I feel like this went pretty well last week, so I am going to run it again.
The Titans won a game that they absolutely had to have. I have said it a million times since yesterday (not literally because that would be a record), but it is so true- it is nothing short of amazing that we are talking about the playoffs, as slim as the chances may be, after the 0-6 start.
Rob Bironas. A 46-yard game winner is by no means a gimme, unless your kicker is Bironas. There was never any doubt in my mind that he was going to make that kick, and I literally laughed out loud when the Dolphins took the timeout to try and ice him.
Kick and punt coverage. Our coverage teams have been pretty bad this year, but they were nothing short of spectacular yesterday. They held Ted Ginn to 17.3 yards per kickoff return with a long of 23. That is well below his season average of 26.5. Kicking to Ginn was the one thing that really scared me about the Dolphins, and the Titans bottled him up all day long.
Jeff Fisher's game management. I know valued member of the site gotitans27 is mad at me for piling on Fisher like everyone else, but I just have to call it like I see it, and he was terrible yesterday. The decision to start Nick Harper and keep Rod Hood inactive is an ongoing bad coaching theme (more on that in the ugly), but there was a lot of other in game stuff yesterday that was really, really bad yesterday.
Ask gramsey how he feels about not taking a shot to at least get a field goal at the end of the first half. I know it is silly to expect Fisher to do something like that because he never does, but the Titans had all of the momentum at that point and could have really put a dagger in the Dolphins with points there. Never mind the fact that the Titans got the ball at the 32 yard line with 25 seconds left and 2 timeouts, so they needed about 30 yards to have a legitimate shot at a field goal. Oh, and your quarterback's strength is throwing routes 10+ yards down the field. Yep, no reason to try and get more points. What good do points do anyway?
Then there is the preseason style offense and defense the Titans played after going up 24-6. Posse said all of the things I would like to say but can't for a variety of reasons here. In summary, Fisherball is good with a bad offense and a running back, ala Eddie George, that is suited to bang against stacked boxes. This is not the team to do that with.
Furthermore, the decision to punt in the 4th quarter on 4th and 1 from the Dolphins 42 in the 4th quarter was nothing short of horrendous. Brett Kern was cut by the Broncos because he kicks the ball low and BECAUSE HE CAN'T DOWN THE BALL INSIDE THE 20 TO SAVE HIS LIFE. Good thing we didn't take that "high risk chance" on 4th and 1 to save 20 yards in field position.
Lastly, there is no reason not to call timeout with the Dolphins backed up at the end of regulation. Fisher reasoning in the postgame presser makes a lot of sense though:
We had our chance to win regulation on the series before. We went three-and-out. My gut feeling…a lot of times I make decisions like that, I gut feel. What I didn’t want to do was call timeout, send a signal to them and force them to take a shot and make a big play down the field because then they had three timeouts. We had our chance to win the game in regulation. We didn’t get it so, you know, I was playing for a tie.
That is all well and good, except for the fact that they only had one timeout. Fisher gets praised all of the time for his in-game coaching and how well he knows every situation. It might behoove him to take a look at one of the humongous boards at either end of the stadium that let you know how many timeouts both teams have. Just a thought.
Nick Harper. What else can be said about his play that hasn't already been said? I don't know how many of Chad Henne's 349 yards were on Harper, but I feel confident saying it was 85%. I have never actually coached a football game, but I can see that every opposing quarterback knows he can make a completion on Harper pretty much every time. I guess I am missing something somewhere though.
As someone said in the links, can you imagine what this would be like had the Titans not won..