So let's take a closer look at the aftermath of yet another divisional loss.
Up front the Titans generated a ton of pressure out of the gate, sacking Luck 4 times in the first half and negating any semblance of the Colt's rushing attack. The approach worked, but unfortunately the offense was unable to capitalize. Again the Titans found themselves on the wrong end of the turnover differential that won them games early in the year. There is little trace of that team left at the moment.
Casey was a wrecking crew almost by himself, notching another sack and disrupting the pocket multiple times. He is a trancendant player at this point, and dominated the game from the get go for all but a single drive. The guys around him played well too until late in the 4th, manufacturing plenty of push to throw the Colts off course, but yet again it was the weakness of the linebackers that showed. Brown and Fokou were run out of plays and consistently over-pursued, allowing Donald Brown to perform his latest AP impression against the Titans. A game-altering penalty on Fokou has to be mentioned as well. It was senseless, and let the Colts right back into the game with a gimme field goal to end the half. Ayers was called on more than once for false starts as well. It's clear to me that our linebackers have little clue what they are doing at times, and that falls squarely on the coaches.
The corners played pretty solid football as usual, but failed to capitalize on several opportunities. Pollard's early interception essentially meant nothing either as the offense stumbled right away. Those chances need to be turned into points if you want to win in this league, and it's a simple as that. Wilson had the easiest INT of the year bounce off his hands...while he was standing still. That play alone encapsulates everything about the Tennessee Titans at this juncture; missed opportunities, especially late in games.
We'll start with the ugly I suppose. The Fitz we all dreaded returned with a vengeance today, deep-sixing any chances the Titans may have had to put a much needed "W" on the board. Reverting to prior vices, the Beard made some awful decisions to lead to 3 INTs...it had to happen eventually right? The universe was not as it should be with Fitzpatrick NOT throwing INTs to lose games, so cosmic karma for us there. It's a shame too, because he made some nice throws outside of those stinkers. His plays to Wright and CJ were what kept the offense rolling, but it was very clear the loss of Walker put him on the back foot almost right out of the gate. Thompson was woeful filling those shoes, failing to come up with a single meaningful completion despite multiple targets.
The running game was working, which was odd, and it was only becoming more effective as the game wore on; a total reverse of most games this year, especially the last meeting with the Colts. Despite this, they failed to make it count. CJ in particular had more than one err in the open field, including one particular play where he was tackled by a defender who wan't even on his feet. Those kinds of plays need to go for six. That said, he was effective when given the ball in space, either on the ground or through the air.
Kendall Wright may just be my favorite player in the league. His route running, shiftiness, and ability to make plays after the catch, especially in the clutch, make him a terrific weapon. Loggains has showed a much better understanding of how to use Wright later in the season, with him taking advantage of mismatches and working the underneath zones, maybe better than anyone in the league right now. Hunter was quiet, but Washington flashed some savvy in his place. Fitz may have had a 50+ yard TD to Nate early on if he had made a better throw, but a fantastic catch nonetheless.
Welcome to the Titans Leon Washington. I am already a lot happier with him back there returning (or not returning) kicks and punts. That said, I really hope they bring him back next year if they don't have Mariani back in the fold. This team can't afford to mill around with their returners for three-quarters of the season like they have this year. The coverage units played solid football, and I think I could watch the McCarthy hit on Chris Rainey all day long. Frankly, the team needed more plays like that down the stretch.
Well, all the post-season calculations look pretty silly now. Like we said weeks ago, this team needs an overhaul at this point. With the talent on this roster, with or without Jake Locker, they should be able to come out of games with wins at a much higher rate than they are, especially against a Colts team that has been drubbed badly on more than one occasion of late. I am not "giving up" on this team, nor am I any less of a fan because of it, but this coaching staff is beyond hopeless. A head coach with such a poor divisional record isn't one worth sticking with when you get to this point. To top it all off, the Titans have never beaten Luck, which infuriates me to no end. In the end of the day, Luck hasn't even needed to play exceptionally well, because this Titans team loves to point the gun at themselves. My memories of this 2013 season will not be fond ones...
I am with you Jimmy, #FireMunchak sounds about right to me too.