On Sunday, October 20th, the Tennessee Titans hosted the San Francisco 49ers for a good ole fashioned fall football game. The Titans were 4 point underdogs entering the game on a two game skid. Underdogs doesn’t even begin to describe the Titans performance. A lot of Titans’ fans and analysts saw this game as a good measuring stick for postseason hopes. The Titans offense started just like how it has most of the season – slow, stagnant, and unproductive.
The biggest headline coming into the game was the late week developments on Jake Locker and his remarkable recovery from what looked like a very scary injury in Week 4 vs the New York Jets. Locker got back onto the practice field and proved he had quickly overcome a hip strain and knee sprain. I was very excited and nervous at the same time. On one hand I thought it proved that our hopeful franchise quarterback showed amazing courage and heart. We were on a two game skid entering a tough game against the 49ers and surely would’ve taken a loss with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. On the other hand I was nervous because I thought he and the Titans staff rushed him back in desperation of not going into the bye week with a three game losing streak.
I applaud, respect, and appreciate Locker’s effort and heart he displayed by taking the field only after 3 weeks of recovery, but I truly feel he should have sat this game out and take advantage of the bye week. This is purely based on looking at the big picture and not the immediate future. By giving him that extra two weeks he could have really made sure everything felt okay and gotten extra healed up.
It was very disappointing to watch this game and see the Titans enter halftime trailing 17-0. The Titans came out in the second half with an extra spark but against an elite NFL team like the 49ers you cannot let 30 minutes of football go by without scoring. Once again the Titans offense showed very conservative play in the first half until unleashing Locker and letting him air it out some in the second half. Chris Johnson was only utilized by rushing the ball 9 times for 39 yards. CJ did his damage on a HB screen where he showcased his world class speed which went for 66 yards and a touchdown.
A few other takeaways from this game I would like to mention are:
- We have a speedy and talented weapon in young WR Kendall Wright.
- Kenny Britt‘s departure from TEN is inevitable before seasons end.
- OC Dowell Loggains needs to implement some of the late Mike Heimerdinger‘s offense to get CJ running again.
- The Titans play too conservative first half football.
- Special teams is a disaster (the waive of KR/PR Darius Reynaud is a step to correct the problem).
- We have to start winning immediately after the bye to give the Colts a run for their money in the division.
- Titans must improve defense on third-down.
- And, this is worth a mention again…Jake Locker has so much heart.
The Titans face the St. Louis Rams with a Sam Bradford-less offense and a Jacksonville Jaguars team that has yet to get a win yet this season after the Titans come off their bye week. It is imperative that we win these 2 games. However, it is the third game after the bye week that might as well be treated as a playoff game and that’s when they face off against the Indianapolis Colts. Winning this game could have serious playoff implications come Week 17 when the final seeding is being determined for the playoffs.
I am very hopeful and optimistic the Titans will get rested up and come out of the gate fast after the bye. No one in the NFL deserved a bye week this week more than the Titans after facing the Chiefs, Seahawks, and 49ers, respectively. Our team has made some nice strides this season, but after our three game losing streak against three sure fire playoff teams – we still got some work to do.
* Rest In Peace Bud Adams – we will forever be grateful for your impact on the AFL/NFL and you giving the music city our beloved Tennessee Titans *