The good news for the Tennessee Titans is that they never have lost three straight games in more than a season and a half under coach Mike Munchak.
The bad news is the number of times they have avoided such a skid. Now they have to do it once again.
The Titans (3-6) enter Sunday’s game at Miami (noon, CBS) having lost two in a row for the third time this season and the fifth time since the start of 2011. Their 51-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday was preceded by a 19-13 overtime loss to Indianapolis.
“When you lose two in a row for the third time this season … we just have to find a way to end that,” coach Mike Munchak said. “This is going to be a tough week to do that, but we need to.
“… We’re running out of opportunities to make this season what we thought we could. We’re going to have to do something special to get that done. You can’t do that unless you win one. I think that starts Sunday.”
The Dolphins (4-4), under first-year coach Joe Philbin, lost back-to-back games in September but responded with three straight victories before a loss last week to Indianapolis.
That ability to string together victories made them a surprise playoff contender halfway through the season. They are alone in second place in the AFC East and one of eight AFC teams currently at .500 or better.
“We won three in a row and maybe there was some complacency or maybe a little bit of humble pie we needed a little bit,” Miami receiver Brian Hartline said. “… There might have been some young guys on this team that might have thought that way. As long as we can take a lot more from this loss, in the end, getting that hunger back [and] it can be turned into a positive.
“We’ve got to make sure that it’s just a one-time thing that we can go kind of on a run again.”
That’s exactly what the Titans have been unable to accomplish. Just like the last two weeks, they lost their opener to New England followed with a loss at San Diego. A week after lost at Houston they endured a similar result at Minnesota.
They also lost two in a row twice last season, their first under Munchak. Consequently, 10 of the 13 losses over that span have come in pairs.
“I think it’s coincidence,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “The [idea] that somehow you’re still thinking about the game before in the next game … I don’t. I don’t know if I could. You really do move on. You move on to the challenge. It’s very challenging to prepare for a team every week. This week is no different.
“… You almost can’t even remember the last game you played because it really does take everything you have to learn the gameplan, to study [the opponent], to understand their tendencies, to attack their personnel and the different things they’re going to do. … You’ve got to find a way to win the game.”
Every time they have been in this position, that is exactly what they have done.
They defeated Detroit in Week 3 this season and then answered the Minnesota defeat with a pair of victories. They’d like to answer these two defeats with even more triumphs — but they have to get one first.
“We realize the position we put ourselves in,” Munchak said. “Unfortunately, we are where we are, and we’ll find out what we’re all about come Sunday.”