For all the blame you can place on the refs, the Tennessee Titans still cost themselves the game. Missed turnovers and inopportune penalties throughout the game kept the Indianapolis Colts with them, instead of burying them.
That’s the worst part. The Titans should have been able to bury the Colts team that showed up yesterday.
The Titans defense did it’s part, allowing only 13 points, the least amount it has allowed all season. They still struggled to stop the long drives, but obviously, the scoreboard was improved.
Offense looked good, overall, but the scoreboard shows part of the problem; the team couldn’t finish drives. Hasselbeck was 22 of 29 for 1 TD and zero INT’s, but he couldn’t hook up with the receivers deep. One such moment was what could have been the game winning TD, as TE Jared Cook beat coverage and was open for a deep floater.
Hasselbeck put too much on the ball and Cook never got the chance to make a play on the ball.
Chris Johnson did just fine, collecting 99 yards on 21 carries despite the fact that his line was beat up. The offensive line produced quite well even though it was missing half it’s starters. Part of that is due to the fact that the Colts have a sub-par rush. The receivers were called on a couple of penalties, though one or two of them may not have been deserved.
They still made that catches when the ball came their way. Rookie WR Kendall Wright had the Titans only TD of the game and it showed great awareness by him, dragging his feet to to keep them in the end zone while stretching out to grab the ball. Nate Washington kept being the guy we’ve all come to love, fighting for everything he could get.
WR Kenny Britt’s two biggest catches of the day were called back on penalties, one of which was called from the ref across the field. That was one of the bad calls. TE Jared Cook made the most of his opportunities, recording 3 receptions for 45 yards.
The root of the problem seems to stem back to a Matt Hasselbeck who while playing well, seems to have lost the ability to consistently push the ball deep, his longest pass of the season being 37 yards long. Another problem is the fact that he doesn’t do a good job of getting the ball to one of the Titans biggest playmakers in Cook.
Cook has been the most consistent player on offense this year and has shown that he has the ability to be the playmaker the Titans drafted him to be. With Jake Locker under center, Cook gets utitlized. With Hasselbeck there, he seems to get lost in the mix.
The Titans thought they’d be safe to hold Locker out one more game with Hasselbeck doing just enough to win the games for the Titans. Even I believed it. We were wrong. Locker would have won that game.
I expect Locker will be back for this next game against the Chicago Bears. It’s unfortunate that Locker has to come back to face such a tough defense, but that’s how it is. Locker gives this team the best chance of winning and if anyone can lead this offense to a victory over them, it’s him. He’ll also have a run game, something he didn’t have earlier in the year.
That should lift some of the weight off his shoulders, though the Bears do have a stout run defense.
Hopefully yesterday was Hasselbeck’s last game starting. He’s been great, but the Titans have their guy in Locker and the guy, well, he just wins.
You can find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart