Two-point attempt symbolic of Titans' snail-like crawl toward respectability

The Titans needed just a yard to score two points and draw even with the Colts in the final minute of Sunday's game. Jim Brown/USA TODAY Sports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Colts knew what the Titans were going to run on their two-point conversion try from the 1-yard line.

“It’s the fourth time we ran that play in that formation,” Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan said. “Maybe they saw it coming. Maybe they read it. But if a play is called, we have to run that play and do our best job as players.”

Predictability isn’t the big issue for me on the play, in which the Titans tried to draw even with the Colts inside the final minute before losing 35-33.

Ken Whisenhunt shifted from a Mariota pass from the 2-yard line after a pass interference call against Jalil Brown on a quick slant to Harry Douglas moved the ball to the 1.

(What a smart play by Brown, by the way.)

A power run team should be able to run the same things over and over and get a yard with it, simply by winning with power people.

Ken Whisenhunt's right -- when it doesn't work it leads to second-guessing, if it works it's a great call. It's fair, however, to think the Titans would have been better served by a play that asked more of Marcus Mariota than to hand it off.

The play was symbolic of the snail-like movement of the Titans as they seek to regain respectability.

On Dec. 15, 2013, the Titans lost 37-34 to Arizona. Tennessee score a touchdown with 10 seconds left and had the option to kick the extra point or go for two. A defensive offside gave them the chance to go for two points from the 1.

But then-coach Mike Munchak, who was selling the idea that the Titans would be able to run for a tough yard when they needed it, showed no faith in his team’s ability to do so.

They kicked the extra point, saw Ryan Fitzpatrick throw an overtime interception and lost.

Last year, the biggest 1-yard situation was not at the goal line, but at their own 42-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-1 with 3:09 left in the game and a six-point lead, Ken Whisenhunt called for a quarterback sneak with Charlie Whitehurst. The Browns stopped it and Cleveland went on to win, posting the largest road comeback in league history.

It was the right call to go for it there, though maybe not the right play call.

Now we have 2015’s big short-yardage attempt, a play that would very likely have sent the game to overtime if it succeeded.

It was another failure to execute.

Colts outside linebacker Bjoern Werner pushed lead blocker Karl Klug back and penetrated, getting to Jalston Fowler’s feet and slowing him.

A swarm arrived and left Fowler running backward, ultimately twisting his left ankle as he was brought down at about the 17-yard line by safety Mike Adams.

Let’s take a moment to note that Fowler converted a fourth-and-1 in the third quarter. The Titans did some good work in short yardage before the failed conversion attempt.

But here we’ve looked back: Three plays over three years with what amounted to bad choices or bad execution that cost the Titans chances to win a game.

They are due in a lot of areas.

Is the next crucial one of these the one the Titans finally convert?