JOE BIDDLE: Titans can’t win for losing

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

This formula the Titans has adopted stinks.

It’s plain and simple. They can’t win for losing.

Their game plan appears to take a siesta in the first half, allowing their opponents to take a lead.

Sure they have managed to climb back in the game, but flounder when it comes to catch and close.

They are now 1-3. They could have shared the AFC South division lead if only they could have handled Houston. But the Texans shot them out of their saddles, 27-20. Close. No cigar.

They got ambushed by Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler. Are you kidding me? What is a Brock Osweiler? What he is not is the second coming of John Elway. Osweiler was the 57th player picked in the 2012 NFL draft. He has been in the league five years. The first four were with the Denver Broncos, where he carried water for most of the time he spent there.

Forget him. Let’s look under the hood and find out why this Titans train breaks down at the most inopportune times.

Their offense needs a drastic tune-up. It will cure insomnia. The Titans had averaged 5.3 points in the first halves of their games. The Texans took the opening kickoff and nine plays later took a 7-0 lead. Four of their plays made more than 10 yards. If only the Titans could say that.

The Titans watched the Texans take a 14-3 lead after the first quarter.

They went on to take a 27-20 win, improving their AFC South lead.

The Titans didn’t quit. They tried. They were playing against a team that lost its most valuable defensive player in All-Pro J.J. Watt. The Titans could not find a way to take advantage of the situation.

The Texans spent most of the second half running valuable time off the clock.

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota tweeted that the Titans fought back, but didn’t execute in key moments.

True that.

He also said the Titans are capable of winning games but are finding ways to lose.

They are quickly becoming the Vanderbilt of the NFL.

So how do we fix the Titans offensive woes? One, I’m not convinced Coach Mike Mularkey is running an offense that winning NFL teams use. He is old school and puts perhaps too much of his stock in the running game. It’s not working.

Whether it’s Mularkey or offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie, I don’t know. Robiskie came here after eight seasons as Atlanta’s wide receivers coach. He has been coaching in the league 34 years, only six of them as an offensive coordinator.

If it’s not the offense, it’s special teams that cripple the Titans’ chances of winning.

The Texans game was tied 20-20 in the third quarter. That was before Notre Dame rookie Will Fuller took a Titans’ punt 67 yards for what would be the game-winning touchdown. He was untouched. Really?

“You can’t blink an eye,’’ Mariota surmised. “You have to continue to fight. That’s what this team is about.’’

What this team’s about is 1-3 and headed to Miami. This is the part of the schedule the Titans should be chalking up some wins. After the 1-3 Dolphins they have 0-4 Cleveland, sinking Indianapolis (1-3) and Jacksonville (1-3) division foes.

After a trip to San Diego, they face Green Bay, Denver, Kansas City and others.

Let’s face facts. They need to back up their words by winning.

“If you want to win games, you have to get the job done,’’ said Titans cornerback Jason McCourty.

I’ll second that.

Joe Biddle is a sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee sports Hall of Fame. Reach him at