Going up against the vaunted Falcons offense with the entire starting linebacker group on the sidelines could have been a disaster. I was expecting a disaster, yet a disaster I did not receive.
The Silver Lining is supposed to find the good peeking through in a bad situation. With so many things that went right in the game against the Falcons, it's hard to find the bad in order to find the good in the bad. Follow me?
The worst part of the game for the Titans both offensively and defensively were the fist two drives each way. But they each had their silver lining.
The defense let the Falcons drive the ball the length of the field on the opening drive at will. The Falcons' offense was in sync as they never even saw a third down until on the Titans 6 yard line. The bend but don't break defense was in full effect as they made a fabulous red zone stand inside the 10, and ending with a combo sack split by Karl Klug and Moise Fokou. Though they had less distance to drive, the Falcons second series was much like the first. Starting near midfield, they drove inside the 20 with ease, only to be held to their second field goal of the game. The defense made stands when they had to and kept points off the board, allowing the offense to work their playbook and not become one dimensional too early in the game.
The first two drives by the offense were also less than desirable to say the least, but there were a couple gleaming nuggets to be had.
The first play for the offense was a well executed play action bootleg ending with Locker delivering a strike to receiver Nate Washington on the right sideline for a 12 yard gain. Unfortunately this good start ended 3 plays later with a fumble by Jake Locker trying to scramble for a first down.
The second drive produced similar results. After starting with poor field position at their own 8 yard line, the Titans ended up punting 7 plays later after only moving the 19 yards. The silver lining in this? The offense and Jake Locker's resiliency.
The first team's third drive went 64 yards for a touchdown in only five plays. Instead of remaining mired in their inability to move the ball, Dowell Loggains opened up the playbook and Locker hit Britt on back to back down field passes for 18 and 16 yards respectively. Two runs by Chris Johnson later, and Locker found Nate Washington in the back of the end zone for the go ahead score. The offense followed this up with a 10 play, 64 yard drive that ate 5:23 off the clock and put 3 more points on the board.
Though it's just the preseason, the Titans were able to wrestle the momentum away from a superior opponent and work their system. While the game didn't start well for either side of the ball, they kept their heads up and continued to play with intensity. I feel the Titans of 2012 would have been down 14-0 before anyone knew it. This is obviously a different team.