Jared Cook's monster game set the single game franchise record for a TE, and if he can even get close to repeating that kind of performance on Sunday he'll break Frank Wycheck's single season record for receiving yards for a TE. It typifies the difference between those two guys that it took Wycheck 70 catches to set that mark, while Cook is a mere 73 yards shy on only 45 catches. Of course, Wycheck was a first down machine and excellent blocker. Still, Cook's breakout game should absolutely cement him as the starting TE next season, and hopefully give him the confidence to be a more consistent pass catcher from here on out.
Nate Washington has catapulted into many a Titans fan's heart by toughing it through his ankle injury, but on Saturday Chris Johnson did much of the same. PFT is reporting that CJ took a painkilling injection prior to the game. While he struggled to be successful, CJ made the big run we needed to seal the game and was smart enough to get down in bounds, rather than repeat Marion Barber's mistake from a few weeks back. It was a gritty performance from a buy who has had his toughness and dedication questioned all season long.
Of course the more cynical among us will find a different explanation for CJ's instance on playing through the sprained ankle: part of his new huge contract is a $300,000 penalty for not reaching 1,000 yards this season. After gaining 56 yards last week, he's only 14 yards short of that mark headed into the regular season finale.
After two weeks of me railing against the wisdom of starting Matt Hasselbeck, Hass went out there and did the one thing I was convinced he wasn't physically capable of: throwing down the field with accuracy and zip. Of course his completion percentage and INT total suffered as a result, but he also logged his first Top 10 appearance in FO's Quick Reads in over two months.
We won't have to worry about the Titans getting distracted by scoreboard updates on Sunday: all of the games relevant to our playoff chances start at 3:15 CST, meaning the Titans game will be ending or done when they kick-off.
Like Alualu, Derrick Morgan (+2.8) is another first round pick who has failed to emerge as his team would have hoped in his second season. However, unlike Alualu, Morgan had a big impact on Saturday, recording a team-high six stops in his first game with a rating higher than +0.5 since the first half of the season. Morgan's rookie year ended prematurely after a promising start, but this year has been uneven. However, he does grade positively against the run (+4.7) and just needs to improve his pass rushing skills. He did have one pressure and one hit (his first since week nine), so maybe that's a positive sign.
Back in 2006 a rookie Vince Young led the Titans to the door step of a playoff birth in which we needed a pretty absurd set of circumstances to workout in our favor. At the end of that Sunday every single game we'd needed to go our way did, except for the game we actually played. Munchak is making sure his guys know how much that sucked, and how well they'll have to play to prevent that from happening again.
Wade Phillips' absence has directly correlated to two losses for the Texans, but now the league's most underrated DC will be back for this weekend's game against the Titans... of course he will.
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