Titans can hang with the league’s elite
Despite a 10-point loss to the Saints in a relatively meaningless game in terms of playoff implications, the Titans let it be known that they’re more than capable of playing with the top-tier teams in the league.
Earlier in the year, Tennessee defeated a Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs team, last week the team lost a slug fest with the Texans by three points, and on Sunday the Titans went blow-for-blow with the No. 2 in the NFC from New Orleans.
In a game in which the Titans took a conservative approach with their players by resting anyone who was slightly hobbled, their on-field product was anything but conservative, as the team came out swinging from the start and took a 14-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game, and dropped 28 points on the day — a point total that is very much normal as of late.
With Henry being allowed the rare opportunity to rest his lingering hamstring injury for the team’s potential playoff run, QB Ryan Tannehill displayed the ability to put the team on his back as he consistently punched back anytime the Saints attempted to throw any hay-makers. The Titans QB finished the day by completing 17-of-27 passes for 272 yards and three touchdowns.
Tennessee was in position to win this game in the end and arguably could have and should have won if not for some ridiculous officiating.
Jerome Boger and his crew have a history of calling nonsense whenever they are assigned to call Titans games and this one was no different. The Refs made horrendous calls for both sides all game, as well as missed some calls that ultimately cost the Titans points and/or provided the Saints with undeserving points.
However, one call seemed to be the most egregious of them all while simultaneously displaying the league’s hypocrisy on player safety. Late in the fourth quarter, The Titans were driving their way into field goal range for a potential game-tying field goal or possibly even a touchdown after Tannehill connected with Kalif Raymond on the Saints’ 40-yard line.
As Raymond began to complete the process of the catch, Saints defenders negligently attacked the head area of the Titans receiver —leaving him unconscious before he even hit the ground — causing a subsequent fumble and return by the Saints, which led to the offense putting the metaphorical dagger in the team’s hopes of winning.
There is no excuse for a league that constantly preaches player safety to miss an obvious game-changing and potentially career-altering play like that. Dangerous situations like this will continue to arise if there is no consequences for a player’s actions aside from a fine that hardly makes a dent in these athletes’ pocket books.
The referees have to simply be better in all aspects for both the players and teams’ sake.
Adding to that, a missed holding call on Kamalei Correa helped setup the Saints’ first touchdown of the game.
In reality, this Titans team is a few bad calls away from potentially pulling off a statement win against one of the league’s best without arguably their best player.
The Titans have proved ever since they have made the change to Tannehill that they’re capable of beating anyone when they’re on their game, and this close loss further solidified that belief.
Next Sunday the Titans will be playing for the right to go to the playoffs for the second time in three years. If Tennessee gets in, they will undoubtedly be a tough out for any team in the tournament, as there are legitimate reasons to believe that this team can not only go to the playoffs, but is capable of making serious noise while there, also.