For the first time in the 2010 season, the Tennessee Titan defense had no answers late in the game for one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. Is all that time on the field finally starting to catch up with this defense? Here’s a quick review of the Titan’s Week 8 performance on defense, including unit grades and selections of the “Titan” and “Terrible” player and coach of the week.
Defensive Line – C
The defensive line missed Tony Brown (knee) and gave up over 150 yards of rushing for the first time all year. They were also only able to sack Philip Rivers once (lowest amount of sacks in 2010). Although, Philip Rivers is on target to set an NFL record in multiple passing categories, the defense has to be held accountable for not forcing the Charger’s offense off the field.
Linebackers – C-
Will Witherspoon was no match for Antonio Gates and Stephen Tulloch was too small to stop a charging Mike Tolbert or too slow to catch a slashing Darren Sproles. Gerald McRath (10 tackles) led the Titans in tackles and does not show any signs of dropping off following his suspension for performance enhancing substances (i.e. Brian Cushing).
Defensive Backs – C-
Alterraun Verner (4 tackles) is officially the starting corner opposite Cortland Finnegan and the Titans welcomed back Jason McCourty (3 tackles, interception, pass deflection) this week, while it looks like Vincent Fuller’s days as a nickelback are over. Michael Griffin did an admirable job trying to play Gates in man coverage, but this was an unreasonable task for the much smaller Griffin. Quite simply, Rivers had his way with this secondary on 3rd downs (passing for all 12 of their 3rd down conversions).
Titan Player of the Week:
Jason Babin (3 tackles, 1 sack) – With 7 sacks on the season, Babin is proving to be more than enough of a replacement for Kyle Vanden Bosch (signed in off-season by Detroit Lions). He was the only Titan on Sunday that consistently created pressure, netting one sack and nearly having another that resulted in a penalty and fine later in the week. Do not think for a second that this fine will slow the aggressive Babin.
Terrible Coach of the Week:
Chuck Cecil (Defensive Coordinator – 2nd Year) – Asking Griffin, Witherspoon, or any other Titan to cover Antonio Gates in man coverage is sheer lunacy. Even in an injured state, he is a premier combination of athleticism, speed, and size at the tight end position. The Chargers receiver corps was decimated (No Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd, Legedu Naanee, or Buster Davis). Why leave the only premier receiving threat that Rivers has available in anything less than bracketed coverage?
Overall Defense Grade – C-
This flat performance from the defense appears to be more the work of a premier quarterback willing his team to win, than a defense not up to muster. However, the road will not get easier for the Titans, who still have to face division rivals Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub twice each. This defense will need to make a statement against a quality passer if they want to have a chance at getting into the playoffs.
Tags: Alterraun Verner Antonio Gates Brian Cushing Buster Davis Chuck Cecil Cortland Finnegan Darren Sproles Detroit Lions Gerald McRath Jason Babin Jason McCourty Kyle Vanden Bosch Legedu Naanee Malcolm Floyd Matt Schaub Michael Griffin Mike Tolbert NFL Week 8 Review Peyton Manning Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers Stephen Tulloch Tennessee Titans Tennessee Titans Vs. San Diego Chargers Titan Sized Titan Sized Report Titans Defense Titans Vs. Chargers TitanSized Titansized.com Tony Brown Vincent Fuller Vincent Jackson Week 8 Review Will Witherspoon