"The Hump". You know the one I'm talking about. The one that, if conquered, makes this team un-collapsible. I don't even really know if such a hump exists, but if it does, are the Titans over it? What do we look for? Lots of things. Are there any indicators? Indeed, for both sides even. So what's the answer? Curious minds want to know.
Read onward, there's intrigue to be had.
The Titans were supposed to be bad at football this year. No matter what. This was not only a popular consensus, but a prerequisite. They were a gimme on the schedules of conference powerhouses (Baltimore) and "upcoming" teams (Browns) alike. Week one didn't do much to comfort the minds of those of us who had forsaken the season and were just looking for improvement from week to week. Week one was a joke of a sham of a mockery of a football game, and hopefully it was the last one we see all season. Even then though, we saw a team with at least a small amount of fight in it. Something else that helped quiet the masses was the fact that, at least in DVOA terms, the Titans outplayed the Jaguars. At least we were handed this small victory on a day that ended in total disaster. Week two was supposed to be even worse. Long story short: Tennessee dominated a team that was apparently still celebrating a win over its overrated division rival one week earlier. A week later, they laid an egg against a bad Broncos team but still managed to pull out a victory. Two days ago, they played like the team we saw lay a smack down on Baltimore.
So which team do we trust? The egg-laying squad that lost to Jacksonville and barely got by Denver, or the dominant force that knocked the Browns and Ravens down several pegs? I for one am not sure. Probably because I can't handle the truth either way. I hate to admit that my favorite 3-1 team is actually poised for collapse, but I also hate to have what some would call the "audacity of hope." You see, I've seen this movie before. It sucks. The ending is depressing and the good guys never win. You think they're finally out of the bad parts and them wham, they run headlong into a brick wall and the nightmare starts all over again. You can't escape it. The season is long and drawn out and you just want it to be over so that the embarrassment can finally be over.
Not gonna lie though, this year might just be the one. How soon I am to forget that right now, the Titans might just have the best and most opportunistic defense in the NFL.How quickly I am to discount the fact that Matt Hasselbeck has been the best QB in the business this year. Sustainability be damned, that guy can freakin' play. There's a flip side to this of course, even though Hasselbeck is spreading the ball around like mad, Kenny Britt's loss is going to start hurting. At some point, Nate Washington will be either out-jumped or out-muscled and we'll all collectively sigh to ourselves, "Kenny woulda had it." I'm not over my fear that Chris Johnson (or the run blocking, whatever) is broken and there isn't a quick fix. I'm aware that for the Titans to continue to win games, they must rely on an old, albeit rejuvenated, kind of injury prone quarterback to continue to be the best in the league. I guess it does help that Hasselbeck has barely been touched the last two weeks, but all it takes is one misplaced helmet to ruin the hopes and dreams of even the best teams.
But for now, we look forward to running train on a depleted Pittsburgh team. For now, they're still the defending AFC champions, there's no doubt in my mind that they won't just roll over because we've been on a mini hot streak lately. If Tennessee from weeks two and four shows up, the Steelers don't have a chance. The two wins over Cleveland and Baltimore made the Titans look like a playoff team. If the Denver or god forbid, Jacksonville game Titans show up...pray, we're in for a long game. Consistency is the name of the game, more on that later this week, so it's up to the coaches and players to make sure they carry some of this good momentum over from Cleveland into Pittsburgh.