In all honesty, this is not a loss many Titan fans should feel bad about. We knew it would be tough and we were right. The problem is the manor in which we lost. As usual, it was pretty frustrating.
On the offensive side of the ball we witnessed a lot of good things, mainly from our quarterback. From pre-game, you could tell this was Lockers team to lead and he looked extremely sharp early. Besides a few that got away from him, there were not many bad balls today. However he did have an early interception caused by a tip-drill on a deep ball to Nate Washington. Locker followed that by a fumble later in the game. He did bounce back with an amazing touchdown throw to Nate while being tackled. Locker was injured late in the 3rd while tackling a Patriot defender on a fumble recovery that was overturned soon after and replaced by Matt Hasselbeck. To his credit, Hasselbeck who didn't miss a beat as he moved us down the field and set up for a field goal. Locker finished the game 23/32 for 229 yards with a touchdown, an interception, and a fumble.
The receiving core that was already down a receiver in Kenny Britt took another blow today as Nate Washington took a brutal hit on a catch at midfield. He did get up and walk off the field but did not return to the game. The rest of our group stepped up, especially Jared Cook who, as predicted, had a relatively big game with 4 receptions for 64 yards. Kendall Wright also had a nice day with 5 receptions for 37 yards. I expect him to soon become Locker's favorite target.
As for the running game- Blah! This offensive line is a serious problem. Not only were they bad in run blocking, but also in pass protection as Jake was constantly under pressure. The Pats defensive line was consistently in the backfield before both Chris Johnson and Darius Reynaud had a chance to receive the handoff. CJ was a non factor in the run game, and it's obvious to anyone with two eyes that until we get our interior line upgraded, we need to quit wasting time trying to hand the ball off so often. Jake Locker led the team in rushing with 11 yards. Johnson did put up some numbers in the passing game with 6 receptions for 47 yards. This was a positive sign as we have gotten so used to seeing him drop those swing passes. Palmer is going to have to find ways to get CJ in space besides a simple handoff.
On the defensive side, I have one name- Michael Griffin. We've heard all kinds of excuses. He had outside problems, he was hurt, our Dline isn't good enough- well it's gotten old. Griff nearly gave up a touchdown to Brandon Loyd early with one of his trademark play-action bites. Not to be denied he did give up a touchdown to Aaron Hernandez who easily got behind Griff to snag a low throw from Brady.
The defense gave up 125 yards to Steven Ridley. Who? I said the same thing. Our ends actually looked pretty good. Kamerion Wimbley had a good outing constantly bringing pressure and getting a sack on Brady- a play in which left Brady with a bloody nose. Our coverage unit was picked apart both underneath and down the field. You would love to see Gray show some type of creativity in coverage but you also have to realize your going against Tom Brady who finished with 236 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The replacement refs suck. Need I say more?
Overall, I feel relatively good about this team. On the offensive side, when Britt comes back it will do wonders for Locker as he looks comfortable enough to lead a potent passing attack. CJ will have to switch to a Lesean McCoy role making most of his plays in the passing game. This offense will have to learn to win in spite of the offensive line who look to be the weak link of our offense. This team got beat by a superior team yesterday but definitely has the talent to take on Sand Diego next week.