Last night I sat in the blusterous cold and watched the San Diego Chargers simply dismantle the Tennessee Titans. It was awful. The Titans made it painfully obvious they didn’t come to play. There were penalties galore. The passing game was off. Chris Johnson, despite having 142 yards rushing and improving on an impressive 10 game streak of 100+ rushing yards was ineffective at times. Tennessee seemed to show through in the limelight of the prime time national broadcast shades of the team that opened the 2009 campaign (0-6). Honestly, it was tough to watch. Sometime in the middle of the third quarter the bell tolled on my playoff beard. All the whiskers in the world couldn’t hurt my ailing Titans.
Tragically, again, their season ended at the hands of the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers on the other hand played some inspired football. Philip Rivers proved once again why he’s such a good quarterback. He finished the game 21 of 27 for 264 yards and two touchdowns, spreading the ball around to nine different receivers and completing seven passes of more than 20 yards in what was essentially three quarters of play. Even from my distant perspective I could see how methodical the Chargers were. They practically played mistake free football.
Vince Young on the other hand… not so much. VY was 8/21, 89 YDS, 2 INT… which is just pitiful. It’s not completely over for the Titans. Lame duck or not they still have some history to play for. Where I know no team ever made the post season tournament starting (0-6) I’m fairly certain no team has ever managed .500 after being down by such a seemingly insurmountable standings deficit. It’s wholly possible for the Titans to garner a runner up finish in the division, although not a wild card bid, that is some consolation. Then there is the Chris Johnson aspect. The Titans will be facing Seattle’s 13th-ranked run defense in Week 17, meaning he should be able to get the 128 yards he needs to break 2,000. 233 for the all-time record, however, would take one final extraordinary effort. That’s what this team will be playing for. That’s what I will be tuning in to watch.