That will pretty much do it for the 2009 Titans. I know we were all hoping for the miracle playoff run, but the seventh loss of the season pretty much ends that. The thing that is even more frustrating about today is that Chris Johnson was held under the pace he needed to catch Eric Dickerson and even to get 2,000 yards. It seems that is the only thing we are going to have to cheer for the rest of 2009.
You got an idea of what kind of day it was going to be on the Colts first play from scrimmage when Peyton Manning's pass to Austin Collie deflected off of his hands right to Pierre Garcon for a 27 yard play. Three plays later Nick Harper fell down trying to cover Garcon, he went for 36 yards, and set up the Colts first touchdown- an 8 yard run from Joseph Addai.
I think it is time that we stop getting mad at Harper. I wouldn't get mad at my 15 month old son if he let an NFL receiver run right by him, so why should I get mad at Harper. The person we should be mad at is Jeff Fisher for being so dang stubborn about letting veterans play. Fisher job isn't to be loyal. It is to put the best players on the field to help his team win. He clearly isn't doing that, and save the fanposts when the same thing happens to Britt when it is healthy. That is the reality of having Fisher as the coach. It always has been, and it always will be.
One of the few smart decisions Fisher has made this year is finally letting Britt return kicks. I guess someone finally told him that it is legal for rookies to do that kind of thing.
The second thing that happened during the game that made me really mad at Fisher was in the red zone on the Titans first possession. LenDale White, your short yardage back, gets 6 yards on first down to the three yard line. Instead of giving him the ball again Fisher decides to put Chris Johnson back in the game. No gain on second down with CJ, an incomplete throw on third down and the Titans have to settle for a pointless field goal.
A couple things here- LenDale is the perfect back to run against the Colts undersized defense. We talked a lot about that after the first game between these two teams. Why do you even have him on the roster if you aren't going to use him in this situation? I understand you don't want to take carries away from CJ, but inside the 5 the home run is 5 yards long. LenDale is the perfect guy to pick up those yards.
Secondly, if you are inside the five yard line against the Colts it should be four down territory every time unless a field goal will win the game as time expires. I understand why the field goal is kicked there, but it just seems all the more reason to let LenDale hit it up in there a couple more times and see where that gets you instead of being satisfied with the field goal in your back pocket.
The Titans defense stopped the Colts on their next possession and should have taken the lead following that but Nate Washington can't catch the football. We were all mad at the Steelers fans for saying what they said about Washington in week 1, but it turns out they were right. The Titans signed Washington for one reason, to make big catches down the field. He has proven time and time again this season that he cannot do that.The next Colts possession saw another receiver running by Nick Harper, a horse collar penalty on Vincent Fuller, and big chunks of yards all over the field before another Addai touchdown run. You started to get the feeling at this point that the game was getting away from the Titans, and you got that feeling all the more when Ahmard Hall coughed up the football on the ensuing drive.
I know that we all love the Sarge for a lot of things that he does, but he has proven in his career that giving him the ball is dangerous. He has 102 touches in his career and has lost 4 fumbles, and it always seems to come after he has picked up a bunch of yards.
The next Titans possession ended in an interception. It actually could have ended earlier had Kelvin Hayden been able to pick off an out intended for Lavelle Hawkins. Rich Gannon analyzed that play perfectly when he said it was a bad decision by Young and a bad play by Hawkins when he didn't come back to the ball.
The thing that really frustrated me after the interception was the knee injury that crept up on VY after he had bounced back in bounds to hit Jacob Lacey and sat on the bench for about 30 seconds. I know the VY people are going to kill me for saying that, but that is how it looked to me. If anyone else has another explanation I would love to hear it.
The Colts did what they do with a short field and scored a touchdown to go up 21-3.
The Titans would answer with a nice drive of their own that ended with Britt catching yet another touchdown pass. The big play on that drive was a 24 yard reception by The Hawk. This will probably seem weird since I was criticizing him a few paragraphs ago, but another thing that makes me mad at Fisher is that the only thing Lavelle has done since getting to see the field is make plays. You have to wonder why he didn't get a shot sooner.
That touchdown was encouraging because it cut the score to 21-10 with the Titans getting the ball after halftime, but of course 20 seconds is way too much time when you can't cover kickoffs, can't cover receivers and Tony Brown can't keep his head. The Colts got a field goal to take away the momentum the Titans were able to build.
The second half was even more frustrating than the first. The Titans offense was able to move the ball down the field but were unable to capitalize in the red zone until it really didn't matter. The first red zone miscue came late in the third quarter. The Titans faced first and goal from the one. First down was a fumbled snap. Second down was a hold on Eugene Amano that backed the Titans up 10 yards then a 2 yard pass to Bo Scaife. Third down was a VY scramble to the two yard line. Fourth down was a horrific play call on a fade to Britt in the back of the end zone.
The defense held again only to see a Titans drive stall in the red zone again. That drive started with a snap to VY that he wasn't ready for, no idea who was at fault, and ended with a bad throw to Hawkins.
That pretty much did it. The Colts got a field goal to push the lead to 27-10 after a 15 play drive that took 7:23 off of the fourth quarter clock. The Titans came back after that to get a touchdown that didn't matter. Then they actually recovered the onside kick, but all comeback hopes were laid to rest after four incomplete passes.
This team looked a whole lot more like the team that started the season 0-6 than the one that was 5-0 out of the bye. A lot of people were talking this week about how the Colts aren't that impressive because they have barely won a lot games, but we saw today why they are so good. They don't make mistakes that kill them, they are really good on third down and their defense bends but doesn't break. That is the type of ball that wins championships. The Titans just simply aren't there this season.
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