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Monday, December 6, 2010

Titans vs. Jaguars Game Review

The Tennessee Titans slept walk through yet another game as they lost 17-6 to division leading Jacksonville. The Titans now have lost 5 in a row and seem to be intent on handing the playoffs away. The addition of Kerry Collins back to the lineup was supposed to provide a spark for the offense but to now avail. Tennessee hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown in 13 quarters of football now. This doesn’t resemble the team that started 5-2 and had the second leading scoring offense as of week 6.

The Titans are in the midst of a three-game season defining stretch against division foes and have begun that journey by going 0-2 to Houston and Jacksonville. They face the struggling Colts next week at home. The Titans has had chance after chance to take control of the fleeting division with the aforementioned Colts and also the lowly Texans. Jacksonville is the only team that seems to have risen to the occasion.

As for the game itself, The Jaguars dominated the Titans on the ground, out rushing the once vaunted Titans run game 258-57. The Jaguars pinball running back, Maurice Jones-Drew pounded Tennessee for a career high 186 yards on 31 carries. The Jags scored on their first drive, a 12 play 77-yard drive capped with an 11-yard run by Rashard Jennings. The Jags would score again midway through the second quarter as they kept it on the ground again and QB David Garrard scored on a 4-yard run to end a 13 play 57-yard drive that put Jacksonville up 14-0. The Jags would add a FG at the end of the second to make it 17-0 heading in to halftime. Jacksonville dominated the ball in the first half, recording 21 minutes of possession in the half.

The recently diagnosed cancer patient, Mike Hermindinger was relegated to the booth instead of the sidelines and it showed. The Titans struggled all day against the defensive front of the Jags. Kerry Collins would finish the day 14/32 for 169 yards and two interceptions. Chris Johnson didn’t fare much better as he finished his day with 53 yards on 13 carries. The Titans were able to put together a couple of drives in the second half that would lead to a couple of field goals but they could have been much more. On one particular scoring chance in the red zone, Kerry Collins made a low throw to Randy Moss, who wasn’t able to haul it in. Bo Scaife had a chance for a touchdown but forgot to catch the pass before heading to the end zone. The Titans wouldn’t even get on the board until the third quarter but this game was never much in doubt as Jacksonville physically dominated the Titans for the entire afternoon. Maurice Jones-Drew repeatedly ran over the defense, including a couple highlight reel stiff arms on Cortland Finnegan and a vicious one at the end of the game on safety Michael Griffin. “They ran it and we didn’t stop it, and they stopped our run and that was the difference in the ballgame.” said Coach Jeff Fisher.

I see a team that didn’t show up and looks to be in total disarray at this point. The drama that is surrounding them is well noted. Maybe mentally and physically the team is tired. No team in the league has had to deal with as much off the field problems as the Titans and it seems to be taking toll. As I wrote in an earlier column, this team had but two directions to go after the Young-Fisher fiasco and it seems that have trended downward instead of up. This was a key stretch that was going to define their season as all three division opponents traveled to LP field. The division was and still is up for grabs this year with the way it has played out. I have a lot of questions for this team. Why hasn’t Randy Moss been able to be more of an effective weapon? Why has Chris Johnson averaged 30 yards the last two games? Has this team given up on Coach Jeff Fisher?

This much is for sure with the Titans. They are now 5-7 after starting 5-2. They still have a shot at the division crown as they are just two games back of Jacksonville with four to play. The game next week against the Colts will feature two desperate teams that need a win to stay in the thick of the race. Peyton Manning has been struggling and has 11 interceptions in his last 3 games. He had four against Dallas this week alone. If there was ever a time catch the Sheriff while his pistol was down, the time would be now. If the Titans can somehow get out of the funk they have been in. Once again let’s hope for the best as the Tennessee still has heartbeat but its beating very softly at this point.

Game Notes: The Titans and Jags split the season series. The Titans had won six of the last eight in the series. The Titans were held to a season low in ball possession as they held the ball for just 20 minutes and 6 seconds.

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