Jeff Fisher tried to joke when asked if his Tennessee Titans had trouble fixing the mistakes that cost them their first three games.
"No, we went through the list, and I don't think there's anything else that can happen now," Fisher said.
His Titans found a new way to blow a game, the latest by coming out flat with no sense of desperation or urgency in a 37-17 loss to Jacksonville last weekend that was never really close.
The team that posted an NFL-best 13-3 record in 2008 with 10 straight wins to start that season has flopped out the gate in 2009 as one of the league's last winless teams. A franchise whose expectations a month ago included a Super Bowl berth is 0-4 and with goals set considerably lower.
Safety Michael Griffin said the team once called the Houston Oilers could be the Tennessee Spoilers. Linebacker Keith Bulluck noted New England missed last year's playoffs at 11-5 and that it's almost looking like the NCAA championship at one and done.
"We still have faith," Bulluck said. "Definitely, it's not about playoffs. It's about just getting a win and getting some wins. ... It's the NFL. You've got to love it. Each year you have to prove yourself. Each week you have to prove yourself."
These Titans have proven only that they can't finish a game, having blown second-half leads in their first three games.
There's plenty of blame to go around.
Personnel decisions range from letting two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth leave rather than break the bank to keeping nine rookies. Fisher released a veteran returner only to bring Mark Jones back a month later after two bobbles led to a loss to the Jets. Fisher also chose youth over experience in hiring his new defensive coordinator.
Balls have not bounced the Titans' way. Or it just might be the Curse of the Terrible Towel. Tennessee's last win was Dec. 21 when Bulluck and running back LenDale White stomped on a couple towels that reached the field at the end of the Titans' romp over Pittsburgh _ six straight losses ago.
A Steelers' fan tweeted to both Monday, reminding them of those stomps and the losses. Bulluck tweeted back: "u may be on2 something. To be continued..."
Once Washington won the bidding war for Haynesworth, the Titans insisted they could play without the man who collapsed offensive lines and freed up teammates to hit and sack quarterbacks. Well, they haven't yet. Tennessee has only nine sacks and six interceptions now, down from 15 and eight at this point in 2008.
"We play the defenses that are called," Bulluck said.
When Jim Schwartz left for Detroit this offseason, Fisher chose to promote Chuck Cecil from secondary assistant instead of linebackers coach Dave McGinnis, a former coordinator. The defense is giving up 27 points a game, up from 14.6 last season. Fisher denies there's any learning curve for Cecil.
"Chuck's putting the players in position to make plays. They're prepared, we're just not doing it," Fisher said.
The likes of Matt Schaub and David Garrard have shredded that defense with Tennessee currently allowing 282.3 yards passing _ tied for 31st. Up next? Three-time MVP Peyton Manning and Tom Brady with cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper injured with rookies the option as their replacements.
The offense returned three Pro Bowlers among 10 starters and seemingly upgraded at receiver by signing free agent Nate Washington and drafting Kenny Britt. The rookie is leading the team in catches and yards, but he wasn't thrown a ball in Jacksonville until the Titans already trailed 27-3.
Fisher is sticking with Kerry Collins rather than switch to Vince Young even though Collins already has almost as many interceptions now (six) as he did all of 2008 (seven). He isn't alone. A team that fed off turnovers in 2008 has more than flipped its turnover differential from plus-6 to minus-5 through the first four games.
Chris Johnson is leading the AFC with 434 yards rushing but has only two touchdowns. He is among 16 Titans in their first or second year with this team who don't understand why they are losing.
"I've never been in this situation before. Last year it was totally the opposite situation. I can only speak for myself and just keep working hard and become better," Johnson said.
Only one team has started 0-4 and reached the playoffs. That was San Diego in 1992. Those Chargers, like these Titans now, lost all four games to AFC teams with two of those coming in their division.
Fisher has experience digging out. His 2002 team started 1-4, then reached the AFC championship game with the late Steve McNair essentially putting the team on his arm and legs. The 2006 squad, with many of these same Titans, opened 0-5 and finished 8-8, a game out of a playoff spot as Young won the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
"They'll find a way out of this, and that's all we can do," Fisher said. "I know I've said this before, but you come back and you work and you try to find a way to win the next game and keep your focus on improving."
The challenge only stiffens with Indianapolis (4-0) visiting Sunday night with a trip to New England next before their bye week. A key may be seven starters, many of the leaders needed desperately now, who are in the final year of their contracts and whether they can help salvage something from this season.
"We have nothing to lose now," defensive end Jevon Kearse said. "Any team that we go up against they don't want to lose against a winless team, so our work is cut out for us. We just have to go out there and play football."