The Tennessee Titans weren’t expected to put up much of a fight today with a wasted season. They ended up giving the Indianapolis Colts all they could handle, though, before a sadly familiar chain of events ended the Titans’ dreams of an upset and left the Colts with a 23-20 triumph.
The game was a mix of the familiar and unfamiliar from the get-go. The unfamiliar came first, with wideout Damian Williams taking a direct snap on the second play from scrimmage. Order was quickly restored after that, as the Titans punted after a Chris Johnson run on third and one failed to yield a first down. The Colts drove down the field on mostly short plays but including a third-and-long conversion (all too familiar), after a sack, but were held to a field goal (unfamiliar).
The traditional Titans gameplan mostly worked, as they held the Colts to field goals after two long drives and matched them with scores of their own. The Colts would make it to the end zone their third possession, but the Titans would go into the half down only 13-6, and would end the third quarter tied after an excellent quarter by Kerry Collins and the passing game produced scoring tosses to Kenny Britt and Chris Johnson.
Both teams would struggle to move the ball in the fourth quarter, but the Titans got a break when Sen’Derrick Marks forced Dom Rhodes to fumble and Micheal Griffin returned it to Colts territory with less than 2:00 to play. Alas, a bad snap exchange between Kevin Matthews and Kerry Collins gave the Colts the ball back, and the defense couldn’t hold one more time, setting up the game-winning field goal.
Players Who Mattered
- Kenny Britt. 5 catches for 85 yards, 9 targets, but tweaked his hamstring on his third-quarter touchdown and didn’t return. Without him in the lineup, the Titans’ offense just isn’t as good.
- Damian Williams. Finally in the lineup, and had 3 catches plus the direct snap play. A couple weeks late, but at least it happened.
- Chris Johnson. A TD reception, but struggled to find room on the ground with 39 yards on 20 carries.
- Jared Cook. 7 catches for 58 yards, but lost a catch by failing to get his second foot inbounds and got run over by DB Cornelius Brown on his way to Collins. The good and the bad are visible with him pretty much every game.
- Kerry Collins. Completed over 70% of his passes (28/39) for 300 yards. A flawed quarterback, but not horrible and not the reason the Titans lost today.
- Rob Bironas. Short and wide from 61 at the end of the first half ended his streak of made field goals at 20. Had some good angle kickoffs, but also some out of bounds.
- Craig Stevens. Showed great hustle tracking down Antoine Bethea after Bironas’s 61 yard fell short.
- Ken Amato. Leveled on a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit by Gary Brackett while chasing Bethea. Best wishes for his recovery.
- Jason McCourty. Battled Pierre Garcon all day with intermittent success. Got caught ball-watching to give up a score.
- Alterraun Verner. 10 tackles to lead the team. You never want a corner to lead the team in tackles.
- Gerald McRath. The gamebook tells me he played today. I didn’t notice him.
- Marc Mariani. Didn’t have much on punt returns, but had a couple good kickoff returns. Sorry I doubted the Titans for drafting him.
With that, the Titans end at 6-10, losing 8 of their final 9 games, and the watch turns to Jeff Fisher’s job status. Jay Glazer is reporting he’ll be meeting tomorrow with Bud Adams and other officials in Houston. Do he stay? Does he go? Should he? I suspect he goes, but we’ll probably have an answer tomorrow.