Our Tennessee football team looked like anything but Titans in another lackluster performance in Nashville’s LP Field this past Sunday. When the Titans play up to their potential, they win, but their mistakes and penalties have placed them at 2-2 instead of at 4-0 where they could have and should have been. It appears that the offense is not playing with the same skill and intensity as the defense, and is making too many mistakes and too few yards. If this team plans to make it to the playoffs this season, the offensive line will have to solidify, begin winning in the trenches, and open a few holes for Chris Johnson. Vince Young will need to begin throwing more often and throwing further down the field. The team must also decrease their penalties and stop turning over the ball so often.
This last defeat was due to several key factors including ten penalties, two lost fumbles, several dropped Britt-balls, limited passing yards, the inability to open up holes for Chris Johnson, red-zone inefficiency, and the second half meltdown of the defensive secondary.
Defensively, the Titans continued their domination at the line, stopping the run and limiting the Broncos to 20 yards rushing the entire game. They continued their sack attack, harassing Kyle Orton the entire first half, but somehow could not contain him in the second half and allowed him to continue his amazing air show with 341 total yards.
Tennessee actually appeared to have the game wrapped up, with less than two minutes remaining. The defense had Denver stopped at midfield with 2nd and 25, and nearly had Orton sacked again, when he threw a desperation bomb to Jabar Gaffney. The pass fell incomplete, but defensive pass interference by Chris Hope put the ball on the Titans one-yard line. Terrell Buckhalter scored a few plays later to make it 23-20. A Tennessee fumble on the ensuing kickoff ended all hopes for a victory.
The Titan’s offense, ranked 27th out of 32 NFL teams in total yards, looked anemic again. Vince Young threw almost half as many yards as Kyle Orton, and Chris Johnson was held to only 53 yards on the ground. Johnson, who only fumbled three times in 2009, lost his second fumble of this season, which stopped a Titan drive in the first half. Mistakes have cost the Titans two games and limited their average time of possession to 27:37 per game, which is the 6th lowest average in the NFL. If Tennessee hopes to defeat Dallas this coming Sunday, they will need to blow into Cowboy Stadium with both guns blazing – rushing and passing, with both offense and defense playing with intensity and maturity.