Archive for December, 2006

Titans Miss Playoff Berth at End of Magical Season

December 31, 2006

The Titans’ magical season came to an end on a wet Sunday afternoon in Nashville. Tennessee needed four things to happen to make the playoffs, and three of them happened. The only one that didn’t was a Titans’ win over the Patriots. Tennessee needed help from Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco, and all of them won. But the only game in the Titans’ control was the one they couldn’t control.
New England coach Bill Belichick unexpectedly left Tom Brady, and most other starters, in the game well into the fourth quarter, as the Patriots rolled to a 40-23 victory. The Pats outplayed the Titans on both sides of the ball and deserved to win.
Belichick did something in the fourth quarter that left me with mixed feelings, when he inserted Vinny Testaverde, to pad Testaverde’s record. The 43-year old Vinny threw his first TD pass of the year to extend his record of seasons with a TD pass to 20 years. (more…)

Tennessee vs New England Pregame Analysis

December 29, 2006

The final regular season game of the year has playoff implications for the 8-7 Titans, something thought to be improbable after an 0-5 start. Tennessee must win to remain in contention for a playoff berth, and will also need help from Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco.
The Titans will face the 11-4 AFC East champion New England Patriots, who currently have the AFC number four seed in the playoffs. A Patriot win plus an Indianapolis loss would give New England the third seed.
Field: Grass. Forecast: A 60% chance of showers, mostly cloudy, high near 66°, S wind 10-15 mph, with gusts to 25 mph. Kickoff: 12:00 noon, CT. (more…)

Tennessee vs New England Injury Report

December 28, 2006

Note: This report will be updated daily or as necessary.
Tennessee Titans:
Questionable –
DT Tony Brown (Knee), TE Casey Cramer (Neck), RB Travis Henry (Ankle), DE Travis LaBoy (Knee), TE Bo Scaife (Ankle), DT Robaire Smith (Toe), WR Bobby Wade (Ankle)
Wednesday report: Brown injured his knee during practice and was carted off the field. An MRI was negative, but the extent of the injury is uncertain. Henry, LaBoy, Scaife, and Wade did not practice. (more…)

Guest article: Titans Offensive Play Breakdown vs Jaguars

December 27, 2006

Thanks to Tom, a friend and regular reader of Total Titans, who often adds insightful comments to my articles. He’s been blogging for several years on various topics, including occasional articles on the Titans.
Tom has been kind enough to contribute the following breakdown of the Titans’ offensive plays in the Jacksonville game. It’s a good-looking chart showing down-and-distance, yardline, formation, etc., with Tom’s expert opinion added. It took a lot of time to review that much tape, with so many comments, and we should all appreciate that.
I’d also appreciate your feedback on what he’s done. Thanks for the good work, Tom!

Week Sixteen Game Notes and Tuesday Reflections

December 26, 2006

From some of my game notes, with afterthoughts added.
When the schedule for the season came out, Travis Henry circled the Buffalo game. I did too, mentally, but for different reasons. At the time, I expected the Titans to have a losing record and be out of playoff contention by this time in the season. Having to play on the road on Christmas Eve did not sound appealing, especially in the wind and cold Buffalo is known for.
Prior to gametime, I reflected on several other non-game related things. The Music City Miracle came to mind of course. Craig Hentrich and Benji Olson were the only players on that team who are still on the active roster. Zach Piller, also on that team, is on Injured Reserve, and Frank Wycheck, whose lateral sparked the controversy, is now with Titans Radio as the color commentator. (more…)

Tennessee Week Sixteen Postgame Quotes

December 25, 2006

Jeff Fisher – “Our instruction was to kick the ball just short and let them touch it and the half’s over. Shows you what can happen with a second left. That’s the thing that is so important about this win and it’s a great learning experience. You can’t afford to have those type things happen, yet we were able to overcome that. This is the first time that we’ve overcome mistakes and won a ballgame.”
Kevin Mawae – “We’re making the unconventional seem pretty mundane. Games like this, it’s a testament to how much we’ve come along and guys trusting in each other and guys that need to make plays making plays.”
Travis Henry – “It feels real good because our playoff hopes are still alive. This is one of the games I circled, when I found out we were playing Buffalo.” (more…)

Titans Give Fans a Win for Christmas

December 24, 2006

Tennessee scored ten unanswered fourth-quarter points and held on just enough for a 30-29 victory over the Bills. The Titans’ offensive line pounded the smaller Bills defenders as Tennessee had 215 total rushing yards. Travis Henry carried 25 times for 135 yards, not including a 57-yard run called back on a penalty. Henry has now surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, the third time he’s done that in his career. It was the Cheese’s first return to Buffalo since the Bills traded him to Tennessee last summer.
In what has become commonplace for the Titans lately, it was another crazy win with a wild ending. With less than a minute remaining, Buffalo had a fourth-and-five at the Titans 28-yard line, with a chance to kick a 46-yard go-ahead field goal. Their field goal team went on the field and then came back off, apparently because of the stiff wind Rian Lindell would have to kick into. J.P. Losman’s desperation pass under pressure was intercepted by Reynaldo Hill, sealing the Titans’ win. (more…)

The Music City Miracle Revisited

December 23, 2006

When Tennessee plays Buffalo, longtime Titans fans can’t help but think about the Music City Miracle.
Here’s the info for new Titans’ fans. In a 1999 playoff game, the Bills kicked a late field goal to take a 16-15 lead over the Titans with only seconds left on the clock. Titans special teams coach Alan Lowry pulled a play from the bottom of his bag, one he had been reserving for a special occasion.
The play, named “Homerun Throwback”, called for TE Frank Wycheck to get the ball, run to the right, and lateral cross-field on the kick return. Despite a change in circumstances on the play, it worked, and Tennessee won the game after a review by the replay official, who ruled that Wycheck’s lateral to Kevin Dyson was not an illegal forward pass.
Buffalo fans would later call the play “Homerun Throwforward”, contending it was a forward lateral. Bills owner Ralph Wilson would later say the play ripped the heart out of the team for years and set the franchise backwards.
Pat Ryan, the former UT and NY Jet quarterback, was the color commentator on Titans Radio at the time. As soon as Dyson caught Wycheck’s lateral, Ryan said, “He’s got something,” a phrase he repeated as the wall of blockers unfolded and Dyson ran down the field unmolested. Announcer Mike Keith also made a great call when he excitedly proclaimed, “There are no flags on the field! The Titans have pulled a miracle!”
Titans All Access, the weekly Titans TV show, has this review of the play, including analysis by Lowry and comments from Wycheck. Enjoy!

Brandon Jones Honored with Ed Block Courage Award

December 22, 2006

I was watching from the stands as the play unfolded a little more than a year ago. Brandon Jones was running a deep out route, as memory serves, and he fell to the ground making his cut. It was raining a little that day and I thought he simply slipped on the wet turf. The pass from Steve McNair was already in the air and with Jones on the ground, the 49er defender had an easy pick and ran it back down the sideline for a touchdown.
Concern began to set in when Jones didn’t get up and the trainers and Doc Burton went onto the field. The concern intensified when Jeff Fisher walked across the field for a look too. Fisher doesn’t normally do that unless the injury is serious.
My concerns were alleviated a little when Jones walked off the field under his own power. A day or two later, however, an MRI confirmed Jones had torn an ACL, the same injury which had sidelined Tyrone Calico, Tank Williams, Peter Sirmon, and Jacob Bell the year before. All were slowed the following year, nowhere near their former selves. (more…)

Around the League Week Sixteen Forecast

December 21, 2006

With two weeks left to go in the regular season, many of this week’s games have playoff implications. I’ve listed those below and placed this week’s selections against the spread in boldface.
The Titans are hard to pick against after all the ways they’ve found to win in the last five games. For my pregame analysis of the Bills and Titans, please read my article on the game here.
Buffalo -4½ vs Tennessee
Titans 20
Bills 17
An elimination game. Winner stays alive, loser waits until next year. (more…)