There was 1:54 left on the clock. The Titans were up by 4 and the Texans were driving. They were on the 36 yard line and it was 4th down. I turned to my wife and yelled “this is it!” over the screaming fans around us.
#79 took a step back. False start.
You know what happens next. The roars became louder and louder as Jeff Allen kept stuttering a hair too soon and the Texans kept backing up. I was so happy, I was so pumped, I was freaking out. 4th and 19, and they were rattled.
And then it happened. Tom Savage danced in the pocket, ran forward, and threw a low flying laser that passed just between Jayon Brown and Kevin Byard for a completion to tight end Steven Anderson.
I couldn’t believe it. But I could. Just like that, all the memories of years past came flooding in. All the close losses. All the barely missed plays. All the could haves, should haves, and would haves.
1st down. Still over a minute to go. Ball on the 29.
“Here we go again”, I thought.
It’s all coming home to roost. The close games against bad teams. Barely winning games the Titans usually find a way to lose. Our luck has run out. Things really aren’t different. It’s been a mirage. I should have left to beat the traffic.
While these thoughts ran through my head, the undeterred faithful began to scream their heads off again. The volume swelled through the stadium as a parallel to my ascending self pity. Savage dropped back. Plenty of time. Here we go again. He launched it to the end zone. Here we go again. Hopkins is there. Here we go again.
And then LeShaun Sims, filling in for an injured Logan Ryan made the play. He actually made the amazing interception.
Anyone reading this knows what happens next. The Titans sealed the deal on a 3rd and 5 pitch play to Derrick Henry that went for 75 yards and a touchdown. Elation is the only word I can think of that can describe the way we felt.
I’m not a clinical psychologist. I’m not even a non clinical one for that matter. I have no idea how long BFS (battered fan syndrome) lasts or the proper cure for it. But I do know that at some point you need to learn to love again after a broken heart. At some point you need to trust again, have faith again, believe again.
In week 7 the Titans gutted out an overtime win against Cleveland. In the following game they held off the Ravens by scoring a touchdown in the final minutes of the game after stalling for the majority of it. Who can forget the final come from behind drive against the Bengals and DeMarco Murray’s shifty end zone dive? And only last week we saw this same team overcome a 10 point deficit against the Colts. These are all games the Titans of the past would lose. Plays they would not have made. Plays they would have allowed the other teams to make instead.
This is a new team. New players. New GM. New head coach. New Identity.
What this team has done, again and again, is find a way to win.
I can’t tell you how to love, root for or even complain about your team. I can’t tell you when it’s time to start opening yourself up again after years of pain. But I do think it may actually be time to believe once again.
The next time the situation looks bleak, or the game is on the line, “here we go again” will have a whole new sound to it inside my head.