Late-season miscommunication undid Titans' defense vs. 49ers

mdi construction barSANTA CLARA, Calif. – After good work against well-established, top-flight receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald, the Titans got shredded by a 49ers groups of targets with far less stature.

IMG 5019The 49ers’ 10 longest plays accounted for 234 of their 414 net yards and came to rookie free agent Kendrick Bourne, veteran Garrett Celek, fifth-round rookie George Kittle, veteran Marquise Goodwin and fifth-round rookie Trent Taylor.

That’s hardly a murder’s row of targets, but they gashed the Titans, with Goodwin leading the way with 10 catches for 114 yards as a consistently reliable receiver on slants.

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Titans killed their chance with third-and-2 call, execution

mdi construction barSANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Third-and-2, 1:20 left in the game, Titans at the 49ers' 32-yard line.

IMG 4902On a play that could have gotten the first down the Titans needed to force the hosts to burn two timeouts and gain ground for a game-winning field goal, they handed off to DeMarco Murray, who ran into center Ben Jones' back for no gain.

The 50-yard field goal that followed gave them a short-lived 1-point lead.

Jimmy Garappolo then carved up Tennessee, positioning the Niners for a 45-yard Robbie Gould field goal and a 25-23 win.

The conversation about the play-call after the game suggested our finger-pointing is not as cut-and-dried as we might think.

My video report on the third-and-2 play:

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Mailbag: The power of point differential

IMG 4862SAN FRANCISCO -- Greetings from the West coast. Wish you were here. Kind of.

Behold the view I had Friday night when I arrived in my hotel Friday evening.

Thanks to my travel sponsor, MDI Construction.

On to your questions.

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pickers vodka 847x63SAN FRANCISCO -- The Titans, I believe, will stay in San Jones, and Sunday's game is in Santa Clara at Levi's Stadium.

I'm fortunate to have arrived early in the Bay Area to spend time with my niece and her boyfriend, And a great travel sponsor in MDI Construction and a great rate at a big-time Marriott have made it easy to stay in the big city.

From where I offer these picks: (free content)

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Robiskie, LeBeau on being old-fashioned in modern NFL

Coordinators2TEMPE, Ariz. -- Dick LeBeau is 80. Terry Robiskie is 63.

I spoke to each of them this week while the Titans are working at Arizona state. How do they strike a balance between whatever old-fashion football they have loyalty to and the new stuff that emerges in the modern NFL?

My video report:

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Titans not bailing themselves out as often on third-and-long

IMG 4833TEMPE, Ariz. – A year ago, when the Titans got themselves stuck with runs for a loss, penalties and incompletions, they had a pretty good knack for digging out of it.

Facing third-and-10 or more, they averaged 8.2 yards and converted 29.9 percent of the time.

This year those numbers have tumbled to 6.8 yards and 15.8 percent.

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As Titans seeks fixes, offense may shrink rather than expand

TEMPE, Ariz. — Terry Robiskie spoke after Titans practice about how he’s trying to help get the offense back on track. 

My video report:

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Is isolation providing the Titans a setting to stew?

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Titans avoided a lot of air travel by staying here to work this week between their game at Arizona and San Francisco.

They got themselves a big bonding week by staying at a remote hotel in the desert.

I think it was a smart move when they planned it.

Now, I am wondering a bit.

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