By Chris Lambos
The Tennessee Titans take on the New York Jets on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Unmotivated Titans Drop To 0-3
Rookie QB sensation Mark Sanchez continues to show fans (and skeptics) why he left the USC Trojans with 1 year of eligibility remaining to graze in the fertile pastures of the National Football League. Sanchez posted respectable stats in the Jets 24-17 victory, completing 17 of 30 passes for 171 yards with 2 TDs and a lone interception. His highlight reel updates (14 yard TD scramble on first possession) come at the expense of the Tennessee Titans who now carry an 0-3 record.
But was it all Sanchez?
Perhaps one would credit the defensive wizardry of Jet’s Head Coach Rex Ryan (son of 46 defense mastermind Buddy Ryan). His Jet defenders utilized an ever changing zone defense that confused Kerry Collins for most of the game (especially in the last quarter of the game in which Collins threw 13 consecutive incompletions. The Jets run defense shut down the Titans running game for the most part, holding Chris Johnson under 100 yards.
Or can Collins shoulder all of the blame?
His final stats were not impressive, completing only 15 of 37 passes. He did manage to throw a 9 yard TD pass to Nate Washington in the 3rd quarter, giving the Titans a temporary 17-14 lead. But what about the 2 interceptions he threw as the Jets D continued to daze the Titan signal caller? You know what happens to Tennessee quarterbacks who throw 2 interceptions in a single game (Twitter Vince Young for more clues). Collins should have excelled in the passing game if given enough protection from the blitz-happy Jets. After all, New York was without the service of two cornerbacks (1 being a starter, the other a nickel back).
What about Titans special teams?
Nothing special. Titans rookie Ryan Mouton coughed up the ball on both a kickoff return and a punt return). The first (kickoff return) found Mouton fumbling on the Titans 19 yard line which led to the Jets second TD. The punt return turnover happened at the 7:09 mark of the 3rd Qtr. with the Titans holding on to a 17-14 lead.
Let’s just say that when a coach tells the media that a game which could result in an 0-3 start for his team is not being labeled a ‘Must-Win’, a coach could find his players less than motivated ‘To Win’. I don’t think that’s gridiron philosophical mumbo jumbo, exclusively, I think that’s a given fundamental in Chapter 1 in any Life Manual worth publishing
I’m being too generous in giving some coaches a D – this week.
What did we learn from this game?
1) The return game is chaotic
2) There are still a few Vince Young fans in the stands waiting for heroic 4th Qtr. comebacks
3) Chuck Cecil should be watching the Jets D on the game film – not the Titans
4) ‘Must-Win’ mentality will inflate motives to win- lack of that mentality deflates them.