Last week, Titan Sized gave seven keys to victory for the Tennessee Titans in their Week 1 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Below is a listing of those seven keys:
- Quarterback Play
- Efficient Ground Game
- Winning the Trenches
- Tackling Big Ben
- Where’s Polamalu?
- Finish Strong
- Kicking Game
What this a fair, honest and accurate assessment? Let’s take a look at each synopsis and see whether the Titans accomplished it.
How far the Titans go will largely depend on their quarterback play. Jake Locker doesn’t have to post Peyton Manning-esque stats. He just needs to protect the football, make a handful of plays down the field, complete drives with touchdowns and slide whenever a defender approaches him.
REALITY: Locker did what he had to do. One could argue against his protection of the football. He had two passes that were deflected into the air that landed harmlessly on the ground. Three of his four scoring drives ended with field goals, although the Titans appeared satisfied with field goals on the last two. He slid whenever a Steelers defender charged at him.
Will that type of performance beat teams with an elite quarterback and an NFL-caliber offensive line? No. It was good enough to beat the Steelers.
SUCCESS (1 of 1)
Efficient Ground Game
Through three preseason games, Chris Johnson had 20 carries for 155 yards. That’s a 7.75 yards-per-carry average.
Is the pre-2011 Johnson back or was that the showing of a preseason superstar? The Titans need more than a “1-for-10 with a homer” type of performance. In addition, Shonn Greene must continue his nearly unstoppable approach on 3rd-and-shorts.
REALITY: It was an efficient, not sexy performance. Minus Locker’s five carries, the Titans had 37 rushing attempts for 109 yards with a three-yard touchdown run from Jackie Battle. Johnson had 25 carries for 70 yards. Both numbers averaged out less than three yards per carry. Greene was lost early in the game with a knee injury.
Let’s not forget that this is a Steelers defense that has Dick LeBeau as its defensive coordinator, arguably one of the greatest of all time. For an offensive line with three-fifths of it having new faces and a right tackle with a bad calf, that was a solid performance.
SUCCESS (2 of 2)
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