Well folks, for the first time in franchise history, the Tennessee Titans are 4-0. Let’s all take a moment just to let that sink in. Feels good doesn’t it? I was fortunate enough to be there, after Mr. Barton, Eli Biblesworth and myself were able to scalp some upper level seats for $50 a pop. Not bad, but that sir, was not the forty-yard line.
- The Titans offense was quietly effective all afternoon, with QB Kerry Collins throwing for almost 200 yards and no picks, while the two-headed monster of Chris Johnson and LenDale White pounded in three touchdowns on the ground. They were also able to move the ball well enough to put kicker Rob Bironas in field goal position three times, with the All-Pro connecting on all three attempts.
- Today’s game was the first of the season in which both Justin’s (Gage and McCareins) were active and on the field. It also just so happens that they were the team’s two leading receivers. Gage actually had a nice afternoon, catching 5 balls for 92 yards, including a number of big first downs. McCareins had only 32 yards on three catches, but had a number of opportunities to add to those numbers as well. On one long pass in particular, Collins placed a nice ball near the sidelines where no one else could get it, but McCareins miss-timed his jump and the ball slipped out of his hands. You can tell that both Fisher and Heimerdinger have a level of comfort with him from his last go round’ with the team and are willing to take some shots down field in his direction.
- Adrian Peterson is really, really good. There were three or four times in particular where it looked like he was going to be tackled going laterally, but was able to wiggle away and change fields. His ability to turn up field, while switching gears is second to none in the league. If you look at the numbers, it would seem as though he blew up (18 carries for 80 yards-4.4 ypc and 2 TD’s), but really, the Titans did a good job of minimizing the damage. All Day’s biggest play came on a 28-yard TD scamper in the second quarter, but that run accounted for about a third of his yards. It was cool to get to see him run well, and still be able to win the football game. Dude is gonna be great.
- The Titans were finally able to help themselves in the special teams department, and Chris Carr made a couple of nice returns to give the Titans some advantageous field position a number of times. Carr average 34.7 yards per return, including one that he brought back 52 yards after a big Vikings touchdown in the fourth quarter that brought them to within 6. They also did a decent job of containing a Vikings return unit that was ranked 12th in the NFL. Needless to say, we were happy to see progress in this area. The Titans will become that much more dangerous if the special teams are able to give the offense a short field and pin the opposing team back.
- Gus Frerotte left the game late in the fourth quarter after sustaining a cut to his hand. After the game, Frerotte was upset about a hit that Kyle Vanden Bosch layed on him (that was completely unrelated to the injury). “It was a direct shot. That isn’t called for in this game. To just spear somebody like that is pretty ridiculous. I mean, he plays hard and he goes all out, but he wants to do those kinds of things.” It wasn’t a dirty hit, but it was a bit low, which the referees did in fact call him on. So, enough with the guff already Gus.
- Saw not one, but two Tyrone Calico jerseys at the game. I mean, Carl Pickens or Yancey Thigpen are one thing, but really, Tyrone Calico? You would have both been better off if you’d have only waited to drop the 60 bucks on a nice wash and wax job from the auto detailing place that he probably works at now.
- Two categories that changed the game: turnover differential and time of possession. The Titans dominated each, going +3 in the turnover department with one pick and three fumble recoveries. The final time of possession numbers don’t seem all that skewed (31:03 for the Titans and 28:57 for the Vikes) but the Titans held the ball for almost twice as long in the first half (19:34 to 10:36), which is where this game was won. Those two categories are very good measures for any great team, and so far thus season, the Titans have excelled in both.
Its really hard to find a glaring weakness in this team. They do everything pretty well and are incredibly disciplined (only 4 penalties for 18 yards). Next week they have another difficult task when they travel to Baltimore to face a good Ravens defense. It will be their first tough road test, and the Ravens always play us close. Oh how I hate them, which I guess not-so-secretly makes me hate Kellen. I hate you Kellen. And the Ravens…