Perhaps the biggest highlight of the game happened while Vince Young, Chris Johnson, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and Felix Jones had their helmets off sitting on the sidelines. Here’s a quick review of the Titan’s Week 5 performance on special teams, including unit grades and selections of the “Titan” and “Terrible” player of the week.
Kick and Punt Coverage Teams – A+ (Most Improved)
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah is hardly a name that strikes fear, unless you are Mike Keith trying to pronounce it correctly. Dez Bryant on the other hand, can score in the drop of a syllable. However, Alan Lowry had the Titan coverage team swarming to the ball all day and Bryant could only manage 1 yard on 3 punt returns. Owusu-Ansah faired only marginally better averaging a pedestrian 22.8 yards per kick return.
Kick and Punt Return Teams – A-
Jeff Fisher was right on the nose about Marc Mariani, his 7th round “pet project.” Mariani’s booming rookie campaign just keeps exploding in the forms of big time returns. His 73-yard return late in this week’s game sealed the fate of the Cowboys. It’s time for opposing teams to consider not kicking him the ball anymore. Don’t believe me? Kick and see for yourself. I dare you.
Kicker and Punter – A-
Rob Bironas tagged two more field goals (40, 52 yards), to go along with 4 extra points. Brett Kern only averaged 34.8 yards per punt, but did manage to pin Bryant and the Cowboys inside the 20 yard line on two occasions. Kern also deserves credit for hanging his punts high enough to leave Bryant little chance of return, while simultaneously low enough as to avoid hitting the scoreboard.
Titan Player of the Week: Marc Mariani – Has Disney already started writing the script for this Cinderella story? And is Mark Wahlberg available?
Terrible Player of the Week: Vacant
Overall Special Teams Grade – A+
Sunday was the most solid all-around effort this unit has put on the field this year. As writers and experts try to fathom how it is possible for the Titans to give up 300 passing yards virtually every week and still win, this writer sees it as clearly as Mariani sees his window in the wedge. The Titan special teams continues to pin opponents deep in their territory, and nothing is more tiring than a sustained drive down the long field against an aggressive and constantly rotating defense. Advantage Titans.