Heading into the Thursday night matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Tennessee Titans offense was looking at another uphill battle for anything positive offensively.
Facing the fifth ranked defense in the NFL the Titans knew this game would be tough, but in front of a nationally televised audience, they showed that they may be a little better than what their 1-4 record showed.
QB- Matt Hasselbeck spread the ball around by completing passes to 8 different receivers. Hasselbeck finished the game 25-44 for 290 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. More than anything Hasselbeck really did a great job of guiding the offense and avoiding negative plays. Yes, he had one pick which could have been a crusher, but he was solid all night. He didn’t get rattled, he just kept the offense in the game with a calm, cool presence.
RB- Ok, it is now two out of the last three weeks that CJ has had very good games. Against the Steelers, CJ ran for 91 yards on 19 carries. Is it a coincidence that CJ has been running the ball a lot better with Hasselbeck as the QB? I don’t think so! In any case, CJ looked decisive and took what the defense gave him. Jamie Harper got in for a one yard TD in the 2nd quarter to give the Titans a 13-10 lead.
Receivers- Man there were a lot of dropped balls! Kennt Britt was targeted 11 times and came away with 4 catches for 62 yards and a TD. What I really liked was that Hasselbeck kept going back to him. Kendall Wright continues to impress in his rookie year and actually led the Titans in receiving with 6 catches for 71 yards. Jared Cook, who the Titans said had to get involved early and often in the game, came out with 4 catches on 4 targets, for 54 yards. Cookie also had one of the biggest catches of the game. On 3rd and 5 from the 50, with the Titans trying to kick the go ahead field goal, Cookie ran a crossing pattern and Hasselbeck hit him for a 25 yard gain. Let the celebration begin!
O-line- Playing against a very dangerous Pittsburgh defensive line, the Titans did allow three sacks but managed to keep Hasselbeck clean most of the night. They opened up running lanes for CJ and seemed to be in control for much of the night.
This was a much needed and well deserved win for the Titans. From the beginning of the game, the Titans seemed well prepared and ready to take on the Steelers. The game plan was aggressive from the begininning with the Titans lining up and throwing on numerous first downs to keep the Steelers off guard. The pace on offense was crisp and effective and Hasselbeck did a great job of making sure the Titans were always in the right play.
If the team can continue to play like they did against the Steelers than there will be more than a few more wins for us to look forward to this year. The talent is there, now they just have to play together consistently to stay in ball games.
What say you?
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