I was in Nashville over the weekend and had but a few scarce minutes to listen to any podcasts. The one I listened to was Sports Guy interviewing Chuck Klosterman. He can come off as a little pretentious and I hope to have the same affect when I am a published novelist. He had an “outsider” Super Bowl pick and wouldn’t you know it, he picked the Titans. He pointed to their 13-3 season two years ago and that Vince Young looked like the kind of QB who had a relatively short career with a couple of jaw-dropping seasons. That was the appetizer to my 48 hours of football weekend.
I’m sure that I’m messing this up, but what are you going to do. The British have a saying. Shut your steaming gob.
That was my jaw hitting the floor as the Titans absolutely crushed the Raiders 38-13 yesterday. Even as it was 10-3 after the first quarter, my mom said “if they lose this one, someone should be shot.”
During the first two months of last season, the Titans might have lost this game. Who am I kidding; the Raiders were garbage and the Titans were determined not to lose.
The game didn’t start with promise. Vince fumbled on the opening possession. Upon first glance it looked like the tuck rule but the ball clearly came out before he pulled forward to throw. All was not lost, as Derrick Morgan got his first NFL sack on third down. The refs called a penalty for what I call “tackling the quarterback.” Morgan was on the ground because he had fallen. He followed through into Campbell’s legs. The Raiders tried to screw up the scoring opportunity by missing the field goal but Cortland Finnegan was offside and the score was 3-0.
That first series might be the Oakland Raiders’ highlight video for 2010. Other than that and a quality garbage-time performance by Darren McFadden, the game was a dud. Maybe Jason Campbell is a big-time improvement from JaMarcus Russell. Even Matt Leinart would have said “dude, you check down too much.” When your starting wideouts are Derrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy, maybe going downfield isn’t a good option.
One thing the Raiders did well was shut down Chris Johnson. CJ2K went 26-66 for most of the game, but he salvaged his 100-yard game streak with a 76-yard run in the third quarter. He did make a few insane moves and still looks like the best running back in the league. I think Johnson was pissed when backup Javon Ringer scampered in for a touchdown in the second quarter with a hole that Johnson had not seen all day. On a draw play he cut outside and it was off to the races, which means touchdown. He was nice enough to score it in our end zone.
Game-day experience: After tailgating all day for an LSU/Vandy game which was an LSU crowd all the way and getting checked closely, I was able to sneak an empty water bottle into LP Field and get some of that sweet water fountain water for nada. The only way the stadium is sucking more money out of the fans would be with coin-operated toilets and water fountains. I hope no one from the Titans’ organization is reading this.
I’m not a fan of the Code Blue. This is not college football. we are not going to dress in the same colors. I do appreciate that the team gives away t-shirts for the event and they looked better than in the previous two years. I’ll probably wear mine to work on Friday when I trash-talk my Steeler co-worker.
T-Rac was in midseason form. He had more costume changes than at a Lady Gaga concert and the crowd that seemed kind of bored at the unexpected blowout reacted well to him throwing a couple of t-shirts into the crowd. Hello, we got a free shirt at the gate.
Raider fans were sparse but brought their A game in terms of bad jerseys. I only saw one JaMarcus Russell but witnessed a Stuart Schweigert and Charles Woodson. The Raiders have been in a Super Bowl more recently than the Titans, so what am I saying. The Titans fans represented with a David Givens, Tyrone Calico (stay away from #87), a few Kerry Collins and one Al Del Greco.
Even the guy who sits in front of us and complains about every play after the fact had nothing to talk about. Next week we’ll see if this was a mirage when the more defensive-minded Steelers come to town. Warning: These guys can catch passes and they are one of the last teams to keep CJ below 100 yards in a game.
Fantasy boast section: I’m “on pace” for a 3-0 start although all games are in doubt tonight. Holy Matt Forte and Arian Foster. This is the year for waiting on running backs. And when I was nervous about drafting Hakeem Nicks over Wes Welker, let’s just say that for one week I look like a genius.