NASHVILLE – There is no silver lining in this one.
If things don’t get better, though, there could be some pink slips at the end of the season for the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans suffered through an abysmal first quarter, giving up 28 points in a barrage of turnovers in falling 51-20 to the Chicago Bears Sunday at LP Field.
Charles Tillman was a one-man wrecking crew for the Bears, forcing four fumbles by himself, as Chicago took advantage of five turnovers and also blocked a punt for a touchdown as well against the hapless Titans.
In that 28-point surge, the Bears scored a passing touchdown, a rushing touchdown, an interception return for a TD and the blocked punt for score.
By the time the Titans looked up, it was 28-2, their only points coming courtesy of the Bears getting a hands to face penalty while pass protecting for Jay Cutler from his own end zone.
“I’m 100 percent embarrassed. I’m looking at the score, and I don’t even understand it or how this is even possible,” said cornerback Alterraun Verner. “Scores like this only happen in Madden when you’re playing somebody really, really bad. I’m totally embarrassed.”
Verner went on to say that everyone with the Titans is culpable for such a performance.
“Nothing is working. Every facet was bad. Special teams was awful,” Verner said. “Offense was turning the ball over and the defense couldn’t make stops. Nothing was working. We’ve got to try and find answers. We’ve got another week to try this week against Miami, but we couldn’t do anything right.
“Everybody is responsible, especially this type of loss. You can’t say anybody did anything good, even if somebody did do something good. You’ve got to blame both (players and coaches).”
The Titans should have known it wasn’t their day from the first offensive snap. Matt Hasselbeck hit Kenny Britt for a 23-yard gain, and the receiver promptly had the ball knocked free by Tillman. Turnover No.1.
“I should have had the ball high and tight, but he came up behind me and got the ball out and that stated it off right there,” Britt said. “It definitely was a point of emphasis this week. Starting on Monday, they definitely pointed out that they were going to strip the ball out. We were working on it all throughout the week. As receivers we were working on tucking the ball and getting downfield.”
Tennessee’s defense managed to dodge a bullet there, but two series later, things began to cave in on the Titans. It started when Sherrick McManis blocked Brett Kern’s punt near the end zone, and Corey Wootton rambled five yards with hit for a quick 7-0 lead.
The Titans were the beneficiary of a safety on a hands to the face penalty on J’Marcus Webb that made the score 7-2. It was as close as the Titans would come to making it a game all day.
Special teams crumbled again for Tennessee, as a short punt landed in the waiting arms of Devin Hester, who returned the ball 44 yards to the Titans 8. From there, Matt Forte dragged Titans defenders into the end zone to make it 14-2, and the rout was on.
After that, it was the Titans offense’s turn to hand the Bears a touchdown. Matt Hasselbeck was picked off by Brian Urlacher, who rambled 46 yards for a score to make it 21-2.
“I threw it right to Urlacher. He was the free play. Our receiver had an option route, inside or outside. He broke inside. I thought I could get it there. It was horrible,” Hasselbeck said.
There was plenty more about the Titans performance that fit that description as well, as on the very next play from scrimmage, Chris Johnson had a 5-yard pass before, who else, Tillman hit him and forced a fumble.
“There is no excuse for turning the ball over like we did today,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “When you turn the ball over right out of the gate the way we did, we made it very hard to play well. I thought we had a good plan, but we never got to it because of the turnovers. Then we throw a pick six, a blocked punt, I mean it is very depressing.”