Well this game was a bummer. The Titans handed the winless Jacksonville Jaguars their first win of the year Sunday before a home crowd in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans didn’t play particularly well at times and turned the ball over losing the ball three times on fumbles and Jake Locker threw an interception. Perhaps even worse the Titans had their /? safety of the season which puts them in the runnign for the most safeties in a season record. Hooray?
The worst news to come out of the game was the season ending injury to quarterback Jake Locker to a lis franc injury to his right foot. It is Locker’s third major injury and a major disappointment for the third year player. I have written on this questions it raises in regard to his contact status and in my opinion they will not elect to exercise the option year. Locker finishes the year 111 of 183 for 1256 yards, 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. His passer rating was 86.7 and his completion rate was 60.7.
In relief, Ryan Fitzpatrick had his best game as a Titan completing 22 of 33 for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was only sacked once but he did have a costly fumble last in the 4th quarter. Still, I would give Fitzpatrick high marks for his performance last Sunday. The fight both he and Delanie Walker showed late in the game was tremendous and you can only hope it rubs off on others. If you want to see some vines I made of several key plays you can find them on my vine account.
The run game was abysmal and so for the record was Chris Johnson at many points during the game especially in the last 5 minutes. You can look at several vines I posted on that issue too. Johnson returned to his old habit of not following his blockers with predictable results. His blocking was lackadaisical. He seemed disinterested in helping out teammates in plays where he wasn’t involved. In short simply unacceptable. Did I mention he fumbled on the first play from scrimmage and was involved in a fumbled snap from Locker?
Johnson finished with 12 carries for 30 yards for a 2.5 yards per carry average. He did have a nice couple of screens and short passes but appeared to give questionable effort on his last one late in the 4th quarter. He caught 5 passes for 43 yards. Shonn Greene had 9 carries for 22 yards for a 2.4 yards per carry average. Greene also caught 3 passes for 10 yards.
The offensive line lost rookie center Brian Schwenke to a high ankle sprain and Chris Spencer took his place. I thought he did reasonably well under the circumstances. The big issue with the line is how much rookie right guard Chance Warmack continues to struggle. I like the rookie and he is going to be a good player in this league but if they weren’t so banged up right now you might consider inserting a vet until he adjusts but it’s hard to do that right now. You just have to hope the light bulb goes off and he starts to settle down.
Kendall Wright continues to be a bright spot at wide receiver and was targeted 9 times. He would finish with 7 catches for 78 yards. Titans tight end Delanie Walker was the second leading receiver with 8 targets, 4 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Justin Hunter had a couple of nice plays and was overthrown on 2 plays by Fitzpatrick late in the 4th. He also made a grab at a low thrown ball that really looked like a catch but he trapped it. He will learn you have to do a better job of showing the officials, especially with how terrible they are right now, that he made the grab.
For the most part the defense played fairly well. I don’t know why the Titans have moved away from playing press and man coverage to a more placid style. Henne threw for only 180 yards and threw 2 interceptions but he made some key plays. He was sacked 3 times for 20 yards.The Titans gave up 2 completions to Cecil Shorts because of it. Shorts only has 2 receptions in the game for 42 yards. Titans right cornerback Alterraun Verner continues to play well and he also recorded another interception putting him at 5 and tied at first in the league with Deandre Levy, an outside linebacker. Amazing to think there was a cornerback competition on the right side now.
Jurrell Casey continues to be the Titans best defensive player. He finished with a sack, 2 TFL, and a QB hit. Casey was also the second leading tackler with 6 tackles all solo mind you. Casey has 7 sacks on the year putting him at 12th in the league but first among defensive tackles. Pretty impressive. I thought Colin McCarthy had a good game outside of one play where he got caught matched up with Mike Brown. Credit the Jaguars coaching staff and Chad Henne for that play design and execution. McCarthy also had an interception, a TFL and a pass defensed while leading hte Titans in tackles with 7.
McCarthy is improving and Moises Fokou is still sidelined with a knee injury. Fokou is close to coming back but McCarthy is improving after starting out the year coming back from injury and not playing very well. The middle linebacker position is one to watch. Having competition there is a good thing and that competition would appear to be getting closer now.
Derrick Morgan was very active Sunday and really disruptive. He appears to be healthy again which is good for the Titans defense. He finished with 6 tackles, 4 solo, a sack, 2 TFL and 3 QB hits. Mike Martin also continues to play well in rotation and he added 2 tackles, a sack, a TFL, a pass defensed and a quarterback hit. The Titans gave up some run plays but the Jaguars only finished with 54 yards of rushing and a 1.8 yards per carry average. The unacceptable part is that they scored 2 rushing touchdowns.
The safety position is greatly improved but no doubt two Bernard Pollard penalties hurt the Titans. One was very ticky tacky in my opinion and both were difficult to swallow in light of what the officiating was overlooking from the Jaguars. Terrible officiating in the league continues to be a huge issue that goes largely ignored. I digress however. This wasn’t a great day for the safeties and I am confused as to why George Wilson only saw the field 3 times.
In the end the Titans made too many mistakes and too little plays and it cost them the game. The Jaguars played like a hungry team and the Titans didn’t. You can’t turn the ball over that many times and expect to win football games. Worse yet, another safety in 10 games is simply unacceptable too. After the Indianapolis Colts lost to the St. Louis Rams, remarkably the Titans remain only 2 games back. They will face the Colts Thursday night on Thursday Night Football.