September 30, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Ben Tate (44) rushes during the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
The Tennessee Titans suffered their 3rd blowout loss of the season Sunday in Houston. The stat line shows 38-14, but it honestly felt worse. Jake Locker was knocked out of the game early by JJ Watt and Glover Quinn, backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck seemed to favor the Texans secondary more than his own receivers, throwing two pick sixes that closed the door on the Titans chances of winning the division. They are now 3 games back of the undefeated Texans. The offense didn’t have many bright spots, so let’s move on to the good stuff because, honestly, I was quite impressed with the defense.
The Good: If you take away the two ducks by Hasselbeck, the Texans only managed 24 points. Andre Johnson, despite starting out fast, only had 3 catches for 56 yards. He was targeted 6 times throughout the game. That might be the worst performance he has had against Tennessee in several years. The Texans are a powerful offense that relies on the run to set up the play action.
Well, the Titans did all but shut down their mighty ground game. Arian Foster was held to 86 yards on 24 carries and Ben Tate was virtually non-existent with only 11 yards. Jurrell Casey continues to be amazing at the point of attack and Derrick Morgan is a stud in run defense as well. They seem to be gelling quite well together. They combined for 3 tackles for a loss and 11 total tackles.
Akeem Ayers continues to develop into an every down linebacker, he had 8 total tackles and a pass defensed. McCourty and Verner held up their ends despite the complete lack of a pass rush.
The Bad: Its becoming more and more disappointing that Kamerion Wimbley can’t do a damn thing against an above average left tackle. He only uses an outside edge rush and against a good tackle and scheme it is basically non-existent. The Tennessee Titans NEED another edge rusher. Matt Schaub was only hit three times and one of those was by Michael Griffin.
This defensive line is wonderful against the run, but the pass rush will take them to the elite level. I may sound like a broken record, but tight ends continue to dominate the Titans. Owen Daniels and James Casey combined for 11 receptions, 108 yards and 2 touchdowns. This is due to scheme and personnel, most notably the linebackers and safeties.
Some kind of adjustment has got to be made. Aside from the pass rush, Tennessee’s lack of turnovers in this game was a true indicator that they lack play makers on defense to force the opposing offense to make a mistake. They can’t just wait for a mistake, the Titans have to FORCE it.
Tommie Campbell continues to play solely on special teams. This may be due to his complete lack of game knowledge or just his tendency of hearing his named called due to penalties all day…who knows at this point. Alteraun Verner and Jason McCourty had little help from Ryan Mouton who only played 15 snaps.
Will Witherspoon continues to lose playing time each week as Akeem Ayers and Zach Brown evolve. I like what I see from those two. Colin McCarthy will begin limited practice this week. My bet is that he sits this weekend again.
My Grade: C+
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