Saturday, January 10, 2009

Addendum RE: Titans Being Assholes

Jeff Fisher is now 5-6 in the playoffs. 3 were in one year and took a literal (and lateral) miracle to get that far.

Under the Fisher regime:

Jan. 10, 2009 AFC Divisional Baltimore 13 Tennessee 10

Jan. 6, 2008 AFC Wild Card San Diego 17 Tennessee 6

Jan. 10, 2004 AFC Divisional New England 17, Tennessee 14
Jan. 3, 2004 - AFC Wild Card - Tennessee 20 Baltimore 17

Jan. 19, 2003 - AFC Championship - Oakland 41, Tennessee 24
Jan. 11, 2003 - AFC Divisional - Tennessee 34, Pittsburgh 31 OT

Jan. 7, 2001 - AFC Divisional - Baltimore 24, Tennessee 10

Jan. 30, 2000 - Super Bowl XXXIV - St. Louis 23, Tennessee 16
Jan. 23, 2000 - AFC Championship - Tennessee 33, Jacksonville 14
Jan. 16, 2000 - AFC Divisional - Tennessee 19, Indianapolis 16
Jan. 8, 2000 - AFC Wild Card - Tennessee 22, Buffalo 16

I want everyone to take a good long look at some of these games. Their wins were all losable except for the Jaguar game, and all of the losses were winnable, even the Oakland 41-24 game. I'll start with that one first. The Titans had a 17-14 lead and the ball near halftime, and just trying to run the clock out, Robert Holcombe fumbled at the Titan 11. The Raiders then scored a TD to make it 21-17. Then on the ensuing kickoff, John Simon fumbled and the Raiders kicked a field goal. It was 24-17 after holding the Raiders in check and staying with them. Turnovers lost that game. The only time I really believe in momentum is when a ton of negative plays happen at once like that.

Going back to 2000, the Titans by all means should have blown the Bills out of the water, had the lead the whole game until near the end of the 4th quarter, and were down 16-15 and needed that miracle play to win. The following week, the Titans got lucky when Colts returner Terrence Wilkins grazed the out-of-bounds line during a return TD, a play that was challenged and overturned. It would have been 16-16 at that point but the Colts went 3-and-out on the next series.

The only complete win was against Jacksonville in the AFC Championship. Then they lost the Super Bowl to the Rams due to some pretty sketchy play: that bomb from Warner to Bruce in which Anthony Dorsett got way out of position and then the 1-yard-short play in which the pass should have crossed the goal line at least, and not left it up to chance.

Then the embarassing 2001 loss to the Ravens, in which they commanded the game and could only muster a 10-10 tie for most of the game, had a field goal blocked and returned for a TD and that Ray Lewis interception sealed the deal. In this game, Dainon Sidney got called for a 15-yard fair catch interference penalty that led to a Ravens TD. More bad fundamental play.

They got an extremely fortunate running-into-the-kicker call against Pittsburgh in 2003. That game could have gone either way. Nedney had three tries to kick that field goal to win it in OT. This game was only close because of, yes, turnovers. A 14-0 lead turned into a 20-14 deficit after three of them.

Already discussed the Raider game, now on to the next year where they played the Ravens at Baltimore and snuck out of there with a win. That was a year in which Tennessee was technically the better team but had to go to Baltimore because of the stupid playoff system.

The next game was the game I will always refer to as the "Drew Bennett Catches Everything in Sight Except for the Easy Pass at the End of the Game...Game." I remember a lot of talk about New England warming up the football for Vinatieri for his game-winner, but really, that game was Bennett letting that ball go through his hands in deep Patriot territory and a potential game-tying field goal went out the door. He only caught 3 passes, but it seemed like all of them were beautiful. Then he drops the easy one. You know what else happened before that play? Yeah, intentional grounding and a holding call pushed them out of field goal range. Really, discipline not a strong suit under Fisher. Ever.

They were mismatched against the Chargers last year. That game you could really just shrug and say, "Build for next year."

Now next year has come and the penalties and turnovers remain. We all like the Fisher philosophy of hard-hitting defenses and whatnot, but the other teams seem to keep out of trouble on both sides of the ball and they win because of it.



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