Monday, October 25, 2010

The Titans Are 5-2, So Why I Am I Not Excited?

Yesterday, the Titans beat the Eagles 37-19. On paper, that looks like a dominating performance. Of course it wasn't. The score is skewed by an interception return with no time on the clock. Still, the Titans came back from 19-10 and gained control of the game with a performance from Kerry Collins to Kenny Britt that could not be stopped.

I'm still not excited. I can't figure out why. One thing is, once Vince Young gets back, are we going to see the Vince Young/Chris Johnson/Kenny Britt show? Was this the game in which Kenny Britt became an elite receiver, and now defenses are going to have to worry about what he's doing and not throw everything at Chris Johnson like they've been doing? I mean, that whole Kenny Britt thing yesterday seemed like a fluke, right?

And yet, in the five wins this year, the Titans have scored 30 points or more every game (OK, so they only scored 29 against the Giants). They have scored more points than any team in the league by a pretty wide margin. The two teams closest to them are Oakland, by virtue of their 59 point performance yesterday (and with a bit of reason, that means it doesn't count), and New England. And this is without Chris Johnson putting up any of the kind of numbers he was putting up last year. Johnson has 662 yards and 7 TD through 7 games, whereas he had 824 yards and 5 TD last year.

Stats can be skewed, though. A lot of the Titans' points have been in garbage time. That interception return yesterday, the CJ touchdown last week, and all those Cowboys miscues that led to scores the week before that. As surely as they will be the first team to cross 200 points for the season, this team isn't nearly a dominating offensive team, right? Are my eyes deceiving me?

It really makes me wonder about perception versus reality. We think about the teams with dominating offenses like the Saints and the Colts having great quarterbacks who make names out of their receivers. You see quarterbacks who confidently throw on almost every down, and even when the pass is incomplete, it scares the hell out of you. There's always a "well we didn't get it this time, but we'll probably get it next time" sort of feel to those teams. Whenever you see the Titans throw incomplete passes, your mind is immediately focused on what kind of punt yardage the team is going to get on the inevitable 4th down. And despite having a lackluster pass offense (29th in the league), and not the usual Chris Johnson show, they're scoring points.

And this defense is doing sort of what it did in 1999 when it went to the Super Bowl. It allows tons of yards (23rd in the league in allowing passing yards, 10th against the rush), but it really grinds teams in the red zone. And it also gives all of us heart attacks. I just wonder how long an offense and a defense can play this way over a full season. You would think this would eventually become tiring.

And next week, the Titans play the San Diego Chargers, who are inexplicably 2-5. It would not shock me to see the Chargers find a way to put 40 points on the Titans this upcoming weekend, and then we'll start hearing about how the Chargers always do this. Start slow, and then start coming around. It would make sense that just when the Titans are at their highest and are building confidence in the fan base, they would fall to a Chargers team in which people have begun to lose confidence. Oh, and the Titans/Oilers franchise hasn't beaten the Chargers since 1991. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a weird point spread where a team with a much worse record is still a 3 point favorite (In fact, looking it up, San Diego is a 3 1/2 point favorite right now). That just goes to show, the 5-2 record right now still seems suspect.



At 10/27/2010 04:58:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I really don't think the Chargers are very good (hence picking the Chiefs to win the AFC west in my predictions), but with that being said, the Titans will not win on Sunday. This is the very typical Titans game to lose in the same way they came off a huge victory and blew their wad against the Broncos a few weeks ago.

The Titans, overall, don't match up well against the AFC West for whatever reason with the exception of the Raiders, but in their most important game against the silver and black they lost.

And I'm with you I'm not buying it, and I will not be shocked if this ends up as an 8-8 or even 7-9 season.


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