Different game, same result. The Titans went into Chicago and beat the first place Chicago Bears 21-14 Sunday, once again finding a new way to win. This time, we saw a Titans passing game that produced a little over 14 times the yardage of the ground output. Doubt we’ll see that again this season, but a gelling air attack is making a great Titans team even more dangerous. Sorry rest of the AFC. 9-0, didn’t think I’d be typing that this season (in fact we should painfully admit that we had Tennessee winning 9 for the entire season). Sometimes we’re more than happy to be wrong, and hopefully we’ll seal the deal of our inaccurate pre-season win/loss total with a 10th win in Jacksonville next week. Hey, at least we got the Cortland Finnegan part right.
- Alright, the running game isn’t gonna work, so the Titans are in big trouble, right? Well not exactly. I think we knew (strongly felt) that Kerry Collins was in for a big game, but didn’t quite realize that the Titans’ fate would pretty much fall on his shoulders. Collins hooked up with seven different receivers, and with the exception of RB LenDale White, did so on more than one occasion. Collins’ passer rating of 108.7 was his first posting above 100 this season in a complete game (in week 1 against the Jags he had a rating of 118.8, but only had two attempts). Other than the two touchdowns (next to no picks), the most impressive stat may have been his 73.2 completion percentage during a game in which he had 41 pass attempts. Game ball, maybe?
- Tennessee’s running game wasn’t there at all. The Bears defense has been pretty hard to peg all season long, but they gave absolutely no room to run for Chris Johnson or LenDale White. The Titans vaunted running attack managed -5 yards rushing in the first half, with a goal line fumble by FB Ahmad Hall to boot. Tennessee’s rushing total of 20 yards was one yard short of the lowest output in franchise history. The Titans came into New Soldier Field with the third overall rushing production in football, and were dominated. The bad news: against the the three best rushing defenses they’ve played thus far (Minnesota, Baltimore & Chicago) the Titans have only managed 48 rushing yards per game. The good news: Kerry and Co. showed that the passing game is good enough to punish you for keeping eight guys in the box.
- Rookie Matt Forte played a pretty darn good game, but for the Bears to win he needed to be dominant. Forte led Chicago in rushing and receiving, and while his numbers will probably continue to go down a bit as the season progresses, his name will certainly at least be in the discussion for Rookie of the Year honors, in one of the deepest pools in years (Chris Johnson, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco also come to mind). Forte was able to be the safety blanket for Rex Grossman in a game in which Grossman played pretty admirably considering the circumstances. While Grossman threw a pick and missed a couple of open receivers pretty badly, the Bears were in the game until the very end, and you could see Grossman on the sideline trying to rally the troops. Who knows what Grossman’s future in the league is, but from all I can tell, he’s dealt with the highs and lows of the last few seasons pretty professionally.
- Rex Grossman’s 5 yard TD pass to Matt Forte in the first quarter marked the first time that the Titans have allowed a touchdown on an opponents’ opening drive. While the Titans scored first with field goals in their preceding two games (vs. the Packers and Colts for those of you with short memories), this marks the third consecutive game that the Titans have allowed lead changing touchdowns early in the game (first 20 minutes of game time). Nothing to be worried about, just a little interesting.
- Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, 13 teams have started with nine consecutive victories, and nine of those went to the Super Bowl. Of those nine, six have won it all (Colts-2006, Broncos-1998, Redskins-1991, Giants-1990, Bears-1985, Dolphins-1972, and the Pats team from last… oh wait. Sorry. What a buncha losers). The Titans are now the 14th team to accomplish such a feat. Let’s just hope that they can continue on that road to Super Bowl XLIII and put themselves in position to become the seventh team from that group to hoist that Lombardi Trophy.
This Sunday, Tennessee will start the second half of their AFC South schedule, with a visit to Jacksonville (in fact the rest of their divisional games are on the road). The division is pretty much wrapped up at this point, but Tennessee, like every team will continue to fine tune the machine. 9-0 is pretty awesome, 10-0 would be more awesome. Let’s do the 10-0 thing. Titan Up.
Tags: AFC AFC South Ahmad Hall Baltimore Ravens Chicago Bears Chris Johnson Cortland Finnegan Denver Broncos Green Bay Packers Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Joe Flacco Kerry Collins LenDale White Lombardi Trophy Matt Forte Matt Ryan Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots New Soldier Field New York Giants NFL Rookie Of The Year Rex Grossman Super Bowl Super Bowl XLIII Tennessee Titans Washington Redskins