Why am I not surprised by Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. The only thing I’m surprised about was how right I was going into the game. I’m sure if not every Titans fan then most Titans fan had a feeling that this would be a trap game for the Titans and that some way they were going to fumble this loss to the winless Jets. We all knew going into this game that so many things could go wrong and that is exactly how things went.
When news came out that AJ Brown and Julio Jones were both going to miss this game it was already a red flag. It doesn’t take a Titans fan to know that both Brown and Jones missing this game would be a huge setback for this team. Other notable players who were injured and unavailable to the game were Bud Dupree, Brett Kern, and Caleb Farley. With all of these players out, it meant that all across the board from offense to defense to special teams was going to suffer.
Obviously, no AJ Brown and no Julio Jones means just stop King Henry and dare Tannehill to beat the Jets with the backup receivers. No Bud Dupree or Rashad Weaver for the fact of the matter meant that Harold Landry was the only outside linebacker they need to watch out for. No Caleb Farley and still no Amani Hooker to an already depleted defense just made it that much worse. And the cherry on top was that there was no Brett Kern meaning the punting game was most likely doomed considering the last time Kern was out the Titans special teams was the atrocious.
So with these missing players can the Titans potentially still win? Yes; but Vrabel and company better have a great game plan to combat all these setbacks but of course they didn’t. Everyone is to blame for the loss on Sunday. Understandably with so many players out it was tough to have a solid game plan but nevertheless Vrabel has to take some blame for having the team ill-prepare to step-up and play.
Todd Downing was missing his two star receivers I get it but he had a horrible day. He was calling throwing plays in the red zone when he should’ve run it with King Henry instead. Why didn’t he utilize the screen plays more? Jeremy McNichols had success as a pass-catching back and so did King Henry. Three straight drives settling for field goals when we should’ve had touchdowns is unacceptable. Without Brown or Jones, he needed to get more creative in his offensive approach.
The offensive line played absolutely horrible. They allowed 7 sacks in the game if I’m not mistaken which is unacceptable. Taylor Lewan has not played up to par ever since signing his massive contract. I’m surprised and thankful that Tannehill was able to get out of the game in one piece. Speaking of Tannehill, many of those sacks were his fault. At times he held onto the ball too long and should’ve gotten rid of it or ran out of the pocket which he didn’t. I don’t know why Tannehill didn’t run a lot on Sunday on a day where he was getting pressure in his face all day, getting sacked left and right, and having backup offensive linemen coming in and out for injuries. On a day like Sunday where Tannehill doesn’t have the likes of Brown or Jones against a bad Jets team he needs to be able to carry this team on his back. Although his stats were decent and he didn’t play horribly he still wasn’t great. Aside from King Henry, everyone played pretty bad on Sunday and the blame starts with Todd Downing.
Shane Bowen’s defense was horrible as well. They held strong but eventually gave away at the end of the day. Look, no Bud Dupree, Rashad Weaver, Amani Hooker, or Caleb Farley, fair point but regardless the defense should not have caved like they did. Jeffrey Simmons wasn’t playing up to par, Kevin Byard has been average at best since signing his extension, Janoris Jenkins looks lost out in coverage and our linebackers don’t seem to know what is going on either. Denico Autry had a fantastic 3rd and goal stop, love to see more of that and Kristian Fulton had an interception and continues to play well. The defense is not good period. I know we’re missing some important guys but they really need to step it up. They gave up 27 points to a winless Jets team coming into Sunday who haven’t score in total more than 27 points all season long. Ridiculous.
After last year’s special teams meltdown in the game against the Colts I was praying that we could hopefully avoid that altogether this time around. To an extent it wasn’t as bad as last time but it was still bad. I think the Titans punter shanked a punt giving the Jets great field position. And at last, the kicking game woes continue. Randy Bullock missed the 49 yard field to potentially tie the game. I don’t know about everyone else but when I saw that it was 49 yards I immediately had a gut feeling Bullock wasn’t going to make it and long behold he didn’t. It is unacceptable that the kicking game is still this bad for 2 years and counting now. How many games have we lost because of a missed field goal? Too many. Jon Robinson’s negligence to finding an adequate kicker needs to stop or it will keep costing us football games.
Our Tennessee Titans are cursed. It seems that year in and year out they always manage to lose to a team that they shouldn’t. It’s truly infuriating as they play up to competition but also play down to competition. After this loss I don’t feel confident in this team’s super bowl aspirations anymore. Call this an overreaction but I think the Titans have true internal problems (that will be addressed another day) that must be solved first before talking about super bowl aspirations.