Peyton is the Nail

Peyton Manning makes a heckuva nail.

I expected the Titans to lose today. They had nothing to play for and the Colts had everything at stake. A win meant a division title, seven in eight seasons, and a three seed for next week’s wild card playoff game.

The teams were evenly matched. In two games, the Colts outscored the Titans by five. I know the Titans scored on the last play of the first game to cut a nine-point lead to two. The Titans were one fourth-and-one attempt from having a shot to win that game.

In the opener the Colts scored three pretty quick touchdowns and after that, the defense tightened. The reason why that was possible is that Peyton’s missing his main targets. Dallas Clark’s making more plays than Jacob Tamme. Blair White doesn’t always know where to go when Austin Collie does. It’s harder to sustain drives because Peyton has to know where his guys are going all the time. So every time the Colts had a chance to put the game away, the Titans shut them down.

In a throwback to the team’s 5-2 start, Michael Griffin recovered a fumble in the final two minutes and ran the ball back into field goal range. The 5-2 Titans would have put the game away. They’d get the TD or run the clock down and Bironas would kick the field goal. Nope. Not the 1-8 Titans that finished the year. Kevin Matthews, the center who was a practice squad guy two weeks ago, flubbed the snap to Kerry Collins. The Colts got the ball back and by Manning or by ref, they were getting in field goal range to end it.

I don’t think the Colts have what it takes, just like every team that dispatched the Titans starting in San Diego. Look at the teams that beat the Titans. You have the Dolphins, the Redskins, the Jags, the Texans, the Chiefs, and the Colts twice. Only two of those teams are in the playoffs, and the Chiefs/Colts might be underdogs at home next week.

Chris Johnson was the kind of dynamic running back who was the 2009 Offensive Player of the Year. He only did it for one drive, but it was the game-tying drive. Too many times was he hit in the backfield, only to see more blue-clad defenders if he got past the first guy.

I wonder if the plethora of teams searching for a new coach might make the Titans think twice about jettisoning Fisher. I would think this is a plum job to pick up for the right coach, as this team easily could have gone 10-6. If the Titans can find their Mike Tomlin, and Tomlin wasn’t the obvious choice at the time, there isn’t going to be a long rebuilding period. My first recommendation would be to sign Kerry Collins to an incentive-based contract. Then they’d draft a QB of the future in the first or second round. Let someone else get Vince Young. No, the Titans will not get a draft pick for him. I’d offer Randy Moss a contract, but only if the new offensive coordinator (assuming new coach means new coaching staff) agrees to put him on the other side of Kenny Britt. We might need to rename him Kenny Brittle. Pay Chris Johnson. I’ll get to the rest but I’m watching two teams play for the NFC West title who could beat the Titans by a field goal.

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