In the opening game of the year, the Titans lost to a Jaguars team that seemed to think that football only involved running the ball. There were some bright moments amidst the loss, including an 80-yd touchdown pass and catch from QB Matthew Hasselbeck to WR Kenny Britt.
The game began rough for the Titans, the team didn’t seem to be able to move the ball on offense and when the defense line up, they seemed innate at stopping the run game of the Jaguars. Star back Maurice Jones-Drew ran 24 times for 97 yards, and backup Deji Karim ran 14 times for 33 yards. Newly crowned starting QB Luke McCown completed 17/24 passes for 175 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.
On offense, it’s fair to say the Titans sputtered. Throughout the first half, the team looked inept at most phases of the game, except for an 80-yd touchdown catch by WR Kenny Britt. Let me detail the play for you. QB Matthew Hasselbeck did an outstanding job avoiding to pressure, shifting to the left of the line, then threw the ball to Britt, who had run right to left across the field darting in and out of zone coverage. After catching the ball, Britt then turned up field and ran about 70 yards un-touched. Safety Dawan Landry of the Jaguars seemed to be aimed right at Britt just after the catch but missed. It looked as though Britt stalled turning up the field and Landry aimed up field. The second play by the offense in the first half worth mentioning also started short. A screen pass to rookie RB Jamie Harper, where Harper threw a great block then ran for the first down cam as only the second highlight that half. RB Chris Johnson couldn’t get out from behind the line of scrimmage. At one point in the third quarter, his stat-line read 5 carries for 11 yards.
In the second half, the Titans defense tightened up and did a much better job stopping the Jaguars running game, and if Jaguars WR Mike Thomas (8 catches for 55 yards) doesn’t make the catch that was quite possibly the play of the game, late in the 4th quarter, then the Titans may go on to win. After Thomas’ catch, the Jaguars punted the football and sat the Titans down near their own 1. After ripping through the Jaguars zone coverage, Hasselbeck hiked ball from the Titans side of the 50-yd line with approximately 26 seconds left. Under pressure, Hasselbeck through the ball while falling slightly backwards and newly-acquired Free Safety Dwight Lowery intercepted the pass that Kenny Britt had no real attempt of catching.
Numbers to Note
Matthew Hasselbeck–21/34 for 263 yards and 2 TD’s
Chris Jonson–9 carries for 24 yards. 6 receptions for 25 yards.
WR Kenny Britt–5 receptions for 136 yards and 2 TD’s
Hasselbeck looked real sharp and was easily the brightest spot of play on the team. WR Nate Washington finally seems to be developing that much-needed chemisrty with Hasselbeck. Look for that connection to grow.
In other divisional news, the Texans blanketed the Colts 34-7. The score seems forgiving compared to the game.