Ouch. That one hurt.
I can’t help but feel that the Titan’s will be looking back on Sunday’s overtime loss in Houson at the end of the season as a, “if we just could have pulled that one off,” sort of lamentation. These are the kinds of games that a playoff team needs to win during the regular season. The good news is that we are still 1-1, and we have unequivocally proven that we are far superior to last year’s team that was drubbed 38-14 by the Texans.
Here are some more specific thoughts on the game:
Jake Locker must improve. His play on Sunday was erratic at best.
Locker’s 99-yard touchdown drive was a thing of beauty, and the screens to Kendall Wright were a nice reminder that we do have play makers who just need the ball in hand. But can Jake get that ball there? He certainly couldn’t when he sailed a pass 3,472 miles over Kenny Britt’s head on 3rd & 1 in the Fourth Quarter. There were times that he looked entirely spooked in the pocket. That worries me. Better interior pass-blocking by Warmack/Levitre would go a long way in improving Locker’s comfort of stepping into his throws, though. Watt/Cushing embarassed our pass protection, and I couldn’t help but question if Locker had lingering thoughts about the dislocated shoulder he received on that lethal JJ Watt hit last year. I still believe there is enough there to build on, but we are going to need it sooner rather than later.
Chris Johnson gained 96 yards but did not break one tackle (make red text into a hyperlink that directs readers to the profootballfocus.com page with that statistic). He had numerous holes in the game, but the moment anything filled up, he would dip his shoulder and go down. The safety he took when we were on our One, up 14-10, was back breaking. If your Big-Play running back’s longest carry is 15 yards, you have a problem. Jackie Battle is an incredible safety blanket as a third RB, but here’s hoping Shonn Greene comes back soon to light a fire under Johnson’s ass.
Wait. Wait — one more thing…ONE CATCH?! Unacceptable.
Zach Brown is a beast. That is all.
Our defense is not our problem, and that is just incredible considering the epic lows that Titans fans experienced last year when that unit was on the field. Verner had an oustanding day capped off by his pick six. Pollard got in on the interception party, as well. Derrick Morgan had a sack, and Jurrell Casey was, again, consistently disruptive. If the offense could avoid having so many Three-and-Outs the defense could have really hung their hats on this win; instead, they have to be seen as the ones that let Houston score a TD in overtime. This loss is not by fault of the defense whatsoever.
Overall, I think Titans fans can be very pleased with the way we dominated most of a game against what many pundits consider to be a Super Bowl contender. Nine times out of ten a game is won when you are leading by eight in the Fourth Quarter.
We have a surprisingly tough Chargers team coming in for our first home game of the year next Sunday. It will be difficult to slow Rivers down right now, but if we have learned anything it is that these Titans are not an easy out. Let’s just hope Locker steps up and gets the ball in the hands of Britt, Washington, and Wright. And wouldn’t it be nice to have a Justin Hunter sighting? Maybe CJ can break a tackle or two.