The Titans got off to a rousing start this season and finished their first 4 games at 3-1. Far better than most would have imagined at the beginning of the year.
While fans expectations have risen during the first quarter of the season, the last two games have been a reality check as the team prepares to host last years Superbowl runner -ups, the San Francisco 49ers.
The 3 games lost were all games that the Titans could have won. The Titans were in the mix at the end of each of the games, and were a few key plays from being able to win. In each of their 3 losses, they even had the lead at some point in the second half.
I submit that the three games they won, they could have just as easily lost (except maybe the Jets game). The Chargers game was one that could have easily be looked at as "given away" by the other team, much like Titans' fans collectively feel their team gave away the Texans game, Chiefs game, and now the Seattle game as well.
This weekend, the Titans did play a top 5 team in the league away on the west coast and kept the game in question the entire time. There was a lot of luck involved as well with special team's gaffes by the opposition, resulting in 7 of the Titans' 13 points. Two of the Seahawks' punts were literally inches from being downed on the 1-inch line, and the Titans' lone touchdown could have been called either way.
Was it luck or fortitude that kept the Seahawks game in balance? While it's true that a couple plays here or there could have had the Titans winning the game, it's also true that another couple of plays could have led to a blow out.
The Titans have balanced out right now, and have done so without their young leader Jake Locker. The offense has stalled on all fronts while the defense has kept them in games as long as they could.
The disappointing thing at play here is the sudden reversal of momentum that coincided with the injury to Jake Locker. The franchise had hitched its wagon to the young player for better or worse coming into the season, and fans were beginning to see what the coaches have seen all along.
This is no reason to be down on the team at all, but rather to have hope. And lots of it.
Fans are upset because they began to see glimpses of the playoffs, and just as quickly began to see them slip away. It needs to be kept in perspective how well this team is playing as a whole, and not just their record, but how they achieved it.
Head coach Mike Munchak is correct when he said the team is average right now. Average is a big step up from last year, however.
The defense is playing at an unworldly level and regardless of how it's happened, the Titans have had a chance or the lead in each and every game they've played.
They'll be looking for a way to get the offense moving this week against the league's better defenses (again). Hopefully another week of practice will help Ryan Fitzpatrick's accuracy and the potential return of Shonn Greene will help the stalling run game.
Either way, fans are holding out hope that the team doesn't become less than average.