Titans vs Colts: An Early Look at Game 3
By Les Bailey
After playing two home openers on the road to start the 2015 NFL season, the Tennessee Titans will host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon at Nissan Stadium.
The Titans come home for the 1PM kickoff(noon Central) with a 1-1 record after a week one 42-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and losing last week 28-14 to the Cleveland Browns.
More at Titan Sized: Would Zach Mettenberger be a fit for the Dallas Cowboys?
If it sounds like deja vu all over again(a Yogi-ism to honor Yogi Berra who past away on Tuesday) the Colts come into Music City with an 0-2 record wanting to turn their season around by feasting on what has usually been an inferior AFC South.
It wasn’t bad enough that Andrew Luck and the Colts lost their season opener in Buffalo, they were beaten 20-7 at home on Monday Night Football by Ryan Fitzpatrick and the New York Jets in a game where Luck turned the ball over four times.
The four-year starter was 21 for 37 through the air for 250 yards with one touchdown but was intercepted three times and fumbled once.
Newly acquired running back, Frank Gore had 15 carries for 57 yards but fumbled the ball on the 2-inch line when he was going in for a touchdown. The Colts never scored again.
The Indianapolis Colts still are a deadly foe the Titans need to beat if they want to be taken seriously around the NFL this year, but look to be having real problems on the offensive line.
The line has not been able to protect Luck, and have not been able to open any holes for Gore to run through.
Head coach, Chuck Pagano basically threw Luck under the bus in his Tuesday morning presser, saying the young quarterback needed to do more to take care of the football when he is under pressure.
If that sounds familiar, Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota had much the same problem at the Dawg Pound on Sunday afternoon.
Mariota fumbled the ball three times in Cleveland which was largely due to sloppy ball handling while under pressure. Mariota took blame for the situation this week and said that carrying the ball in one hand when running for his life was a bad habit he picked up at Oregon.
Although Mariota took most of the blame for the Sunday afternoon loss in game two, Taylor Lewan admitted the offensive line needed to do more to protect their young quarterback, and keep him out of those situations.
Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt admitted that the Titans were too slow getting to the line on offense and they would be correcting that problem before Sunday’s game at home. Basically, they were so late getting the play called in the huddle and not leaving time for the O-line to call the protections before the snap.
Cornerback Jason McCourty practiced in Wednesday’s practice, but is still not confirmed for a start on Sunday.
After what we saw in the defensive backfield last week in trying to cover Browns wide receiver, Travis Benjamin, the Titans could use his help this week in trying to shut down the Colts best receiver, T.Y. Hilton.
Titans linebacker, Brian Orakpo is calling for fans to come out this Sunday and support this new team with purpose:
"“A message to the fans: Ya’ll come loud and ready,’’ Orakpo said. “This is a brand new team with a lot of enthusiasm, hungry guys eager to win. Come ready and loud and give us a true home field advantage.”"
The Titans have lost seven straight games to the Colts and 12 of the last 13.
"“We have a tough task at hand,’’ Orakpo said. “This is a great measuring stick on how this season can go.”"
In my opinion, the week three matchup with the Indianapolis Colts is a statement game for the Tennessee Titans.
They have gotten through the first two games with a win in Tampa and a loss in Cleveland where they were stymied in the first quarter, but made a significant comeback.
They didn’t quit and had they not let Benjamin run a punt back at the end of the half, and gave up a bomb from Johnny Manziel to Benjamin in the fourth quarter, they still had a chance to win.
This game will be the first for this young team against a contender. The Colts were favored to make a Super Bowl run again this year, and most analysts have already penciled them in for a win in Nashville this week.
This would be a good time to show the world the Tennessee Titans are for real this year and put a second win on the board for the 2015 season.
Next: Marcus Mariota: New Week new comparison