The dream dies

It wasn’t supposed to end like this. The Titans were halfway to an incredible season turnaround, to start 0-6 and potentially finish 10-6. Chris Johnson was running like no one in NFL history. Vince Young became the QB we all thought he could be in 2006. Receivers were making plays. The defense started looking like the squad that was a step behind last year’s team, but good enough to win.

It didn’t end because the team played so much worse than the past five weeks. It ended because of a lot of the things that happened in the past five weeks.

You can’t catch everything: for the first three weeks of the Vince Young Experiment, receivers didn’t drop a pass. It was an uncanny reversal. But it couldn’t last. Nate Washington can get open but he can’t be trusted to bring in the big catch. In the first quarter, with the score 7-0 Colts, he had a chance to bring in a long touchdown. He dropped the pass.

When you get in the red zone against a good team, you need to finish: The Titans had more than 400 yards of total offense in the first 58 minutes of last week’s game. They only scored 13 points, and seven of them were on one play. The offense stalled inside the 20 too many times. Against the Colts it happened again. Two trips inside the 20 in the third quarter resulted in no points. That included a first and goal at the one. You have to make it happen.

And finally, the defense: The Titans all but shut out Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and Joseph Addai filled in the gaps. One of the reasons why the steady but boring Colts have managed to be so effective this year is that Garcon and Collie have stepped up. The Colts’ offensive skill players, until this year, have been dominated by first-round picks.

The Titans weren’t going to win ten in a row, because you can’t play at your peak for ten consecutive weeks. You’re going to have to win with less than your best, as they did last week. Against an elite team like the Colts, less than the best wasn’t good enough. An 8-8 finish would be miraculous considering the 0-6 start. Remember, we don’t know anything until Vince Young gets another shot at starting 16 games. The secondary and defensive lines need more depth. Bringing in another veteran receiver who can catch but isn’t completely finished (hi, Torry Holt) would be nice. Sorry to say it, Titan fans, but the hot streak is over and it might be time to cash in the chips.

Quick Fantasy Football Playoff Rant

Is there anything I do that is more fun to do but less rewarding than setting up fantasy playoff systems? I enjoy looking over the rules for tiebreakers, writing information on each team and putting the final portion of the season in motion. I’m not getting any feedback.

Let’s face it. Fantasy sports have become less fun. The smack talk has almost evaporated. People don’t have as much time to play. I’ve had half a dozen unsubmitted rosters in my dynasty league alone. There’s so much information out there that there’s no excuse to start injured players and such. But people still do it. Just not when they’re playing me.

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