By Chris Lambos
On Sunday afternoon, a friend of mine who had missed the Titans/Colts game asked me who won? I responded “Colts”. He then told me that I can use last week’s blog headline (It’s ‘Deja Vince’ All Over Again) all over again.
This week, there is no need to fumble through any Headline recycling receptacles. We had two teams on hot streaks. One enters the game with a 11-0 record, the other sports a 5-6. If that’s not enough info to produce a succinct headline, then note that the 11-0 team has Peyton Manning taking snaps.
Though the outcome might have been predictable to Colts fans, most Titans fans (the ones that can root against Mr. Manning) were expecting ‘upset’ – either in the form of an upset VICTORY or an upset VINCE. They got neither.
Many of us held our breath with 5:54 left in the 2nd Qtr. after Vince Young threw his lone interception (and grabbed his knee with an apparent injury). The camera operators zoomed to Vince on the sideline like paparazzi photographers – waiting for meltdown.
Vince stayed focused.
In fact, Vince and the Titans played a fairly good game from my perspective. There were a few mistakes made here and there on the field (and on the sidelines), but none that can take anything away from the players effort.
1. VY threw a long ball to a sideline-streaking Nate Washington who had a few steps on his defender. Vince placed the ball right into Washington’s hands but he juggled and dropped it. A catch on that play would have undoubtedly equaled 6 points as there were no defenders between him and the end zone. You can’t drop balls like that and expect to beat the Colts.
2. Jeff Fisher ordered a ‘pooch kick’. after a late 2nd Qtr score. You can’t give a team like the Colts half of a field with 20 seconds left on the clock (How many years has Fisher coached against Manning? Hmmmm…). Colts get 3 ‘avoidable’ points
3. During that above mentioned 20 second span, Tony Brown gets flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Tony, I’m sure you have been pushed over another downed player after a play has been whistled dead. Don’t emulate Ken Norton, Sr….Ken Norton, Jr. was the football player in the family.
4. Fumbles…again, they can cost you games a lot of times and MOST of the time against the Colts.
Add two ineffective trips to the red zone and Vince’s abovementioned interception (a foolish pass) to this list.
Looking at the numbers, you can see why the margin of victory was only 10 points. VY finished the day completing 24 of 43 for 241 yards, 2 TDs and 1 Int. (Hey, that’s the same number of completions and double the TDs of Mr. Manning). Chris Johnson rushed for over 100 yards (113) but never broke one for more than 11 yards. Bo Scaife continues to be VY’s workhorse reeling in 5 catches for 56 yards and catching a TD pass late in the 4th Qtr. Kenny Britt, who caught last week’s game winning pass had 3 receptions for 46 yards and a 6-yard TD reception with 24 seconds left in the first half. CJ added 28 yards on 11 catches out of the backfield.
As for the defense, David Thornton (and ex-Colt) led all Titans with 8 tackles (5 assisted) and Tony Brown led all lineman with 3. William Hayes who along with Brown has been a force on the line this season was quiet with a solo tackle.
The unit kept pressure on Manning for most of the afternoon and held Addai to 79 yards on 22 carries (though he scored twice).
What did we learn from this game?
1 The Kenny Britt experiment on kickoff returns is paying off as Britt logged a 55 yard return during the game.
2. Vince Young’s psyche will live to play (and win) another day. Sorry CBS!