It’s all roses and sunshine in my part of the world. The reason: The Tennessee Titans finally played their first complete game of the season. Yes, they made mistakes, but as a whole, this is much closer to the team I expected to see this season than what has been on display so far in 2012. For that reason this week’s Winners and Losers will look a little different than the previous weeks.
Winner: Matt Hasselbeck
The truth is, Hasselbeck wasn’t perfect, but he made more good throws than poor ones. He was decisive and he had perfect control of the offense late in the game. He has very little arm strength left, but he made up for it with smart passes and good timing. I’ve knocked him so far this season, but this is one week when he deserves all the praise he gets.
Loser: Tackling form.
I don’t want to single out any one player – there were a number that had trouble with tackling in this game, and the previous games. If the Titans can sort this out and start tackling like a good football team is supposed to tackle, their defensive stats will improve considerably. One bit of advice to a few of secondary players: If the offensive player is bigger than you, stop trying to tackle him by driving your shoulder into his upper body. It just looks sad and embarrassing. Do what you were taught to do your entire playing career and take his legs out.
Winner: Jason McCourty
I realize he was one of the main culprits in the huge TD pass to Mike Wallace, but he rebounded nicely from that for the rest of the game and he had a huge, momentum changing interception at the end of the second quarter. Cornerbacks must have short memories and this is a textbook example of exactly that.
Loser: Ticket holders that sold their tickets to Steeler fans.
Shame on you. Shame.
Winner: Derrick Morgan
Quietly, Morgan has had a very productive season. Unfortunately, since he has not put up great sack numbers, most people don’t realize how well he has played. This game was probably his best of the season – our very own Chase Maher had this to say about his performance against the Steelers:
Morgan recorded 3 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss, 1 pass defended and 2 QB hits. None of the numbers are high, but they are well rounded in each aspect of what Tennessee expects of him as a defensive end.
As I said, he has been quiet about it, but he is playing well and seems to be getting more and more disruptive as the season progresses. Let’s hope that trend continues. The Titans need him to be a difference maker every game.
Were there other players that struggled against Pittsburgh? Sure. But as a team, the Titans looked better than they have all season and I won’t be too critical this time around. There is plenty of room for growth and improvement, but I have renewed confidence that the Tennessee Titans are headed in the right direction…finally.