The Tennessee Titans fell at home to the Cleveland Browns 29-28. The game was a tale of two halves. At one point the Titans led 28-3 in the second quarter, but went on to allow 26 unanswered points in the loss. The loss dropped to the Titans to a dismal 1-4 and left players, coaches, and fans shaking their heads.
The game was a perfect microcosm of the Titans for the past few years.
They flashed their young talent:
–Jake Locker started hot, running for a touchdown and throwing for another. Then was injured when his throwing hand banged onto a Browns players helmet. Locker did not return. Earlier in the game, on his rushing touchdown, Locker was hit late in the end zone and appeared to take a blow to the head, but returned before eventually suffering the hand injury in the second quarter. Locker continually shows playmaking ability, toughness, inconsistent accuracy, and a tendency to get injured. His inability to stay on the field isn’t allowing this team to and offense to properly progress and it is time to start looking for a new QB of the future.
-The young receivers showed up. Kendall Wright scored two touchdowns and Justin Hunter scored his first touchdown on a bomb from second string QB Charlie Whitehurst. But little was heard from them or anyone on the offense in the second half.
-The running game wasn’t as efficient as it had been so far this season. Shonn Greene and Bishop Sankey have become the two lead backs, Dexter McCluster seems to have become an afterthought. The usage of Leon Washington on third down is mind boggling. They have made financial investments in both Greene and McCluster and used a 2nd round draft pick on Sankey, simply does not make sense why he is being used.
-Andy Levitre needs to step it up. He was penalized twice last week, once for a false start, and once for a cheap shot which was done in retaliation for the cheap shot on Locker. Having you QB is a good thing and part of me liked the penalty, but the penalty killed a drive. He was paid like a top lineman in the league and he has been nothing but a disappointment since his arrival to Nashville.
Good defense, bad defense:
-The Titans defense made plays to win the game. They made two big 4th down stops and had an interception by Michael Griffin in the second half which could have sealed the win if the Titans offense was able to eat up some clock. They continue to get no consistent pressure on the QB and it an issue.
-The Titans continue play undisciplined football and continue to rack up the penalties. They had 7 for 68 yards and when they were flagged they were game killers. CB Jason McCourty intercepted a Brian Hoyer pass and returned the ball to the 1 yard line, but it was overturned because of a penalty away from the ball by DB Brandon Harris. A fumble that was recovered by rookie Marqueston Huff on a muffed punt was overturned because earlier in the play he had ran out of bounce and didn’t make a effort to enter back onto the field of play.
-The hiring of Ken Whisenhunt and his staff was supposed to bring solitude to the Tennessee Titans, but outside of week 1, the Titans season has been a complete mess. Obviously it is too early to make a decision on the staff, but they are off to a shaky start, to say the least. Yes, they don’t have “their” guys, yes, there has been QB instability, but where is the discipline? The offense looked as if it was shut down from within during the second half of yesterdays game. Why not run the ball with authority and run the clock out in the second half? Or why not at least stay aggressive? Simply put, the staff looked as if it was trying not to lose on the offensive side of the ball. I have no issue with the decision to go for it on 4th down late in the 4th quarter, but why run Charlie Whitehurst up the middle instead of using one of the backs and an offensive line that one of the better groups in the league?
If the game is won, obviously this questions don’t garnish the same amount of attention, but right now the Titans are not winning and they are making an embarrassing amount of self inflicted mistakes.