One day ago, the Titans were the best team in the NFL. Now they are the forgotten former undefeated team. In Week 13 of the 1999 Super Bowl season, the Titans lost 41-14 to the Ravens. That was a good time to have a team’s worst loss of the year. In the following year, the Titans lost three games by a total of seven points. This team finished December by giving up three points in the final three games of the season. Talk about going into the playoffs hot. The Ravens crushed ’em 24-10.
What does yesterday’s game mean? It means, most literally, that the undefeated dream is gone. Good. I can’t imagine what the Patriots went through with “Pursuit of Perfection” talk starting in October. Funny how it finally caught up to them at the worst time.
It wasn’t the blowout quite like the media has portrayed. The game started like a 2007 game, in that the offense struggled and the defense made timely plays. Two first-half turnovers that in previous games would have led to points, led to nothing. The Titans had one fourth down situation at the 36-yard line. It was a ten-point game at the time. Instead of the long field goal or the gutsy go-for-it call, Fisher opted to punt. Here comes the 16-yard punt, I thought.
Even though the Jets dominated the time of possession and yardage, a last-minute drive cut the lead to seven. Big deal, the Titans have been down by more. An eight-minute drive led to a field goal. This was the defense’s final stand. The offense had to produce. Chris Johnson fumbled and the defense ran out of answers. Even though there was a flicker of life when the Titans cut the lead to 27-13, the defense was too worn down and a couple of iffy pass interference penalties put the game away.
Luckily, no one gets a ring for winning a game in November. The Titans have the semi-bye week in Detroit then a nice ten-day period before facing the nearly dead Browns and Texans in consecutive weeks. The Titans have some work to do. The interior OL has not blocked well of late. Kris Jenkins was a dominant force. Even so, there was a lack of faith in the run game before the score got out of hand. Football beat writers praise the QB who distributes the ball to a lot of receivers. Favre gave everyone plenty of touches; Collins must have thrown the most droppable ball in NFL history, because everyone dropped a pass or two in the early going. It was one of those “everything goes wrong” games, but there is time to regroup.
Peter King put the Jets ahead of the Titans on his Fine Fifteen this week. Which loss is less defendable, the Giants going to Cleveland (where the Texans just won) and losing by 21, or the Titans losing by the same score at home to an 8-3 team? I’m just sayin’. Guess what, the Titans still have the inside track to the top seed in the playoffs and would have to finish 2-4 in their last six to even have a chance of losing that spot.
Of course I won all my fantasy games this week. It’s the strange fantasy/real karma that has not received as much scientific study as it deserves. My 2-9 AUFL squad is winning by 47 points with Donald Driver to play. My opponent and father, pulling a Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, needs Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister to score a ton. I have an outside shot at a bye in z17, and in z34 I’m 6-6 but the 7-5 team in front of the for the wild card has the tiebreaker. It’s not looking good. At least the first round rookie pick I traded for is going to be as high as number two. It’s way too early to project but I’m thinking that LeSean McCoy or Chris Wells could end up in my lap. That’s good because the Denver mess and Warrick Dunn won’t save me for one more year.
There’s nothing more depressing than Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. Daunte Culpepper is the best get-well gift for a team suddenly looking mortal. I would like to see Chris Johnson getting the turkey leg or whatever they give for the early game.
In 2003 when the Titans finished 12-4, they were crushed by the Colts 33-7 in week two.