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Titans come all the way back, find a way to beat the Jets and keep playoff hopes alive

What a game.

NFL: New York Jets at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

On a day where they had to have it, the Titans found a way. It didn’t look good for about 59 minutes, but Marcus Mariota came out on top in the end. Here’s how it happened.

Disastrous start

Titans fans have seen their fair share of bad starts this year. Unfortunately, today was no different. The Jets jumped out to a 3-0 lead following a three and out on the opening series for the Titans. Marcus Mariota then made things worse with a pick six.

Before you could find your seat at Nissan Stadium, the Titans were down 10-0.

The offense — all parts included — was nowhere to be found in the first quarter. Tennessee shot themselves in the foot with penalties, allowing the Jets more opportunities to pile on.

Josh McCown put together a lengthy drive, but the Titans’ defense didn’t break. The Jets did add a field goal, however, making it 13-0 to start the second quarter.

It got worse...

The Jets blocked a Brett Kern punt with five minutes remaining in the second quarter, giving themselves another chance to extend their lead. Once again, the Titans’ defense stood their ground, forcing a field goal attempt.

Jason Myers’ kick was good, making it a 16-0 lead for the Jets.

Mariota shows signs of life before halftime

Finally, Marcus Mariota put a drive together. He found Anthony Firkser, then Corey Davis for a big chunk. Mariota called his own number for 15 more, then found Firkser again for the Titans’ first score of the game.

The extra point was blocked, keeping it at 16-6 at the break.

Titans inch closer after half

The Jets added three more to start the third quarter.

On their second possession of the second half, the Titans built on their offensive success. Mariota found Tajae Sharpe, then Jonnu Smith to get inside of the redzone. Derrick Henry got the Titans to the goal line with a 15 yard gain on a pitch, then punched it in on the next play.

The Jets’ lead was now down to 19-13.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before — the Jets put together a decent looking drive to follow, but came up short on third down. Myers added yet another field goal to make it 22-13 — more importantly making it a two score game.

Missed opportunity to start the 4th

Mariota had a shot to pull within three to begin the fourth quarter, but missed a wide open Taywan Taylor deep. Taylor came free, with no defender within ten yards. Mariota was under pressure and missed him by a good three or four yards.

That drive ended in a punt, and the Titans’ hopes were looking dim.

Redemption for Mariota and Taylor, but no Touchdown

The defense forced a punt and Mariota immediately redeemed himself with a dime to Taylor down the sideline. Taylor laid out for the ball and was able to pull this one in. That play put the Titans inside of the ten, keeping them breathing for the time being.

Mariota struggled to find any openings close to the goal line, but he eventually found Jonnu Smith on a key third down. Smith dropped it though as the ball bounced right off of his hands. Ryan Succop added three, making it a one score game again.

On the following drive, Mariota found Taylor once again for 55 more. The Jets were struggling to contain Taylor’s speed and the Titans were taking advantage. Once more, no touchdown though. The redzone struggles continued, but the Titans inched three points closer.

It was a 22-19 game with 5:30 to play in Nashville. One more time, the defense came up big and got the stop they needed.

Last chance(s) for the Titans

Mariota went three and out following that snap. He was pressured on second down and overthrew his man on third down, forcing the Titans to give it right back to the Jets.

New York continued to pound Isaiah Crowell. They picked up a first down after the Titans were caught with 12 men on the field in a key situation. That’s unacceptable. Thankfully, the Titans rebounded and forced the punt after the two minute warning.

They’d get the ball back with one timeout left at their own 13 yard line after a questionable fair catch from Adoree Jackson.

The offense had no rhythm, but they were assisted by a couple of penalties on the Jets. A facemask call on Taywan, added 15 more to a long, weaving run from Mariota. Just like that they were past midfield. Marcus then found Firkser to get into the redzone.

New York continued to get pressure on Mariota, making things tough in the pocket. Mariota was faced with a third down and six and found Corey Davis, who bulled his way into the endzone.

For the first time all day, the Titans led

The Jets had 36 second and two timeouts to try to find the endzone, down 26-22.

McCown got off to a good start, finding Chris Herndon for 20 yards. He followed that with a pick. It was Malcolm Butler sealing it for the Titans — you’ve got to appreciate that irony.

Final score: Titans 26, Jets 22

The Titans found a way tonight and now sit at 6-6. They’re still breathing for the playoffs, which is all we can ask at this point. They face the Jaguars on Thursday night next.