Despite starting the 2013 NFL regular season 3-1, the Tennessee Titans have officially been eliminated from playoff contention after Sunday’s 37-34 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Now 5-9 on the year, the Titans have two games remaining both against divisional opponents to whom Tennessee has previously lost.
Though it seemed as if Tennessee outplayed the Cardinals on paper, costly mistakes led to yet another gut-wrenching loss for the Titans.
Tied at 10 at halftime, the game remained up for grabs.
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 36 of 58 pass attempts for 402 yards and four touchdowns while spreading the ball around effectively allowing four receivers to reach the 50-yard mark in receiving yards. Kendall Wright was Fitzpatrick’s favorite target Sunday catching 12 passes for 150 yards.
Even with four touchdown passes, Fitzpatrick could not lead Tennessee to a victory when it mattered most. Down 10 points with six minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Fitzpatrick was picked off by Antoine Cason who returned the interception for an Arizona touchdown putting the game almost out of the reach for Tennessee. However, after scoring 10 unanswered points in the last five minutes of the game Tennessee recovered an onside kick after Larry Fitzgerald bobbled the ball. Fitzpatrick was given a second chance to redeem himself.
With no timeouts, the Titans were able to drive down the field scoring a touchdown with 10 seconds left on a connection between Fitzpatrick and wide-out Michael Preston. The two were able to connect for two fourth quarter touchdowns to pull Tennessee back into the game.
Similarly to the mishap earlier in the game, Fitzpatrick was at it again. After scoring 17 unanswered fourth quarter points, recovering the onside kick and receiving the ball first in overtime, the Tennessee Titans were in position to win the ball game. On Tennessee’s first possession of the extra period, Cason picked off Fitzpatrick again setting up Jay Feely for a 41-yard game winning field goal.
Aside from Fitzpatrick’s statistically well-rounded game, the veteran quarterback was unable to silence the notion that has haunted him throughout his professional career. Throwing two late interceptions and practically handing the Cardinals the victory is not typical play for a veteran quarterback.
Subtracting the pick six from Arizona’s point total, the Tennessee defense held Arizona for most of the game allowing three offense touchdowns but no 100 yard rushers or receivers. Carson Palmer also threw for a mere 231 yards but recovered his lone fumble.
Tennessee heads into the final two weeks of the regular season in search of a divisional win which they have not acquired in 2013. Facing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16, Tennessee will attempt to finish off the year on a high note before revamping their roster in 2014.