their most impressive. Derrick Henry dominated the Kansas City Chiefs defense while rushing for 188 yards and two touchdowns. The defense continued to give the Titans a chance as they sacked Mahomes with 1:25 left to force a field goal trailing 32-27. A bad snap ruined the field goal attempt in a wild sequence, and the Titans took over possession down five at their own 40. Ryan Tannehill capped off a 60-yard game-winning drive with a strike to Adam Humphries over the middle. Mahomes gave Harrison Butker a chance to tie up the game, but the 52-yard field goal was blocked as the Titans secured an electric victory in Nashville. The Titans finished the season at 9-7 after splitting games against the Houston Texans and losing a close matchup against the New Orleans Saints. When the season was over, Derrick Henry had won his first rushing title with 1,540 yards.

Written by Evan Gottlieb

2019 Playoffs: The Tennessee Titans had punched their tickets to a wild card matchup with the reigning champion New England Patriots in Foxboro. Tom Brady struggled to move the ball as Tennessee’s strong defense constantly brought pressure. In addition, Derrick Henry led the offense with 34 carries for 182 yards and one touchdown. A pick-six by Logan Ryan on Brady’s final pass as a Patriot sealed the 20-13 win for Tennessee. Against the Baltimore Ravens, the Titans were nearly a ten-point underdog in the Divisional Round matchup. The Tennessee defense came up huge as they held the Ravens to 12 points by constantly getting off the field on big fourth-down plays. The Titans would strike first with a third and goal touchdown fade from Ryan Tannehill to Jonnu Smith. The Titans maintained this lead thanks to Mike Vrabel’s old-school approach with his defense and running game complementing each other. Again, Ryan Tannehill was not asked to do too much as Derrick Henry led the way with 30 carries for 195 yards as the Titans won 28-12. The AFC Championship was a chance for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to get their revenge on the Titans after their Week 10 loss. The Titans got off to an early 10-0 lead thanks to a defensive stop and a Derrick Henry four-yard touchdown run. However, the potent Kansas City offense went on to score touchdowns on 5 of their next 6 offensive possessions. The Titans’ poor possessions at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half were enough for Kansas City to exploit. In the first two playoff games, Derrick Henry rushed for a whopping 377 yards on 64 carries. However, he was held to under 70 yards against the Chiefs due to game flow. In addition, the Chiefs’ offense proved too dominant, winning 35-24 to advance to Super Bowl LIV.

Written by Evan Gottlieb



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Page created on July 20, 2002. Last updated on February 2, 2021 at 11:25 pm ET.