I have to give credit where credit is due. ESPN's Paul Kuharsky had the most poignant comment on Twitter about the Titans that I've seen all year.
#Titans are supposed to be good if Jake Locker is good. He was good tonight, and they were down 17-3 at the half.— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) August 18, 2013
The first half of this game simply came down to not being able to finish what you started.
Jake Locker looked poised and sharp working with the first team through the first half of Saturday night's game. The stat line won't show it though. The offense put together good drives only to be foiled by the hands of the receivers. Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, and Jack Doyle were all perpetrators of dropping direct passes that hit them directly in the hands. Each of which would have resulted in first downs or a touchdown.
The defensive secondary picked up where they left off last year by missing tackles in the open field. What should have been 10 or less yard gains turned into game changing 30 yard plays. The Titans brought in hard hitting Bernard Pollard to play the run so that the maligned Michael Griffin could play to his strengths in the passing game, but Pollard was the one getting beat and stiff armed. He and Coty Sensabaugh whiffed on Mohamed Sanu letting him run for 24 yards to the 1 yard line, and later Pollard let Brandon Tate out of his grasp for a big third down conversion. Griffin for once actually made a handful of solid tackles in the run game.
Missed Field Goals
Helped out by the dropped passes, the Titans offense stalled out in enemy territory, but like the days of old, field goals were there for the taking. After striking first, the Titans missed three straight field goals leaving 9 points on the board and making the game seem more lopsided than it was. Camp kicker Maikon Bonani didn't help his case by missing one after two straight shanks by incumbent Rob Bironas. Bironas has been hampered by a sore back and is hopefully just knocking off the rust. The Titans ball control offense will need him to be reliable once the season starts.
Thankfully this is what the preseason is for. Hopefully the Titans can knock off the rust in these areas and capitalize on other wise good play and play-calling alike. While Locker seems to be holding his own, it looks like the rest of the team needs to gel and come together around him.