Following a Ryan Tannehill interception in the redzone and a missed kick from Stephen Gostkowski, the Tennessee Titans found themselves in some early trouble. Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati passing attack were able to put ten early points on the board as the Titans started slowly.
The Titans quickly got things back on the rails, leaning on their rushing attack to settle things down. Derrick Henry chewed up the bulk of the second quarter clock before slamming his way into the endzone, capping off a 10 play, 75 yard drive.
After cutting the lead to 10-7, Burrow went right back to work. He converted a big fourth down at midfield, and then Giovani Bernard cashed in on the second Cincinnati touchdown of the day.
Halftime this week felt a lot like last week, with the Titans in another hole. The score was 17-7, and the Bengals had dominated time of possession as the Titans’ defense couldn’t get off of the field. A Tannehill interception in the endzone was also looming large.
Arthur Smith came out firing to open the second. Big plays from Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith had the Titans in position to score, but a holding call on Ben Jones stopped the drive in its tracks.
The Titans were finally able to get a stop, but couldn’t do anything with it. Tannehill was sacked after the Bengals dialed up a blitz, once again bringing out the punt team.
After getting no help from the offense, the defense didn’t have an answer for Burrow. Quick passes were the name of the game as the rookie quarterback walked down the field once more. Burrow capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd to start the fourth quarter.
Suddenly, it was getting very late — and the Titans had quite a bit of work to do.
Finally, the offense joined the party. Tannehill worked a soft Cincy defense quickly, scoring in 2:35. It was A.J. Brown hauling in the touchdown reception and making his man miss to get into the endzone.
With a little over 11 minutes to play, the Titans were still down 24-14.
Brandon Wilson stopped the bleeding immediately for Cincinnati, however. He brought the kickoff back to midfield, which put Burrow in immediate business. Burrow found Boyd to get inside of the five on third down, once again shining a light on Tennessee’s biggest weakness.
Burrow would find Bernard for the score just two plays later with 7:30 to play. It was a 17 point game once again, which was the nail in the coffin.
Corey Davis, perhaps the lone bright spot for the Titans in this one, hauled in a touchdown pass late to close the gap. But it was too little, too late. Davis ended up finishing with eight catches for 128 yards and a score.
Once again, a slow start and a poor showing from the Titans’ defense did Tennessee in. After winning the first five games of the season, the Titans have now dropped two in a row. They desperately need secondary help, along with someone to step up in the pass rush. As we saw today, the offense can’t score 30 points every game.
The Titans return home next week to face the Bears at noon on FOX.