Nov 10, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) recovers an onside kick against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at LP Field. The Jaguars beat the Titans 29-27. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
So I’ve given it a couple hours to sink in. The Tennessee Titans lose to a team who literally may have the worst 53-man roster in NFL history. Before that game, the Titans were a 4-4 team who, had they beaten this 0-8 team, would’ve taken the sixth seed in the AFC wild-card standings. About as easy of an opportunity that a team can ask for.
What is there to say following a 29-27 home loss to a winless Jacksonville Jaguars team? It’s nothing that the Titans haven’t seen before. For the last three seasons, the Titans have lost games to a Luke McCown-led Jaguars team (2011), a 0-13 Colts team that essentially eliminated them from playoff contention (2011), a 1-9 Jaguars team (2012) and a 0-8 Jaguars team (2013).
This Jaguars team hadn’t played anyone within single digits. They entered this contest on a 13-game losing streak. That didn’t keep them from winning their second game in 22 attempts, both of which came against Tennessee.
Here are some observations about that game.
- How many times does this team have to go through these bad losses before they show energy against these types of opponents? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice or more? Find some players/coaches who care.
- Reportedly, Jake Locker left the game with a foot injury. Does he have a body part that isn’t susceptible to injury? For all of his redeeming qualities (e.g. mobility, character), a lot of questions remain on whether he can take that next step toward becoming a middle-of-the-road NFL quarterback, let alone elite. These questions include accuracy, health, putting his receivers in dangerous situations, and swallowing enough of his pride so he’ll SLIDE instead of charging shoulder-first into defenders for that extra yard.
- That option play was dumb. Everyone knows Locker doesn’t like to slide. While it’s an admirable quality, a leader must realize that one of his duties is that he must protect himself, both in the short term and the long term.
- Was the Jets game an anomaly? Although Locker looked great with his three touchdown passes, let’s not forget that Andy Dalton looked even better with five touchdown passes.
- What was with the play-calling? 3rd-and-3 = two-yard pass route. 3rd-and-2 = one-yard pass route. Dowell Loggains seemed to open up the playbook when Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the game. Is Locker’s knee/hip injuries keeping him from running a more aggressive offense?
- Chris Johnson: 12 carries for 30 yards vs NFL’s worst run defense. So many problems with the offense.
- Marcus Pollard—I mean, Bernard Pollard—had another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he had a very late hit on Chad Henne, who was already lying on the ground for about a full second. I love the attitude and passion that he has brought to this defense, however, is this just a situation where you have to take the good with the bad? Some of his penalties are downright ignorant.
- No wonder Fitzpatrick drove Buffalo Bills fans insane. Fitzpatrick plays great until it becomes a one-possession game in the fourth quarter. Then he morphs into a turnover machine. Every single time—same story.
- About that 4th-and-inches decision at the end of the 3rd quarter: right call. There’s no guarantee that this offensive line would’ve manned up. The defense was playing well enough to pin them back. With that said, I would’ve liked to see them line up for it. Try to draw them offsides before time expired (there was 24 seconds).
- Brett Kern shanked a punt. Damian Williams made some bad decisions on not taking a knee during kickoffs. Kickoff coverage was horrendous. It sound strange but firing Alan Lowry may lead to Mike Munchak‘s downfall.
- This wasn’t some supernatural out-of-the-world performance from Jacksonville. Chad Henne threw two interceptions deep in his team’s own territory. The Titans scored three out of a possible 14 points. They weren’t even trying to run the clock out. Henne kept throwing incomplete passes. The Jaguars dropped multiple interceptions. Had the Jaguars played well, this could’ve been a Jaguars blowout victory…at LP Field.
- Three consecutive seasons where this team is a whipping boy to a 0-16, 1-15-caliber opponent. It’s time to put sentiments aside (probably was time a long while back) and admit that Munchak’s Hall of Fame playing credentials aren’t flowing over to his coaching career. If the players don’t like that? Then play better.
- As for the good? Jaguars had 214 total yards. Had the Titans not just given up 16 points on turnovers and that safety, the defense’s performance would’ve looked better. Still too many missed tackles and dumb penalties though.
Two things have become constants in the Munchak era: the Titans aren’t beating above-.500 teams and they’ll always lose at least one game to the NFL’s worst team. Munchak’s teams are great against sub-.500 opponents like the St. Louis Rams. An exception was the New York Jets (5-4, 2-1 when Titans played them). There’s a good chance they don’t finish above-.500.
Locker’s foot injury could end his season. Per Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean:
More on that later. I’ll just say this: if there’s a new regime, then a new quarterback may await this franchise.
Normally, I would tell you that this was a divisional rival and that divisional rivalries are unpredictable. Fact is, while this team may still win Thursday Night Football’s matchup vs the Colts, the Titans are nowhere near consistent enough to put together a run that catapults them into January football. Not unless an 8-8 record wins the AFC South or that second wild-card berth. Looking at the AFC wild-card contenders, maybe it will…
Alright readers. What do you have to say about this game? Barring a seven-game run that leads to a postseason appearance, is it time to make some coaching changes? What about player personnel? Give us any and all of your takes in the comments, Twitter or Facebook.