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Titans proved they aren’t ready to contend against the Steelers

Last night was eye opening, but let’s stay level headed.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Last night was a certified disaster for the Titans. They had a chance to show that they were for real and go toe to toe with one of the NFL’s best teams. To some point they did that — but that progress was lost and overshadowed by four Marcus Mariota picks.

Mariota turned in the worst performance of his career. He was pressing, inaccurate and just made some poor decisions. That shouldn’t overshadow everything he’s shown to this point in his career though.

He’s not Jake Locker. He’s not Vince Young. He’s not a bust. Relax with all that. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt with everyone in this fanbase. Mariota is having a bad year but as you’ve seen during the past two weeks — it’s far from being all on him.

What I think you can start to question is this coaching staff. We’ve seen these mistakes start to pile up in recent weeks, we’ve just glossed over it because the Titans were winning football games. For the “a win is a win” crowd, this one was for you. All of those mistakes — dropped touchdowns, wrong routes run, miscommunications, run game woes, etc — they all showed up against Pittsburgh.

The Titans played the same game that they had been playing for weeks, they just ran into a good team this time around.

At some point, the blame has to shift to the staff. Some of you are already to that point. Some of you never left that point. Nothing is changing here, at least offensively. I’m not sure how the Titans go from being so dominant up front to not even being able to generate a push in the run game, but here we are.

The ugly fact here is that the Titans aren’t doing what they are built to do, which is dominate games on the ground. Last season the passing game was built off of that run game. Mariota was lethal on play action, but right now it’s all on him to create. That just isn’t working, which is concerning in a different light.

The chemistry isn’t there between Mariota and Corey Davis or Taywan Taylor — I think that was painfully obvious last night. While that’s concerning, it’s still expected. It’s not surprising that a rookie receiver is struggling in just his fifth game. I’ve wondered why Taylor isn’t playing more, but it’s clear that he hasn’t gained the trust of the staff.

Throw those two facts at an offense that can’t run the ball and you have the makings for a slew of mistakes.

Something that I think gets lost in the wash here is that Jon Robinson is just two years into his rebuild of literally the worst team in the league. Tennessee held the first overall pick in the draft when Robinson arrived. He’s had just two offseasons to fix things up.

This group is FAR from a finished product and I think you saw that last night. This team is still transitioning into contention mode. The consistency isn’t there in any phase of the game right now.

While last night was a definite gut check moment, it’s important to keep your head about things. You can question the staff and Mariota — that’s totally fair. What you can’t do is throw in the towel. I saw way too many jump off the ledge last night. I’m not saying everything is peachy, but it’s important to keep the perspective.

This team will probably make the playoffs, but they aren’t ready to contend... yet. They are a few pieces away, but they are also in year three of a rebuild. The arrow is still pointing up here, but the problems are obvious.

Can the staff step up to the plate and fix them? Only time will tell. I admittedly have my doubts. For now, we can be excited with the fact that this team is still 6-4 and has a relatively good shot left to make the post season.

Let’s relax, regroup and go finish off a sweep of the Colts.