NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The look of disbelief on the faces of the Tennessee Titans in the locker room after a 36-22 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday said it all.
Tennessee's clash with the Jaguars at home was an opportunity to get back on track after losing its previous two games, but the AFC South foe had different plans.
It was the first time the Titans had lost to Jacksonville since Week 3 in 2019, and the Jaguars hadn't won at Nissan Stadium since November of 2013.
Suddenly the team that defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons said was "right where they wanted to be" a week ago after a 35-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles found themselves in a jam.
"Times like these are when we find out what you're about," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said.
The Titans (7-6) couldn't bounce back after general manager Jon Robinson was fired the Tuesday before last week's loss, and the three-game regular-season skid is the first (and only) since coach Mike Vrabel's first season with the team in 2018.
So how do they bounce back?
"It's going to be about the culture," Simmons said. "Everything's going to show now. We're going to see what type of team we have, what type of guys we have in this locker room."
With four games left, Tennessee is clinging to a two-game lead over the Jaguars (5-8) whom they'll face on the road in the season finale.
"We all have a choice," Vrabel said. "We have a power to choose how we walk in here. I've said that in how we approach this. I would like all of us to make sure that we're doing our part to fix the things that have to be fixed."
The Titans' pass defense is one of the things that has to be fixed. That goes for the front seven and the secondary.
The absence of defensive lineman Denico Autry has hurt the Titans over the last three games. Simmons and the front four have been able to get opposing quarterbacks off their spot at times, but they haven't been able to impact them enough to force turnovers.
Terrance Mitchell's interception of Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson in Week 10 was the last turnover the Titans' defense has forced, and the Titans' four turnovers (three fumbles and an interception) against the Jaguars put them at minus-2 for the season.
The last two quarterbacks to face the Titans earned Player of the Week honors in their respective conferences -- the Eagles' Jalen Hurts (380 passing yards and three touchdowns) in Week 13 and Jaguars' Trevor Lawrence (368 yards and three touchdowns) in Week 14. Lawrence's performance was also a career high in passing yards.
The Titans' defense will face another stiff test Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS) at the Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) when they face quarterback Justin Herbert, who is coming off a 367-yard passing performance in a win over the Miami Dolphins last week.
On the flip side of that, the Chargers' defense ranks one slot higher than the Titans in yards allowed (359.9) at 23rd, and it gives up the 28th most points per game at 25.6.
Tennessee's offense has struggled to score points in the second half of its losses (24 total). The Titans' second-half points average (5.2) is the worst in the NFL.
There are positive signs for the offense with rookie tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo (10 receptions, 113 yards and a touchdown over last two games) emerging as a legitimate threat and Derrick Henry gaining 121 rushing yards against the Jaguars last week. Possibly getting rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks back from concussion protocol is another cause for optimism.
However, Vrabel said the Titans are "at a crossroads" and called for them to start playing their best football toward the end of the season.
That message is clear to the players.
"We talk about at this point in the year teams are getting better and trying to make a playoff push," safety Kevin Byard said. "I think we're trending in the opposite direction. That's clear in the performance we put out there the last three weeks. It's all about how we respond at this point."
The last four games of the season give the Titans -- a team with aspirations to make a deep playoff run -- a chance to turn things around.