The Tennessee Titans looked completely inept on Sunday in their loss to the Chicago Bears. Once again, they have made my life just a little bit worse. Man do I hate writing these! And this one might be the most difficult one yet. Was there anything good that happened on Sunday against the Bears? Anything at all? Let’s jump right in – ripping this sucker off like a band-aid. The quicker we are done, the less pain we have to experience.
Winner: The Chicago Bears and their 35,000 fans.
I don’t think I need to elaborate much about this one. Do I? The Bears mauled the Titans on Sunday. They were all over the field on defense, forcing turnovers and scoring points. Charles Tillman had a defensive performance for the ages. That man was everywhere and completely impacted the final score in more ways than any defensive player I have ever seen.
And what can you say about their fans? They showed up and made L.P. Field their second home field. As the kids say, “major props to them.” (Do the kids actually still say that? I’m in my 30’s and don’t really know what the kids say anymore…nor do I want to know most of the time. “Get off my lawn and turn down that noise you call music!”)
Loser: The Tennessee Titans and their fans.
Was the pre-game rallying cry, “FUMBLE ALL THE BALLS!!!”? It had to be, right? How else do you explain what we witnessed on Sunday. No one was immune to it. CJ fumbled twice – he never does that. Britt, Cook, and Stevens all contributed to the comedy of errors. The Titans gave up a big return to Devin Hester. The had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown. The had an interception returned for a touchdown. Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. It was ugly and frustrating to watch, but at least it was over with quickly so that the fans could go on with their day. And did they ever!
Where does this leave the team? Here are a few quick observations after this embarrassing loss:
1. The fans are overreacting. This was a bad loss, but I don’t see how it was any worse than some of the other losses this season. The defense actually played much better this game than they are being credited. Yes, the final score was 51 points allowed, but the defense was not responsible for even half of those. The Titans are not going to have everything go wrong like this for a long time. It was a weird game and one that shouldn’t determine which coaches get to keep their jobs.
2. Most of the team seemed to still be playing hard in the 4th quarter. I know that doesn’t mean much in a loss like this, but contrast that to what happened in New England a few years ago when the Titans got blown out 59-0. That team quit. Besides a few players, the entire team stopped playing at half time. The Titans did not quit on Sunday against the Bears. It didn’t make a difference in the final score, but it means that Munchak has something to work with during the rest of the season.
3. Jake Locker needs to start as soon as he is medically cleared. If he can go Sunday against Miami, then he needs to be in there. There is no reason to delay this decision any longer if his health is not in jeopardy. We know what Matt Hasselbeck can do. We need to find out what Locker can do.
4. I honestly believe that this defense is one or two players away from being great. (And a new defensive coordinator.) I’m thinking it’s a safety that they need, and perhaps another pass rusher, but I see talent at a lot of the other positions on defense. Ayers, McCarthy, and Brown are going to be very good together for a number of years. Morgan is turning into the player the team drafted him to be. Casey and Marks can be very good for the foreseeable future. A few tweaks with the roster and a new defensive play caller on the sideline and this defense is a strength for the team.
5. There are still 7 games left this season. 1 against a 4-4 Miami club. 2 against a terrible Jacksonville team. 1 against the terrible Jets. 1 more against a beatable Indianapolis. Those are all winnable games. Or they should be if this team actually shows up. I make no apologies for holding out hope that this team can turn things around. It was just a few weeks ago that the fan base was excited about the Titans after they won 2 games in a row. This is the same team that won those games – and they can be better in the final 7 games of the season with just a few adjustments.