For years under Jeff Fisher, Titans fans mumbled and grumbled about 3 yards and a cloud of dust. Field goal wins. Too conservative. Need to open it up and throw more. Boring.
Well, welcome back.
The Titans coaching staff and front office spent the off season pumping $100M into a Delorian research project called "free agency" and finding a way to go back to the way things used to be. They overhauled the offensive line by bringing in the premier guard on the market in Andy Levitre, numerous interior players, as well as using a first and fourth round draft pick on Chance Warmack and Brian Schwenke respectively.
They proceeded to lose the high flying deep threat tight end Jared Cook and replace him with the utility tight end Delanie Walker. They brought in as much size as possible on the defensive line, and ended up with Shonne Greene and Jackie Battle as complimentary backs to the speedster Chris Johnson.
In an era where offenses are spreading things out and running as many plays as possible, the Titans are heading against the grain and taking their football games back in time.
"We are not the Titans of old," defensive end Derrick Morgan said confidently. "We know we don't have much of an identity to the rest of the league, and to the outside looking in. But we know who we are, and we have to keep building that identity. It started here today."
Derrick Morgan was only 10 years old during the Titans early years as a franchise, so I can't fault him for what he's saying. He's absolutely correct if referring to the Titans of the past handful of years. What he doesn't realise is that many of us fans felt as though taken through a wormhole while watching Sunday's game.
The Titans finished the day with a 3.6 yard per play average and managed to control the ball and the clock with an astonishing 34:01 vs. 25:59 time of possession. 42 of their 63 plays were rushing attempts and attempted only 20 passes throughout the game. This is who the Titans are now, or at least who they can be when necessary. Time will tell how much they open up the offense as the season moves forward.
This new team opened the season exactly the way they needed to. With a tough and gritty approach against a tough and gritty team. They didn't try and and dance around or out scheme the Steelers' defense. They didn't get cute with the play calling, but instead went toe to toe in a knock down drag out slug fest that rivaled the days of the AFC Central.
This is a team with attitude. A team that wants it more. A team I can be proud of.
It may not be ideal. It may not be pretty. But it's a win. Just like the Titans of old.