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Monday, December 12, 2011

Sportaholic Tennessee Titans vs. New Orleans Review

Coming into this game everyone knew New Orleans NFL best offense led by Drew Brees would challenge in the Titans in every conceivable way on defense. Tennessee fought hard and came up short losing 22-17 in a game that they could have won. The Titans defense for the most part held the red hot Brees under control allowing only 3 John Kasay field goals in 3 quarters this game was practically a bore through the first half and I’m sure that was just fine with the Titans defense. Brees did complete a lot of passes but they didn’t do much harm at Tennessee was bending but not breaking. The Saints also had too many penalties in the first half that attributed to their stagnant offense. Tennessee’s offense just couldn’t capitalize on the defenses success as they could only muster 3 points in the first half. Titans starting QB Matt Hasselbeck’s injury may have had something to do with the offense struggling as he went down with an injured calf in the 2nd quarter. Hasselbeck was 5/7 for 44 yards before leaving the game.

Rookie Jake Locker came in provided a spark in the second half with his arm and legs. The University of Washington grad showed why the Titans are high on so high on him as he made a number of big plays. First, Locker found an open Nate Washington for a 40-yard TD pass as the injured WR broke a tackle on his way to the end zone. Next, he scrambled around and bowled over Saints Safety Roman Harper for his second score that closed the gap for Tennessee to 22-17. Unfortunately that would be as close as they would get as they wouldn’t get another score as they stalled on their last two drives. Things looked promising on their next to last drive as Locker hooked with Washington for a couple of strikes of 18 and 9 but they couldn’t covert a 4th down on a Locker quarterback sneak.

The Titans got the ball back with 1:34 for their last breath and moved the ball well as Locker delivered yet again to Washington for another 40-yard strike that put the Titans at that Saints 5-yard line. The Titans tried to fit in a quick slant over the middle that Saints CB Tracy Porter knocked down. That left the Titans with one last play. This time Locker couldn’t deliver this time as the rookie couldn’t get rid of the ball on a scramble and was taken down by the Saints as the game expired. It appeared that Locker may have held the ball to long and could have found a way to at least get the ball out to give his receiver a chance to make a play. Locker seemed inclined to second guess himself saying “Once I got outside the pocket there were a lot of guys there,” Locker said. “It ended up that I didn’t throw it anyway but ... I should have.” Titans head coach Mike Munchak was having none of that in the post-game. “I am not going to second guess anything he did,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. The loss snaps their two-game losing streak and puts the pressure on them to win their last three games just to make the playoffs. The division is out of the question now as Houston’s win over Cincinnati clinched the AFC south. If you read the article closely you will notice not mention of Chris Johnson. He was held to 23 yards on 11 carries as the could never find his way against the Saints D.

It was such interesting game for multiple reasons for Tennessee with so many bizarre things developing during the game itself. To have top cornerback Jason McCourty out for the game, WR Nate Washington hurt but gritting out a good performance, and have Hasselbeck go down and rookie QB Jake Locker fill was just a lot for any football team to go through in one game. Luckily for the Titans they have three winnable contest left on the schedule with Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and a not much to play for Houston squad. They have to hope that the New York Jets stumble as they are 8-5 and control their own destiny after destroying the Kansas City Chiefs 37-10. The Titans are still in it but they can’t afford to lose another game.

The season is on the brink for Tennessee and we will see how they respond in the last stretch of the season.

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