You know how to tell when things are going poorly for your team? When the local newspapers are quoting as many psychologists as football players.
John Glennon of the Tennesseean took an interesting look at the Titans’ recent skid, which has seen the team destroyed week after week.
Last week’s 31-point drubbing by the Bears was the latest in a series, as the Titans have lost five times by at least 20 points in nine games. Only one of their losses has been by fewer than 20, that the overtime loss to the Colts.
“When you get blown out you start questioning because obviously a lot more went wrong,” Titans guard Steve Hutchinson said.
Or, from a clinical perspective:
“It’s more of a blow to the ego and psyche and team morale,” sports psychologist JoAnn Dahlkoetter said. “It also says a lot about momentum. When a team thinks it’s losing, there can be that sort of giving-up attitude. That’s the kind of thing that can be turned around, but I think it’s tougher when it happens over and over again.
“You’re asking yourself, ‘This is the way things have been going, so is it the way things are going to keep going?’ ”
It appears they might, as the Titans are bucking the trend of close games throughout the league. Through Week Eight, 67 games were decided by eight points or fewer, the most in league history.
Only 22 games league-wide have been decided by 20 or more, and the Titans are responsible for five of those, when no one else has more than two such beatings on their resume.
“It’s really not that hard on you if you really care and are really passionate about the game,” Titans wide receiver Damian Williams said. “But probably the hardest part is just to keep working. Sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“The main thing is you just have to refocus. Every time you come out and take that field, you’ve got to refocus — whether it’s a practice or the very next down, whatever the case may be.”
Taking one snap, one game, one day at a time is a lesson straight out of any counseling handbook — or coaching manual — and the Titans clearly need to master the small steps first.