Finally! This Is What It Feels Like!
Watching Kenny Britt jump up and grab that ball yesterday, I suddenly saw the Titans do things that always seem to happen to them.
That 99-yard drive. Holy crap, how many times had this thing been set up for your usual Titans mediocrity, starting with that first 4th down way back in their own territory? Then you see Kenny Britt make sure he made the catch to keep the drive going. In the past, I swear receivers were looking for pass interference penalties rather than just catch the ball.
And weren't you just waiting for someone on the offensive line to get a false start penalty and stall the drive?
For the first time since the Miracle play and the subsequent playoff run to the Super Bowl, I felt genuine excitement for the Titans.
Last week I brought up the teams the Titans are going to have to jump in order to get to the playoffs. This past week was profitable for this team as many of the competition took steps back this weekend. Here's the update:
The Denver Broncos have the first wild card spot by themselves right now, with a 7-4 record. Remaining schedule: KC, Indy, Oakland, Philly, and KC again.
Two teams fell to 6-5 and one joined their ranks. Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, and Baltimore.
Pittsburgh (Oakland, Cleveland, Green Bay, Baltimore, Miami)
Jacksonville (Houston, Miami, Indy, New England, Cleveland)
Baltimore (Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Oakland)
The 5-6 group got very crowded:
Miami (New England, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Houston, Pittsburgh), by far the toughest remaining schedule
NY Jets (Buffalo, Tampa, Atlanta, Indy, Cincy)...the Jets might actually have a good chance of sneaking in.
Houston (Jacksonville, Seattle, St. Louis, Miami, New England)
Tennessee (Indy, St. Louis, Miami, San Diego, Seattle)
So, 3 teams in this group won yesterday, and 4 lost. Profitable, and it means that the Titans are now 1 game out of the 2nd wild card, barring the tiebreakers, which means they're probably still technically 2 games out. But hope for some upsets and hope for the Titans to keep it going. The chances are still slim, but, as Jim Carrey said to Lauren Holly in Dumb and Dumber after she told him there was a 1 in a million chance that she'd ever go out with him, "So you're saying there's a chance!"
A couple of asides:
The Titans, under Young, drove 99 yards in 2:36. Two weeks ago, Bill Belichick went for it on 4th down with 2:08 left and the prospect of giving Peyton Manning the ball at around his own 30, as if knifing down the field in that amount of time was going to be the most monumental task of his career. More and more, this risk seems justified to me.
There have been a couple of "Fisher could have lost us this game" moments in the last couple of weeks. Last week, that pooch kick which was taken to the 35 after being caught around the 20-25 yard line, giving the Texans more than enough opportunity to get in position to kick a field goal to tie the game. I have never been a fan of the pooch kick for that very reason. It is the special teams equivalent of the prevent defense, where ultra-conservative play allows liberal amounts of yards all in the hope that you don't give up a huge play which is rare in the first place.
Yesterday, it was the play at the end of the 1st half. As much as we've seen Young grow up this season, someone needed to tell him to throw the ball out of the end zone if he didn't have a play so they could have kicked a field goal. It's one of those things, we don't know how the game would have been played after that, there's no guarantee the same plays and actions on the field would have occurred in the 2nd half, but if they had, it would have been nice to allow Bironas to kick a field goal and win it towards the end. Then again, I can't guarantee Bironas would have kicked the field goal...in either instance! Ahhh! Damn, Chris, can't you just be happy with the amazing game-winning touchdown? OK, yes...I guess.