NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A frustrated Mike Vrabel took the podium and fielded multiple questions about the Tennessee Titans' lack of execution on Sunday in their 21-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The Titans played poorly on both sides of the ball, leading Vrabel to take his shot at giving the reporters the headline to take away from his news conference.
"We all can do better. We can throw it better, we can run it better -- and coach better," Vrabel said. "That's the headline. The Tennessee Titans didn't do nearly enough on all levels to win the football game or even make it competitive."
To an extent, Vrabel was right, but the offense sure didn't do anything to help.
The Titans had not been shut out at home since Dec. 11, 1976, when they were the Houston Oilers and lost 21-0 to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Houston Astrodome. The last time the team was shut out after moving to Nashville came in 2010, when the Houston Texans blanked them at Reliant Field. The 21-0 loss to the Ravens was the first time the Titans had been shut out at Nissan Stadium.
Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale mercilessly sent the troops after Mariota on an array of blitzes. The pressure came from everywhere. Martindale dialed up cornerback blitzes as well as interior blitzes from the linebackers and relied on edge rushers such as Za'Darius Smith, Matt Judon and Terrell Suggs to attack Mariota.
Baltimore blitzed on 18 dropbacks and sacked him 10 times (56 percent), the most such sacks by any team since ESPN began video tracking in 2006. The 11 sacks were more than the total number of sacks (nine) the Titans gave up in the five games leading up to Week 6. Mariota completed 10 of 15 passes. The fact that he was sacked more times than he had completed passes is a testament to how ferocious the Ravens were on defense.
"That was a first," Mariota said when asked if he'd been through a loss like he just experienced.
Sunday's sackfest led to Mariota becoming the fourth quarterback to be sacked 10 or more times and complete 10 or fewer passes in a single game since 1970. The other members of the 10-10 club include Guido Merkens (Philadelphia Eagles in 1987), David Whitehurst (Green Bay Packers in 1978), and Greg Landry (Detroit Lions in 1975).
Tennessee's offense spent most of the game on its side of the field. The Titans made it as far as the Ravens' 37-yard line twice, but Mariota was sacked after each time they reached that far. They converted on only one of their 11 third-down attempts.
Baltimore dominated in time of possession, holding the ball for 37 minutes, 34 seconds to 22:26 for Tennessee. The Ravens set the tone from the start by marching 94 yards on 17 plays in just over nine minutes on their first drive. Tennessee's 40 offensive snaps were almost doubled by the Ravens, who had 72 plays on offense.
The Titans have to put this game behind them as they get set to face the Los Angeles Chargers in London next week. Fortunately for them, two of the other three teams in the AFC South have the same 3-3 record, and Tennessee already has two victories within the division and so sits atop it. There's still hope.
Players and coaches will report to St. Thomas Sports Park on Monday to take a look at the film so they can identify their mistakes and figure out how to correct them. After Monday, it will be on to the Chargers.
"Stick to the process," Mariota said. "You can't lose sight of the fact that it's a long season. You have to come back tomorrow and make the corrections then get ready for next week."