Titans frustrated after OT loss drops them to 3-5


Titans frustrated after OT loss drops them to 3-5

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Kenny Britt thinks the Titans could have thrown more passes deep. Tight end Jared Cook reportedly is upset enough that he wants a trade.

And Tennessee only had 10 defenders on the field not once, but twice, while giving up the tying touchdown drive.

The Titans are not happy, and coach Mike Munchak hopes they're all frustrated at being 3-5 after a 19-13 overtime loss to Indianapolis because they all can do more.

``You're 3-5, that's not good enough, and that includes every one of us,'' Munchak said. ``Frustration, it means work your way through it, and let's find a way to turn this around and get to 5-5. So I think that's more where the frustration should be used. Find a way to become a better player and a better team.''

Munchak also downplayed the report of Cook wanting a trade, saying he didn't know anything about it and wouldn't comment. He noted Cook is their second-leading receiver, tied with Nate Washington with 28 catches, and someone they need to win.

``This is not the time for those things,'' Munchak said.

With nine AFC teams between 4-3 and 3-5 not counting division leaders, the Titans still have hope at the midpoint of the season. But they must fix their struggling defense that not even a two-game winning streak could disguise. They are young and have a no margin for error.

The Titans had just 10 defenders on the field during the Colts' 80-yard drive to tie it at 13 with 3:24 left. Munchak noticed the problem on fourth-and-1 at the Titans 8 and couldn't get a timeout called before they gave up a 7-yard run. The coach said it happened a second time during that drive, too.

Asked if that was something the players should have noticed first, Munchak said, ``You would hope so.''

The Titans ran only 59 offensive plays. The Colts had 76 and rolled up 457 yards counting the 80-yard drive for the winning TD in overtime. But Tennessee won its previous two games by making key plays late, and thought it recovered a fumble to set up a winning field goal with 26 seconds left in regulation Sunday.

Officials called forward progress being stopped on Dwayne Allen when Colin McCarthy was tackling him, even though the Allen had not gone backward when linebacker Akeem Ayers stripped the ball. Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner recovered at the Indianapolis 28, and Tennessee started celebrating.

Munchak said that will be among the plays the Titans send to the NFL, along with an offensive pass interference that wiped out a touchdown. Verner said he didn't understand the rule, but that it wouldn't do him any good to look it up now.

``We all still feel it's a fumble,'' Verner said. ``That's the call they made, and we have to live with it.''

Of course, Colts interim coach Bruce Arians thought officials made ``a dang good call'' and said he heard a whistle stopping the play.

``You'd have felt terrible had we lost the game there,'' Arians said.

Britt said they knew going into the game that the crew headed by referee Al Riveron called the most offensive penalties in the NFL last season and he should have been smarter. But he was flagged for two pass interferences in the first half. Britt also wanted more deep passes with Colts cornerback Vontae Davis spraining his left knee on the opening drive.

``Everybody's just anxious to get back out there and do their job and ready to get this turned around ...'' Britt said. ``Everybody's frustrated at losing a close game like that. All the games we won so far were overtime or close games. ... We believe we could've made it happen.''

The Titans now have to get over it quickly with Chicago (6-1) visiting Sunday.

Veteran Matt Hasselbeck will start his fifth straight game while the Titans wait for Jake Locker's shoulder to heal enough that doctors clear him to return to full practice. Locker dislocated his left, non-throwing shoulder for the second time in four games on Sept. 30, breaking a piece of bone in the front of the shoulder.

The Titans visit Miami on Nov. 11 before their bye week, so they might give Locker that time to further heal.

``We're not making decisions too far out,'' Munchak said. ``It's more just a day-to-day thing now.''

NOTES: Munchak said left tackle Michael Roos will practice this week after snapping his 119-game consecutive starts streak against the Colts due to an appendectomy last week. ... The Titans were waiting to see what an MRI exam on right guard Leroy Harris' right knee found after he was hurt on the opening drive and missed the rest of the game. ... Munchak said he expects right tackle David Stewart might miss some practice but should be ready against the Bears.


AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report.


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Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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John Wall badly wants to win and is sick of perception he cares more about his own stats

John Wall badly wants to win and is sick of perception he cares more about his own stats

John Wall is ready to put the 2017-18 season behind him, behind him like a hapless defender staring at the back of his No. 2 jersey on a fastbreak. 

After missing 41 games due to injuries and falling in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in his career, the Wizards' All-Star point guard is taking nothing for granted. The 28-year-old believes he's about to lead the most talented team he's ever played on.

Wall has made five All-Star teams and one All-NBA selection. After playing for two seasons without one, he signed a reportedly five-year shoe deal with Adidas in 2018. He has a supermax contract, one that kicks in next season and begins at a projected $37.8 million.

What Wall doesn't have is what he's always wanted most. He wants to win.

The Wizards have made the playoffs four times in his career and reached the second round three times. The Eastern Conference Finals, however, has been elusive.

"I'm the type of guy that wants to have a statue out front. I want to bring a championship here. Those are all the things that I care about," Wall told NBC Sports Washington. "If you're not winning as a group and doing things as a team, then you don't get individual success. That's something that I learned a long time ago."

There was a lot about the 2017-18 season that bothered Wall. In particular, he detested the perception that grew that he was unhappy with the team's success while he was injured. 

During Wall's second injury absence, from late January to late March, the Wizards won five straight games and 10 of 13 with him watching from the sidelines.

Though it ultimately proved to be a mirage, as the Wizards lost 12 of their next 17 that he didn’t play, there were numbers early on that suggested their success was because they passed the ball more frequently without him. Comments from his teammates Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat to reporters and on social media were viewed by some as slights to their point guard.

Wall remained silent at first and a lack of communication between the sides allowed it all to bottle up. He did several interviews, including one with NBC Sports Washington, to give his side of the story and to say it was ridiculous he could be criticized for not being a team player.

That narrative still bothers him.

"Some people mistake me that all I care about is individual stats but that's never been my game," he said. "I don't think a lot of people really get that."

"I love to get assists. I love to get 10 assists before I score 30 points. It's just that I have the ability to do both. A lot of guys never had the ability to be able to do both. It's great to do that, but I feel like if I ain't winning then it don't mean s*** to me."

Wall's numbers are historically good for his age and he is aware of the company he's in. He is one of only four players to average at least 18 points, nine assists and four rebounds per game through their first eight NBA seasons. The other three were Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson and Chris Paul. Johnson and Robertson are Hall of Famers and Paul will be there someday. 

Statistically, Wall is on a Hall of Fame track, but he wants much more than a plaque in Springfield, Massachusetts.

"I think about all of that. Everybody thinks about the Hall of Fame and being the franchise scoring leader and all that," he said. "I have all of those goals, but it don't mean s*** if you don't win at the end of the day. You can be a loser and have all of these records, but what does that stand for?"

Wall has been relatively fortunate throughout his career when it comes to his health, but his worst injuries have come at inopportune times. In 2015, his Wizards were up 1-0 on the Hawks in the second round of the playoffs when he suffered five non-displaced fractures in his left wrist and hand. That may have cost him a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Last year, Wall's months-long injury saga began when he banged his knee with a Mavericks player in just the 10th game of the season. 

It was a down year for him and the Wizards in a season in which the Cavaliers were vulnerable, the Celtics had major injuries and the Sixers were still learning how to win. If Washington was at full-strength, perhaps they could have taken advantage.

Now, after an offseason that brought newcomers Dwight Howard, Austin Rivers and Jeff Green to Washington, and that saw LeBron James leave the Eastern Conference, Wall feels he has a serious opportunity to win.

He just wants to get back to the postseason and take another shot at a deep playoff run he believes he is destined for.

"We had a great chance [in 2017]," he said. "We just s***ed the bed. That's how it goes. I don't think [time is] running out, but teams are getting better."




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The Toronto Maple Leafs are not happy with Caps' Lars Eller

The Toronto Maple Leafs are not happy with Caps' Lars Eller

On Saturday, the defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals faced off against one of the hottest young teams in the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was viewed as a marquee matchup and it certainly lived up to its billing with both teams battling in a tight, well-played game.

In the end, Toronto walked away as the 4-2 victors in one of their better wins of the young season, but not everyone left that game impressed.

A team that already boasted super-star talent Auston Matthews added John Tavares in the offseason as a free agent giving the Maple Leafs a formidable one, two punch at center. For most of the game, the Caps were able to shut down that center tandem.

Lars Eller was asked after the game how the Caps were able to keep the Leafs’ big stars in check and he indicated that perhaps Tavares and Matthews were not as formidable a pair as they had been made out to be.

“We’re used to playing against [Sidney Crosby] and [Evgeni Malkin],” Eller said. “Everything kind of drops from there so it’s not that special. It’s a good team like a lot of others. They’ll probably be a playoff team, I think.”

Not surprisingly, that quote caught Toronto’s attention, especially forward Nazem Kadri.

Per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Kadri called Eller’s comments “bulletin board material.”

With 12 points in seven games, the Maple Leafs currently boast the top record in the league. Toronto is far from perfect, however, and their defense remains a major question mark in whether this team is a true Stanley Cup contender.

But as to whether or not they are a playoff team? That seems like a pretty safe bet.

The Caps and Maple Leafs will meet twice more this season on Jan. 23 and Feb. 21. Both games are in Toronto.