If you missed this game I feel sorry for you. This was the most beautiful Titans game of the season. Coming into this game almost no was betting on the Titans. Cam Newton and the Panthers have been one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL all season. Coming into the game Steve Smith was averaging 114.8 yards per game. He was held to 33 yards against the Titans. The Panthers were stomped by the Titans as the Titans ended the game with a 30-3 win over the Panthers. Now lets look at what went right on Sunday…
The defense played a great game. When you hold one of the leagues most dangerous offenses to 3 points, you know something went right. The Titans defensive line was relentless. It was a thing of beauty. Sen’Derrick Marks terrorized the offensive line. The pressure he applied helped the line apply pressure to Cam Newton and the defense rack up five sacks. The defense also made tackles. Newton is possibly the hardest QB in the league to contain and take down and the Titans not only contained him but sacked him five times. Finnegan, Witherspoon, Jones, and Ayers all recorded a sack while Hayes and Marks split a sack. The Titans also got an interception off a ball defended by Verner. Ayers made a big step up in play and recorded a fumble. Colin McCarthy got his first career start at middle linebacker and didn’t fail to impress. On NFL.com the stats say he had 5 tackles and 3 assists but today the coaches said after reviewing the film that he actually led the team with 12 tackles. I personally also credit him with the forced fumble. Witherspoon loosened the ball with his hit but McCarthy popped it out when he hit Olsen. It was great to watch him play out there. He was always around the ball and had one crucial third down stop where he tackled Newton head on to stop him from getting the first down. The defense as a whole did a good job of stopping the Panthers from converting 3rd downs. The Panthers were 3/14 or 21% for conversions on third downs. Overall it was an impressive outing by the defense that will hopefully show the same intensity next week against another explosive NFC team, the Falcons.
Offense got it going early. It was a big gust of wind put in the entire teams sails when Marc Mariani returned the first punt for a touchdown. That boost helped the Titans get the offense going early as the Titans scored on their first three possessions. Damian Williams continued to show improvement as he led the team with 5 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. He also had another beautiful catch on the sideline, making sure his toes were in bounds. CJ was able to reel in 130 yards, adding a 1 yard touchdown at the end. There is still definitely room for improvement though. The run game was on again off again and the Titans were 3/13 or 23% on converting 3rd downs. That’s gotta change if this team is gonna make it to the post season. They’ve still got a long ways to go and a lot of tough teams to beat, but I think they can do it if the defense keeps playing at a strong level and the offense finds their rhythm.
Though there were a lot of excellent plays made Sunday by Titans players, I give this weeks game ball to rookie linebacker Colin McCarthy. He stepped in and did an excellent job commanding the defense in his first career start. He impressed all his teammates and may very well have played himself into a starting role for the defense.
In the end, this was a big win for the Titans and they’ll hopefully carry the momentum over into their next game against the Falcons. They’ve got a long road ahead of them and we’ll see what this team is made of in the next few weeks.
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