The Tennessee Titans enjoyed a joyous locker room Sunday after narrowly defeating the Kansas City Chiefs at home in a come-from-behind victory.
But a key part of the Titans' current existence and near future decided to use his postgame gathering with reporters to instead take ownership for his mistakes, which nearly cost Tennessee the game.
"Before we even start this whole thing, my penalties are a (expletive) problem," left tackle Taylor Lewan said, per ESPN. "I am 100 percent an issue with that. It is not intentional. I do not mean to do it. My intentions are good. I am just trying to finish. And it is killing the team. ... I am completely screwing the team with the amount of penalties I have had these last -- what -- six games.
"... It's horrible. I cannot get penalties. I am sorry. There is no need to ask me about it because I know I am an absolute liability when it comes to penalties."
That's one way to get out in front of a wave of expected criticism.
Lewan committed three penalties in the second half of the 35-32 win, with the first coming on the Titans' opening drive of the third quarter. The unnecessary roughness call backed Tennessee up to a third-and-13, which the Titans converted on a 20-yard completion to tight end Jonnu Smith, but -- surprise! -- the play was negated by another flag on Lewan for holding. The ensuing third-and-13 play fell six yards short, forcing a punt.
The most damaging mistake on the part of Lewan came late in the fourth, with the Titans desperately driving to attempt to take the lead. A third-and-5 from Tennessee's own 44 became a third-and-10 thanks to a false start committed by Lewan, and Ryan Tannehill was sacked on the next play.
Fortunately for Lewan, the Titans' defense stood tall, getting the ball back with 1:21 left for Tannehill to work. Tennessee covered 61 yards in less than a minute, capped by Tannehill's touchdown pass to Adam Humphries to give the Titans the lead. Joshua Kalu's block of Harrison Butker's would-be game-tying attempt completed the unlikely victory, and allowed Lewan's mistakes to fade into obscurity for at least one week.
The three-time Pro Bowler who signed a five-year, $80 million extension in 2018 has struggled since his return from a PED suspension. He's on pace to commit a career-high amount of penalties. The most he'd committed in a single season in his career was 12 in 2016, and through just six games, Lewan has been flagged nine times. Even with the four games missed due to his suspension, Lewan would finish the regular season with 18 penalties if he stuck to this current pace.
If what he said Sunday holds true, that won't happen. At 5-5, the Titans will have to hope Lewan sticks to his word.