There was a lot of hope entering the Titans-49ers matchup as Jake Locker returned to the lineup in order to try and will his team to a victory snapping a two game losing streak. Obviously that didn't happen and the Titans are now sub .500.
Locker played as well as could be expected. He looked decisive and in command of the offense. He did have a couple of errant throws, but nothing as egregious as the fans were subjected to the weeks he was out.
But even the willful return of Jake Locker couldn't help this Titans team. Penalties, drops and missed blocks seem to be the Titans new calling card. Not quite the identity they were trying to form in the off season.
There was a lot of hope and build up going into this game. The combination of Locker's return and the knowledge of where a win could put the Titans in the standings had fans hopes at an all time high. Yet the abysmal play of Darius Reynaud (again), the continuing penalties at the most inopportune times, combined with the previously stout defense's inability to defend the zone read option, all contributed to the most lopsided defeat the Titans have suffered this season.
"It's okay", I told myself. "This will make it all better. If the Broncos could just take down the Colts," as everyone assumed they would. "The Titans would only be a game back in the division. Destiny still fully in their own hands."
I went to bed at halftime, directly after Luck engineered the two minute drive that Peyton could not, and the Colts were winning. I just hoped that maybe if I quit watching it would all get better.
The following morning I awoke to the gushing of Andrew Luck and how amazing the Colts are. Not what I wanted.
After bumming through my day, worries escalated about the bye week and the Titans poor success afterwards (post to follow). Then the real bad news hit.
I can't fail to mention the death of the franchise founder, Bud Adam's. A darker cloud for the franchise and his family than any of the game day activities or outcomes. Much better and more in depth things have been written about the man and how invaluable he was both to the NFL and to the city of Nashville as well, so I will urge you to read those.
So where do we go from here?
Fans couldn't be fans without being resilient. That same resiliency and fortitude is something the Titans flashed early in the season and need to regain in their time off the field. It's near the middle of the season and the staff is still making changes, still trying to improve, something that gives me hope.
Maybe a week off is what I need as a fan as well, because this has really been a bummer lately.