The Tennessee Titans couldn’t pull off the upset against the New England Patriots as they fell to them in the season opener. The final score was 34 – 13, but that doesn’t tell the story.
The Titans could have won this game.
I would blame this loss, almost entirely, on the offensive line. They blew it. Locker was hit from behind early in the game and fumbled the ball, which was immediately returned for a touchdown, seems as it was at the 3-yard line. That one was on Roos. I wish I could say that was their only problem, but it wasn’t.
CJ got 4 yards on 11 carries.
In case you didn’t understand what you just read, I’ll write it again. CJ got 4 yards on 11 carries. That says it all. The Titans could run block to save their lives, let alone CJ’s. There is no reason this line should be this bad again. Absolutely none. Munchak has to do something because this is unacceptable. But I’ll save that rant for another article.
The Titans couldn’t establish a run game which is what truly cost them the game in the end. All of the offense was put on Jake Locker’s shoulders because of it.
That wasn’t actually a bad thing. Locker went 23 of 32 for 1 TD and 1 INT. He looked just like the QB we saw briefly last season. He was accurate, for the most part, and moved the offense. He also used his legs in a crucial, drive extending form that will be an great asset in the future. I was extremely happy with his play. The Titans didn’t put up as many point as you’d hope for, but as you can see by his stats, it wasn’t his fault. You have to have a run game to balance things out.
Kendall Wright also looked great. I only noticed one missed catch by him. When he got the ball in his hands he was looking to make the big play. The guy has a great future ahead of him. It was exciting to see that drive inside of him when you’d see his face.
The Titans had some scary injuries during the game that nearly killed every Titans fan watching. Colin McCarthy had his ankle rolled on by a teammate one play and couldn’t finish the game. He was on the sideline with a boot on his ankle. He says it’s just tweaked but a boot certainly raises concern. Locker and Washington were hurt in the same play.
Washington was drilled on the catch and wouldn’t get up. That was scary. From my understanding, it’s just a leg contusion. It’d be awful to lose him. Not only is he a great leader on the field, but the Titans are also sporting a pretty small group of WR’s due to Mariani’s injury.
When Washington got hit, it appeared that he had fumbled the ball. This is where Locker got hurt. He probably made the best tackle of the day but in the process hurt his left shoulder (not his throwing one). That play was one of the scariest ever; two big leaders and integral parts of the offense were laying on the ground in pain. Locker is expected to return for next weeks game but sat out the last of this one.
Back to the actual game, the Titans defense was a sucker for the play-actions. FS Michael Griffin almost gave up a touchdown early as he bit hard on fake and left his deep coverage, which left Patriots WR Brandon Lloyd wide open. Fortunately Lloyd had trouble tracking the ball and pulled up, which caused the ball to sail past him.
Kamerion Wimbley earned his first sack of the year and was constantly causing trouble for the line. Unfortunately, the Titans were weak against the run, just like they were last year. I’m not sure why that happened, at they have an amazing group of DT’s and I expected much better from them this week. I don’t expect them to perform that poorly very often, it was just one of those weeks.
I could go on forever about this game, but I’ll sum it up in a paragraph:
The Titans underperformed, specifically in the run game and on defense. They had injuries to the crucial players that hopefully won’t hold those players out of future games. The Patriots had excellent play calling and played great on both sides of the ball. The Titans have some improvements to make on both sides of the ball but there’s a lot of good things to take away from that game.
Don’t hang on this loss. It really wasn’t as bad as it looked.
You can find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart