Bang! Can we have a lock out every year? If this is what short training camps have to offer, then I’m all for it. The NFL returned to action with a breath-taking Kick Off weekend which saw three NFL longest play records equalled plus a whole host of special performances.
One performance that certainly doesn’t fall into the special category was that produced by the Titans offense. A pretty dismal first half performance was rescued by a second half improvement which saw Tennessee get within touching distance of a victory. And the fact that the Titans were in the game without any real production from Chris Johnson in particular and the offense in general is a plus point to take into the season.
The injury to Peyton Manning has thrown the AFC South wide open, and with the Colts, and Manning’s replacement Kerry Collins dismantled by the Texans, the fight for the division is one the Titans are capable of winning. Matt Hasselbeck and Kenny Britt showed the semblance of an understanding in the second half, and Britt showed his ability to bust out the big plays. His 80 yard TD owed as much to his determination to get open, as it did to the “fluky” nature of the throw by Hasselbeck. What was more impressive was the finesse catch for his and the Titans second touchdown, particularly the great skill in which he tapped his toe, after bringing the high pass under control, to ensure both feet were in bounds to make a legitimate catch.
With an offense spluttering against Jacksonville, it would be difficult to see them make any impression on Baltimore next week (so much so I’ve brought the Ravens defense off the bench in my Fantasy team) but it’s imperative that the Titans pick up their game for the two very winnable match-ups against Denver and Cleveland which follow.
What was good to see was a tough defensive effort. Despite a horror opening, which saw the Jags, quite literally in the case of Maurice Jones-Drew’s touchdown, run through the Titans defense at will. But they knuckled down and the goal-line stand which restricted Jacksonville to a field goal just prior to Britt’s 80 yard TD almost turned the game.
The Titans attempts to force the ball deep into Jag’s territory at the end of the game, to set up a field goal saw the interception which killed off the game. Why Tennessee felt they had to go so deep is a mystery, particularly as they allowed Rob Bironas to attempt a 67 yard effort at the end of the first half. A pass play of 20 yards would have given the Titans a shot, but by being a little too greedy, they paid the price.