On Sunday, the Tennessee Titans (2-9) fell to the Philadelphia Eagles (8-3), 43-24. It was the Titans’ fifth consecutive loss of the season, and the first time the team has ever loss to the Eagles. Losses have become the norm in Titan nation, and nothing can be more surprising, or heartbreaking to even further damage this season. Have we hit rock bottom?
Even though we suffered through another disappointing loss, we tend to search for positive outcome in the Titans’ performance. Let’s take a look at what went good for the Titans in the loss to the Eagles.
Walker still MVP
Titans tight end Delanie Walker was fresh off a concussion suffered in the loss to the Ravens two weeks ago. He missed last week’s Monday Night Football loss to the Steelers due to the injury. Walker once again stood out, and brought in the best results from the Titans against the Eagles.
Walker finished with five catches for 155 yards. His highlight moment came in the second quarter when he caught a 68-yard pass that setup a touchdown that got the Titans back in the game. Walker even showed his physical abilities when he displayed a nice stiff-arm to Emmanuel Acho on the play.
Mettenberger maybe be right in Nashville
Maybe the Titans have found the right quarterback in NFL rookie Zach Mettenberger. He set a franchise rookie record of 345 passing yards against the Eagles. Mettenberger was 20/39, threw two touchdowns, and one interception.
Mettenberger showed on Sunday that he has found trust in the receivers of Walker, Nate Washington, and Justin Hunter. Earlier in the season we saw a lack of performance by Washington and Hunter, but with Mettenberger, they’re turning in some good performances lately. Mettenberger could very well have solidified his stay as starting quarterback in Nashville. We know Locker is out. Maybe, just maybe, we don’t have to invest in a new leader from the NFL Draft. Maybe Mettenberger is our answer. I would love to see what he could do with a talented offensive line. He was sacked five times against Philadelphia.
Hunter continues to stand out
I have been really impressed with wide receiver Justin Hunter lately. He has turned in great performances against the Ravens, Steelers, and now the Eagles. The problem is Hunter has not been a heavy target this season. With his talent, there is no reason the ball shouldn’t come his way more often.
Against the Eagles, Hunter received a 40-yard touchdown pass, his third of the season. He finished the game with four receptions for 64 yards. He was targeted 10 times by Mettenberger, tied for the most he’s received this season. The other came from Mettenberger against Houston. I think it’s clear Locker did not know what talent he had from his receiver core.
Subtract the first quarter
The first quarter was embarrassing. The Titans gave up a 107 yard opening kickoff touchdown that left a lump in our throats. From there, things did not improve. The Titans went three and out on their opening drive, and then the Eagles slaughtered the defense with Chip Kelly’s fast tempo (Oregon style) offense. In just five minutes of regulation, the Eagles led 14-0.
Let’s just say the first quarter never happened. The Titans were able to rebuild their defense, and the offense started to kick things in gear by the second quarter. The Titans led the second quarter score, 17-10. If it was a three quarter football game, the final would have been 26-24 in favor of Philly. Or, maybe things would have went a little more in favor of the Titans. I know, that is a lot of “ifs.”
The secondary wasn’t that bad
The Titans were able to force two turnovers against the Eagles’ powerful offense. Free safety Daimion Stafford recorded his first interception of his NFL career. His pick on Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez came midway through the third quarter during a drive where the Eagles had great momentum. He prevented another potential scoring drive by the Eagles, as he caught the interception at the Titans twenty-six, but only to have an immediate turnover by the Titans on the very next drive.
Another first career interception came from Brandon Ghee, and it occurred at the Eagles thirty yard line. It set up the Titans’ first scoring drive of the game. Ghee was picked up by the Titans midway through the 2014 season, but he hadn’t amounted any results leading into Sunday’s game against the Eagles. That interception isn’t going to buy his way into a starting role, but with continued good performances it could lead to more trust in him.