Coming off a humiliating loss on Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tennessee Titans were set to face off against another AFC South rival, the Indianapolis Colts, for Thursday Night Football. The Indianapolis Colts entered this game just as humiliated after getting embarrassed at home to the St. Louis Rams by a whopping score of 38-8. The battle was set for two teams to engage in an AFC South clash.
Had the Titans taken care of business, they should/could have been facing the Colts to determine first place in the division. However, the Titans let the Jaguars get their first win of the year. The Titans and Colts both entered Thursday’s game on a short week and were eager to shake their disappointing losses. Unfortunately, only one team was able to do so—the Colts.
The Titans came out of the gate swinging. They took the ball down the field on the opening drive. Chris Johnson busted through the opening for a 30-yard score. I thought I was watching highlights from 2010. A few moments later, the Titans drove down the field again into the red zone where CJ fought, pushed, and twisted his way in for a seven-yard touchdown.
I was jumping up and down shouting like a lunatic exclaiming this is the Titans we need and want to see. Johnson looked hell bent on finding his old swagger—and he did. He was off to a sensational start. Unfortunately the Titans coaching staff deviated away from it and it hurt us.
At the end of the first half I was feeling comfortable as the Titans sat on a 17-6 lead. That feeling didn’t last long.
Into the 3rd quarter we go and the Colts score a touchdown on their opening drive. I knew it was bound to happen. We couldn’t keep the Colts completely shut down the whole game, right? On the following kickoff, after Donald Brown capped off their six-plus minute drive with a six-yard touchdown run, the Titans new fill-in KR/PR Devon Wylie, who was just brought up from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, fumbled the kick return deep in their own territory.
This was without a doubt the momentum shift of the game. Andrew Luck and company set up shop in the red zone and quickly scored a quarterback run for an 11-yard score. The Titans early game lead evaporated just like that. A 17-3 lead turned into a 20-17 deficit without the offense ever seeing the ball.
The Titans made an effort to come back in the final minutes of the game. The final score came on a pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Delanie Walker that went for 19 yards. The Titans found themselves in a similar predicament as last Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars—down one possession with an onside kick opportunity. Once again Rob Bironas made a terrible onside kick that was quickly recovered by the Colts by simply falling and laying down on it.
The scoreboard read Colts 30 to Titans 27. We came up short… again.
That is the third division loss of the season. We now sit at 0-3 in the division. The statistic itself hurts, but this statistic will make it sting a little worst. In those three losses to our AFC rivals (Texans, Jaguars, and Colts) we lost by a combined total of 11 points. We lost in OT to the Texans by six, the Jags on Sunday by two, and the Colts by three all in the closing deciding moments of the game.
Simply put, we can’t close out games.
I will spare Fitzpatrick of ridicule this time because he truly played a solid and sound game at QB. There is nothing I am really disappointed at by him in this game. He made some nice throws. Didn’t make any poor decisions. His worst moments of the game were the decisions by the coaching staff. For example, when on 3rd-and-1 they had him come out in shotgun formation with a five-wide set. This clearly was a play where we should have had Shonn Greene or Jackie Battle bulldoze up the middle for the yard.
I try to stay positive, I really do. There is no team I am more passionate about and want to see succeed more. I just find it VERY frustrating when we are constantly stuck in exile in the middle of “Mediocre-land”. Going back to the last two seasons with Jeff Fisher including the 3 years with Mike Munchak we have been mediocre. So now, for five years, we have rode this emotional roller coaster of up and down performances.
It truly seems like there is a black cloud hovering above this organization. We start off the season 3-1 and we are on cloud nine. Then our hopeful franchise quarterback Jake Locker gets injured and we drop three games in a row before the bye week. Our team gets healthy over the bye week only for Locker to sustain a season-ending foot injury while losing to the previously winess Jaguars. Then we blew a 14-point lead to concede to the Colts. We started 3-1 and now sit at a miserable 4-6.
Why are we stuck right in the middle? Smack dab in the middle of “Mediocre-land?” The Titans win enough games to not earn Top 5 draft picks, but we lose enough to not make the playoffs. We have the worst of both worlds. All I can say is that I hope we shake up the coaching staff. Our team doesn’t have that fire or passion we used to have back in the Steve McNair and Eddie George days.
I can’t take another loss with Munchak standing on the sidelines with that blank look on his face. Everyone knows when Tom Coughlin or Mike Tomlin is angry…it’s not a bad thing to show it. We need someone, anyone, to show that they are angry for these performances.