Almost everything that could go wrong today did in the Titans embarrassing 38-14 loss to the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.
Turnovers, penalties, missed tackles, mistakes and injuries plagued the Titans yet again, this time however there were no big plays to keep them in the game in the second half.
It started on the first Houston offensive possession with Houston quarterback Matt Shaub connecting with tight end James Casey for an eleven yard touchdown to complete a 7 play 77 yard opening drive to give the Texans a lead they would never relinquish.
After an exchange of punts that left the Titans starting their second possession of the game at their own nine yard line, a Texans blitz by Glover Quinn was unblocked allowing Quinn a free run and jolting shot on Titans quarterback Jake Locker.
Locker, who was in obvious pain would leave the game and not return because of an injury to his left shoulder, the same shoulder he injured in the week one loss at home to New England.
Following the Locker injury and a 50 yard Brett Kern punt, the Texans added insult to injury.
It took the Texans 10 plays to add a second touchdown when Arian Foster found the end zone from four yards away to cap the 47 yard drive and extend the Houston lead to 14-0.
After another exchange of punts the Titans, with Matt Hasselbeck replacing the injured Locker, found a pulse and the end zone for the only time in the first half.
On a first and ten from the Texans 19, Hasselbeck found tight end Craig Stevens on a 19 yard touchdown pass. Stevens, who caught the ball at the Texans four battled his way into the end zone. The play, which was close was reviewed and upheld for the Titans score.
In spite of the Locker injury and the other first half mistakes, the Titans somehow managed to go to the half trailing by just seven point, but the second half would prove a horror story.
After a third quarter exchange of punt, and the Titans having the ball with what seemed to be some momentum, that quickly evaporated, along with the Titans hopes of winning when the Texans Danieal Manning returned a Hasselbeck interception 55 yards for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead.
Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson would later add another interception return of Hasselbeck for a 63 yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
For the Titans, the second half was marked by missed assignments, penalties and missed tackles that allowed an already potent Texans offense to continue drives and placed the Titans offense repeatedly in poor field position.
Titans tackle David Stewart was flagged twice for personal foul penalties as part of several confrontations between the two teams.
The lone bright spot on the day was the Titans finally finding Chris Johnson and a running game.
Johnson carried the ball 25 times for 141 yards, far exceeding his combined total through the first three games. Johnson looked decisive in pressing the holes and ran with speed while breaking tackles.
Even though the Titans outgained the Texans 325-297, the Texans’ defense came through with big plays in the third quarter to clinch the win.
Following the game, Titans head coach Mike Munchak said that Locker was “sore” and would undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of his injury.
Hasselbeck finished the game completing 17 of 25 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns. However the two interceptions were both returned for scores. Hasselbeck hit rookie wide receiver Kendall Wright on an 11 yard scoring strike strike with just over a minute left in the game for the final Titans score.
The Titans (1-3) now face an up hill climb for any hopes of a playoff spot, now trailing the Texans by three games in the division standings, and facing a trip to Minnesota next week to face the NFC North-leading Vikings, now 3-1 following today’s 20-13 home win against the Detroit Lions.