When the Tennessee Titans lose a heart breaker like they did today, it is easy to say that they need to finish games better. However, the game should never have been in reach after the Titans dominated for 3 quarters. So, what could the Titans have done better to seal the game early?
On defense, it is really hard to pick out one thing that they are doing wrong. They are contesting a lot of passes and the pass rush is getting home early and often which is outstanding. Against the run, they are stout in general and really haven't been getting gashed on the ground...well, except for that big quarterback run on 3rd and 20+.
And there it is, that has to be the emphasis in defensive practice this week. The Titans are a very good team, but they cannot survive huge 3rd down conversions. Not only to they energize the offense, they discourage the defense and deflate everyone.
In the first two losses, it was huge gashing plays through the air, but today it was a failure to stop a quarterback run that killed them. Jurrell Casey has taken the blame for the big play, but I have a hard time putting all that game on one person. Casey, Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo all could have gotten to the quarterback, the defensive backs could have turned their heads inside after the breaks, and the safeties could have collapsed when they saw the quarterback step up and forced him to at least stop his feet and make a decision on whether to throw or pass.
It was a bad play by the team as a whole, and while it hurts every team in the league has bad plays, heck the best defense in the NFL for the last two years the Seattle Seahawks were burnt all day today by the Cincinnati Bengals and Andy Dalton.
I never expected the Titans to hold a team coached by Chan Gailey to less than 14 points, and at a certain point you can only expect your defense to do so much. So far today only Green Bay, Denver and New England (and well the Bills) held their opponents to less points that what they Titans did. You would love to see this team make the plays to stop opponents on big plays like that or get a big turnover, but either way this team is close and they are just a few small plays away.