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Top Ten most heartbreaking Tennessee Titan defeats

From 1999-2009, the Tennessee Titans have provided us with a ton of memorable performances. None of us will ever forget the improbable Music City Miracle. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the catch-phrase “one-yard short” has also been embedded in the minds of Titans’ fans forever.

Since we’re in the midst of the offseason, let’s take a trip down memory lane. In my next two posts, (including today’s) I’ll take a look back at my top ten Titan wins and losses since the franchise’s move to Nashville.

We’ll save the best for last by discussing the wins in the next post. Meanwhile, let’s start things off by taking a look at my top ten (it’s actually eleven) most heartbreaking Titan losses.

10. 2006 Week 5- Colts 14 Titans 13

In Vince Young’s 2nd NFL start, the winless Titans (0-4) smashed their way to a surprising 13-0, second-half lead against Peyton Manning and the undefeated Colts (4-0).

Despite a 214-yard rushing performance, the Titans eventually succumbed to Indy as Manning’s two second-half TD passes gave the Colts a 14-13 victory.

The loss ended up being a great moral victory for the young Titans, who went 5-3 the rest of the way to finish with a respectable 8-8 record. As for the Colts, they ended the season as Super Bowl champions.

9. 2005 Week 17- Jaguars 40 Titans 13

A fitting way to end a horrible 4-12 season.

QB Matt Mauck (who?) started in place of an injured Steve McNair. Mauck was eventually benched after completing 7-of-14 passes for a paltry 65 yards and an INT. The Titans also committed a whopping 18 penalties for 140 yards.

Hopefully, all footage of this forgettable game has been destroyed. If only that would work for my memory.

8. 2001 Week 9- Ravens 16 Titans 10

A classic example of defeat being snatched from the jaws of victory.

Steve McNair’s quarterback sneak for a TD appeared to have given the Titans the win. However, Raven defensive lineman Peter Boulware was called for offsides and since the game can’t end with a penalty, the Titans had to run the play again.

The second time was not a charm as McNair was stopped on this QB sneak attempt, giving the Ravens the controversial victory.

7. 2007 Week 14- Chargers 23 Titans 17 (OT)

After going up 17-3, the Chargers stormed back with 20 unanswered points to win in overtime.

The loss appeared to be a dagger in the heart of the Titans’ playoff chances. However, they responded by winning their last three regular season games to sneak into the postseason, only to be defeated by the same Charger team in the wildcard game, 17-6.

6. 2000 Week 11- Ravens 24 Titans 23

After winning their first 13 home games in Adelphia Stadium, the Titans were defeated by the Trent Dilfer-led Ravens in this heartbreaking loss.

Foreshadowing a playoff defeat to come, Al Del Greco missed an extra point and a 43-yard field goal that would have given the Titans their 14th consecutive win at their new stadium.

5. 2006 Week 17- Patriots 40 Titans 23

In an improbable potential playoff run, the Titans bounced back from an 0-5 start to reach the 8-7 mark. Heading into the game with the Pats, the Titans were in the middle of a pack of teams vying for the AFC’s final wild card spot.

Despite having a postseason birth already wrapped up, the Pats played their starters for the majority of the game as they coasted to a 17-point victory. To add insult to injury, the “classy” Bill Belichick instilled veteran backup QB Vinny Testaverde into the game late in the 4th to throw a TD pass, giving him the NFL record for consecutive seasons throwing for at least one score (20).

4. 2004 AFC Divisional Playoffs- Pats 17 Titans 14

Playing in frigid New England weather, the Titans came up just short in their bid to reach the AFC Title game. The game essentially ended as a desperate Steve McNair fling hit Drew Bennett’s hands and bounced to the ground.

This was the end of an era for the Titans, as the next few years ushered in “Salary Cap-Hell.”

3. 2003 AFC Championship- Raiders 41 Titans 24

Turnovers bit the Titans in the rear after jumping out to a 17-14 lead over the favored Raiders. Two Titan fumbles (thanks a lot, Robert Holcombe and John Simon) led to a 24-17 Raider halftime lead. From that point, the Raiders never looked back, as they finished off the Titans to reach the Super Bowl.

2. 2001 AFC Divisional Playoffs- Ravens 24 Titans 10

Al Del Greco’s less-than-shining moment.

After securing homefield advantage for the AFC playoffs, the Titans fell to the eventual world champion Ravens in this heartbreaking defeat.

The aforementioned Del Greco missed three field goals as the Titans wasted scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity against the Baltimore’s stellar defense.

2a. 2009 AFC Divisional Playoffs- Ravens 13 Titans 10

The most recent entry to this list, this loss still stings quite a bit. We’ll always wonder what the outcome would have been if Chris Johnson hadn’t been wrapped into a pretzel and removed from the game for the entire second half.

1. Super Bowl XXXIV- Rams 23 Titans 16

One-yard short will always be a catch-phrase in Nashville as a result of this unforgettable loss.

After being down 16-0 to the the Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf, the Titans fought back to tie the game, only to fall behind again as a result of a Kurt Warner to Isaac Bruce TD strike.

With a little time remaining, Steve McNair marched the Titans downfield and on the game’s final play, his toss to Kevin Dyson got the Titans to within a yard of forcing overtime. Unfortunately, the Rams’ Mike Jones alertly stopped Dyson’s desperate foray towards the endzone.

That’s it, folks. Now it’s your turn. Do you agree with this list? Are there any other memorable Titan losses that stand out to you?