Ryan Tannehill: We kind of got hit in the mouth early and didn’t respond well

Arizona Cardinals v Tennessee Titans
Getty Images

The Titans had a rough start to their season, falling to the Cardinals 38-13 on Sunday.

Outside linebacker Chandler Jones had his way with the Tennessee offense from the opening snap, tackling running back Derrick Henry for a 3-yard loss on the Titans’ first play from scrimmage.

But even as Jones finished with a day so big that he was the clear choice for NFC defensive player of the week, quarterback Ryan Tannehill said the biggest problem was Tennessee’s poor response to a slow start.

“I think we kind of got hit in the mouth early,” Tannehill said Wednesday, via Teresa Walker of the Associated Press. “You go out and didn’t get the start that we wanted and we didn’t respond well. It took us four drives before we moved the ball. So that’s unacceptable. We have to be able to respond quickly. There’s going to be games where you come out and you don’t get the start you want, you go three-and-out. So what? You have to be able to reset and come out the next drive swinging and make a play.

“So that’ll be a challenge for us moving forward, is if things don’t go perfectly, things don’t go well early or at some point in the game, OK. Go to the sideline, make the adjustments and come out swinging on the next drive.”

The Titans’ first four drives ended punt, fumble recovered for a defensive touchdown, punt, and punt. While Tannehill’s 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter put Tennessee back in the game, a missed extra point kept the score at 17-6. Tennessee’s only other score was a 13-yard touchdown from Tannehill to A.J. Brown early in the third quarter.

It’s just one result from Week One and Tennessee has a chance to get back on track against the Seahawks this week. But a slow start in Seattle with the “12s” in the stands at Lumen Field could quickly snowball into a second ugly loss if the Titans let it happen.