The Tennessee Titans had a tough start to their season when they faced off against the New Orleans Saints. The final score was 16-15, but the Titans were on the wrong side of it. They had a chance to win but couldn't quite make it happen. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what went wrong and who is to blame for this disappointing loss.

Titans Lose to the Saints

In this game, the Tennessee Titans got off to a strong start when Amani Hooker forcefully took the ball from New Orleans Saints kick returner Rashid Shaheed on the opening kickoff. However, despite this turnover, the Titans managed only a field goal, giving them an early 3-0 lead.

The first half of the game saw limited offensive action on both sides. The Titans, in particular, struggled due to penalties. These were partly attributed to the deafening noise in the Superdome, resulting in several false start penalties.

Just before halftime, Hooker made a pivotal play by intercepting a pass from Derek Carr. This helped the Titans maintain their 9-6 lead. Arden Key also had a strong early presence in the game. He registered two sacks in the first half. He also had a notable play that could have resulted in a strip sack and a Titans touchdown, but the officials ruled it as an incompletion.

The Saints secured their second interception of the day during the opening drive of the second half, leading to a field goal that tied the game at 9 points. New Orleans then took the lead by scoring the first touchdown of the day, as Carr connected with Shaheed in the end zone from a distance of 19 yards.

Tennessee responded with another field goal on their next possession, narrowing the deficit to 16-12. Later in the game, the Titans settled for yet another field goal, making it 16-15. Some may argue that they should have opted to go for it on fourth down in that situation.

Now, let's break down the four main reasons why the Titans lost this game:

1. OC Tim Kelly's Decisions

Titans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly made some questionable choices during the game. Even though Derrick Henry was running well and clearly the best player on the offense in the first half, Kelly kept using Tyjae Spears more. This was even on important early downs. In the end, Spears had more playing time than Henry. For us, that just didn't make sense, especially in a close game when the passing game was struggling. Kelly also didn't draw up enough plays for Chig Okonkwo and Treylon Burks. Take note that both of those guys had fewer targets than Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.

2. Ryan Tannehill's Poor Performance

For our NFL trade predictions and insight on dark-horse Super Bowl contenders, listen below:

Veteran QB Ryan Tannehill is usually reliable. However, he had a rough day here. It was his first game since his rookie season where he threw three interceptions and zero touchdowns. Tannehill made some really bad decisions. He threw into double coverage twice and missed open receivers throughout the game. He even overshot tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo on a potential touchdown play. Sure, some of Tannehill's struggles in the past could be attributed to the team around him. This time, though, it was all on him.

3. Defensive Secondary's Struggles

The Titans' secondary had a hard time containing the Saints' offense. They gave up several big plays, including a game-sealing 41-yard reception in the fourth quarter. This prevented the Titans from getting the ball back. Adding to their troubles, Kristian Fulton was injured and missed most of the game due to a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Amani Hooker was placed in the concussion protocol.

4. Mike Vrabel's Field Goal Decision

Coach Mike Vrabel's decision to kick a field goal late in the game, while they were down 16-12, was met with criticism. Many fans and analysts believed the Titans needed a touchdown to win, not a field goal. In the end, the field goal didn't help them win, and they lost by just one point. Vrabel's decision to trust his defense instead of going for it on 4th down was questioned by many and proved costly. Critics felt he was being overly conservative by going for the field goal and trusting his defense to get the ball back. Obviously, that didn't happen.

Looking Ahead

In conclusion, the Titans had a tough start to the season with a narrow loss to the Saints. Several factors contributed to this disappointing result. These included questionable coaching decisions, a poor performance by their star quarterback, struggles in the secondary, and a controversial field goal attempt. Moving forward, the Titans will need to address these issues and make improvements to bounce back from this early setback.