Stop me if you have heard this before but the Tennessee Titans lost another game at home before a sparse crowd at L.P. Field Sunday. Both teams headed into the game on a two game win record and battling it out for the number one overall pick. This is the Titans 8th straight loss this season. We bring you our Jets at Titans recap.
Neither of these two teams are very good but the Jets made enough plays to win the game. Also, the Titans returned to their penalty loving ways with nine penalties for 76 yards including two very costly penalties by Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and linebacker Wesley Woodyard. Also, linebacker Kaelin Burnett running into the kicker and giving the Jets new life wasn’t optimal either.
The Titans defense made Geno Smith look like a serviceable quarterback. Smith went 16 of 28 for 179 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed four times for 16 yards. Smith was the culprit behind the scrum that incited Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. It was surely something bad because Casey is very laid back and not prone to these type of outbursts. After the game, Casey declined comment on what Smith said to him.
The Titans run defense actually performed better this game than it has in the recent past only allowing 114 rushing yards. They did give up a rushing touchdown to Chris Ivory as well as a receiving touchdown to John Conner who was lined up in the hybrid spot in the backfield. The Titans historically have had difficulty covering running backs and tight ends when they motion out like that way.
Former Titan running back Chris Johnson had a solid game but nothing to write home about finishing with 10 carries for 55 yards (5.5 YPC) while Chris Ivory added 12 carries for 25 yards and a touchdown. The Jets ran their no huddle offense a lot which greatly helped Geno Smith. The Titans meanwhile only ran no huddle one time.
Meanwhile, the Titans quarterback situation continues to deteriorate. Titans quarterback Jake Locker was injured again (yes I know) when Jets linebacker Quinton Coples came on a blitz that both Nate Washington and Shonn Greene failed to pick up knocking Locker out of the game.
Charlie Whitehurst came in and finished the game. It was a mixed performance from the veteran. Surely the Titans will look to upgrade the backup spot in the offseason.
One more bit about the offensive line. It remains baffling that the Titans refuse to provide the line more protection when this coaching staff knows the group is struggling. However, both starting guards are playing much better down the stretch. If only they Levitre would cut out the holding penalties. Levitre was tagged with another one. The Titans are ranked 3rd in the league in offensive holding penalties.
The Titans run philosophy likewise remains an enigma. Last week it was reported the Titans were moving away from Greene. Sunday he got the bulk of the carries at 16. Bishop Sankey only got three carries and was targeted just once in the passing game. Dexter McCluster had five carries and was targeted four times in the passing game. Leon Washington was on the field a lot but only had four targets. He did not get a carry. He was only used six times in pass protection.
Then there is this little nugget. The Titans longest run of the year was a 38 yarder by wide receiver Kendall Wright. The longest run by a running back is 22 yards by Bishop Sankey against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6.
Speaking of Washington, his muff of a free kick following a Titans safety was simply gut wrenching. Fortunately for the Titans, the ensuing Jets drive ended in a missed 53 yard field goal by Nick Folk. The Titans special teams have been truly special and their punt returns have to rank as one of the worst in the league.
One final piece of good news, sorta!, is that Ken Whisenhunt finally won his first challenge as the Titans head coach on an absolutely horrendous call by the officials when the Titans had Geno Smith bottled up in the end zone. There is some dispute over whether the call was challenge-able but I am guessing the Titans will take it either way. Of course, that is the play that resulted in the safety that we just discussed so file that under good job good effort and keep it moving.
The Titans did make it interesting on the final play of the game where they almost pulled off another Music City Miracle. If not for Delanie Walker getting shoved out of bounds, and him failing to lateral the ball again, they might have pulled it off.
The Titans still own the second overall selection in the upcoming NFL draft but they are still in the mix for the number one spot. With two games remaining, they will face the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road Thursday night and finish the season with the Indianapolis Colts at home. The Colts clinched the division and a playoff spot with their win over the Houston Texans Sunday.
Post script: The Titans and Jets made history with that score. First time in NFL history.