titans
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Wins are hard to come by in the NFL, and the Tennessee Titans got their first one of the 2020 season on Monday, though they shouldn’t be celebrating it too much.

The Titans’ performance in their 16-14 win over the Denver Broncos presented a good case for why the NFL needs at least a couple of preseason games. The team was sloppy from start to finish in all three phases, showing plenty of rust and constantly looking out of sync.

Penalties, poor pass protection, coverage breakdowns, clock mismanagement and, most of all, missed field goals plagued the Titans in their season opener, and they’ll need to correct those problems in a hurry.

“There are always things to clean up, more so now than ever,” head coach Mike Vrabel said after the game. “We’ve got to do it quickly.”

“A lot of room to grow.”

In addition to the kicking disaster and offensive clunkiness, the Titans defense presented the team with problems.

For starters, linebacker Rashaan Evans got himself ejected from the game in the first quarter after shockingly throwing a punch at Broncos TE Jake Butt.

The defense also allowed an uncharacteristic number of chunk plays, giving up a 25-yard run to RB Melvin Gordon, a 31-yard catch to TE Noah Fant and a 25-yard catch to WR Jerry Jeudy.

A lot went wrong for the Titans in their season opener and with a short week on the horizon before playing the Jaguars on Sunday, the typical 24-hour window for celebrating a win should probably be even narrower.

A win is a win, though, and the Titans have the talent and coaching necessary to continue getting them. They just need to come more convincingly.

“There’s a lot of room to grow,” Davis said.

“We know what we have to do—we have to get back in our rhythm, we have to be us.”

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