The Titans came out looking like they would give the Patriots a MUCH better fight than the last time the two teams met – a 59-0 drubbing in a freak snowstorm in 2009. Okay, Okay, pretty much any team, besides maybe Savannah State, would put up more of a fight than that abomination.
But still, the Titans and their new starting QB Jake Locker came out of the gates firing and drove the ball very well against the Pats’ defense. Only a missed pass interference call kept them from scoring a touchdown and taking a 7-0 lead early.
But it went straight downhill from there. The Tom Bradys drove up and down the field at will against a supposed revamped Titans defense. The Pats ran the ball 35 times and threw it 31 times, which kept the Titans on their heels all game. They ran for 162 yards and passed for 228 more in the 34-13 blowout.
The Good News:
Locker looked good
He was a bit frantic at times but mostly kept his cool and made impressive throws. Two stand out, in particular. In the first quarter, the Titans were looking at 4th and short at about the Patriots 40-yard line. It was a good time to go for it. And they did.
Locker came out in shotgun but it looked like a draw was coming. Pats packed the line and gave man-on-man coverage on the outside. Locker came to the line, audibled and hiked the ball. He immediately looked to his left and lofted a touch pass up for Nate Washington, who caught it at its highest point for 20 yards and a first down.
The second impressive throw was another connection with Washington. In the third quarter, with the Titans trailing 21-3 and the Titans desperately trying to get back into the game, Locker took a snap and dropped back for a pass. With no one immediately open, he started to take pressure and with a Pats defender grabbing hold of him, he threw an off-balance beauty between two defenders to Washington who turned and scampered into the end zone.
Locker was surprisingly accurate. He completed 23 of his 32 passes for 229 yards and the touchdown. He also threw an interception on a jump ball to Washington in the end zone. He gave Washington a chance to make a play but it ended up in the Pats’ hands.
The Bad News:
Locker and Washington both left with injuries on the same play in the fourth quarter. Washington appeared to be knocked out in a big hit trying to catch a pass that was ruled a fumble at first with the Pats defenders picking it up and trying to return it. That led to Locker’s injury as he tried to tackle the ball carrier. Early reports were that Locker dislocated his shoulder.
He ran 11 times for a grand total of four yards – his career low in yards in a game. He looked awful. The resurgence of CJ2K looks to be dramatically overstated. He seems to be the same back that doesn’t hit holes with authority; instead, he mostly dances in and out of holes hoping for a defender to make a big mistake. They didn’t, and he never got going.
If the Titans have any chance of making a division or playoff run, the running game HAS to be better.
The defense was out of sorts all game and the Patriots easily could have put up 40+ if they wanted. There were several blown coverages and they couldn’t stop the running game.
The Ugly News:
No seriously, they were THAT bad.