Reflections on Titans vs Colts

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It’s a little unusual when a game goes pretty much as expected, but that was my experience in Sunday’s Titans-Colts game.
Indy kept eight men in the box and was effective in slowing the Titans’ running game. It’s not necessary to look at the stats to find out if Bob Sanders had a big game. He was all over the field making plays, almost making me wonder if Indy had more than one #21 in their lineup.
Although the Titans had good blocking at the point of attack, the Colts’ defensive speed prevented them from going far beyond the line of scrimmage. LenDale White had a decent game running the ball but Chris Brown didn’t.
The Colts dared Vince Young to beat them and he couldn’t, despite getting man coverage on his receivers for much of the day.
Young wasn’t impressive throwing the ball, but got some results, and didn’t always look decisive when he had opportunities to run. Vince was effective though when he did take off.
I thought the Titans defense played rather well. They didn’t give up the deep play, allowing Manning to nickel and dime them underneath. Not a surprise and not a real problem. You’ve got to give something and should expect Peyton to take advantage of it. Pick your poison.
The Colts had some good luck on the blocked field goal which still made it over the crossbar.
Don’t you like those four WR sets that spread out the defense? They give Vince a chance to make a good run and I thought that’s what would happen on the touchdown pass to Roydell Williams. It was one of those plays when you think, “Oh, no!” when Vince throws the ball, followed by “Way to go!”.
It’s good to see Roydell step his game up. It will be homecoming for him next week when the Titans go to New Orleans and he should be pumped. Both for playing in front of his family and friends and also from looking at the film of the Saints secondary.
In the end, the Titans just weren’t quite good enough to win Sunday. But they had a chance and it was a good game to watch.
When the Titans made it to the Colts’ 47-yard line, I wondered what Jeff Fisher would do on fourth down with just seconds left on the clock. A field goal attempt would have been 65 yards and Rob Bironas is capable of that distance. His 60-yarder to beat the Colts last year made it with several yards to spare and I’ve seen him kick for that distance in training camp. But that’s right at the edge of his range.
Even though the play turned out to be a cluster, trying to pick up the first down and getting Bironas a little closer was the right call in my mind. Who knows if more magic would have taken place?

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11 Responses to “Reflections on Titans vs Colts”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Good points, Dan. Agreed that if Jones made that catch it would have put Bironas in range. I also agree with you on White – that’s why he started instead of Brown

  2. Dan Says:

    A couple of things. The Titans lost this game, the colts did not win it.
    I thought the defense played especially well. We have not gave up a 100 yard game yet. However, I am a little concerned about our pass defense since Garrad and Manning both had good games vs us, it was however expected that Manning was going to be good.
    I think Norm needs to take the handcuffs off of Vince and let him throw the football down field more. All I saw during the game was little dink and dunk passes and vs a good team like Indy that won’t win football games for us. VY is ready to take the next step as a passer.
    One thing that I was pissed about while watching the game was the unsports man like conduct against Vince at the end of the second half. Not only did it kill our drive but it let Indy score.
    Also, I think it was Brandon Jones, not quit sure, but if he catches that football at the end of the game we win.

  3. Dan Says:

    I forgot to mention one thing. It seems that when there is a fast defense White is a better runner because he is more physical, like what happened in the Indy game. And when there is a more physical defense, like the Jags, Brown seems to run better. Just something I’ve noticed, do you guys agree?

  4. Garland Says:

    About White or Brown starting, the typical reaction to Game 1 is to say “Brown is better, so he should start.” I wonder if White starting is permanent rather than situational as Andrew suggests. Couldn’t Fisher be saying “Brown played better coming off the bench, so that’s what we’re going to keep doing until it stops working”? Could it not be that Chris Brown is just better being used that way, so why mess with what works? Does Brown get discouraged because he doesn’t “get the start” (just words on a gameday piece of paper if they keep splitting reps like they have been) or does he understand the unimportance of who is on the field for the first snap? Chris seems to be much more mature and have a better perspective than this time last year. I’m glad to see him having some success, and I look forward to seeing him and LenDale piling up the yard and punishing defenses.
    I liked the look they showed a couple of times yesterday with Young, White, and Brown all lined up in the backfield. Once they ran a read-option where VY decided to hand to Brown inside (I think), and the other time it was a designed pass play (which I think was successful, but I don’t remember for sure). I think a defense has to hate that look because they can do so many different things out of it.

  5. Garo Dykstra Says:

    I hate losing, but it was a good game that we just came up short on. As Fisher mentioned, the Colts had some good fortune (the tipped field goal and the very quick clock operator leaving the Colts 1-second left before half.) But that happens when your a superbowl winner. The ball bounced there way alot…literally, on the fumble from there TE…three Titans, 1 Colt, the Colts gets the fumble recovery. Indy is too good to beat with those kinds of things.
    They had some drop balls and that kicker doesnt miss often, so it evened out in the end. The personal foul call on VY was crap, as it should’ve been off setting, but they techincally could’ve called Hope for interence on the Finnegan pick, so that evened out.
    In the end, we went toe-to-toe with the defending Superbowl champs and came up short. Credit them but dont discredit us…we played them better than most. I had a slightly similar feeling to the Superbowl game…as I felt we took everything they had and still almost won. I actually wished we could’ve played again right there. Unlike the last couple of years, I cant wait to play them again. Even Peyton said he felt fortunate to get a win.
    Would like to see Brandon Jones catch that ball and quite possibly win it in the end, but it happens and reminds us that were still a young team on the uphill swing that will only get better. I do stand by my earlier notion that the days of being blowned out are over…we can play with anyone and if we do lose, they will earn it. Im sure that Colts offense is very sore this morning, as our defense was thumping pretty hard. Holding that offense to that amount of field goals is a very good accomplishment.
    I thought VY had one of his better games. He was accurate, put up a little under 200 yards, threw a razor sharp TD, and made plays running when he had no business running, crediting Indy with a good plan. Bob Sanders is a beast no doubt and is the heart and soul of that defense. Just goes to show you how good VY is when he made him wiff in the open field. (Side note: Bob Sanders was still available in the 2nd round when Reese drafted Ben Troupe.)
    Despite them having 8 or 9 guys in the box, we still ran for 148 yards which is impressive in its own right. Vince hit Roydell deep…which is hard to due on that Cover 2. Roydell overall was impressive which was good to finally see. Defense contained quite possibly the best WR duo ever. We still havent given up a 100 yarder rusher yet. Bullock had a great game. LenDale played well as expected. Griffin had another good day on special teams and I fully expect him to break a TD return soon. He’s close.
    All in all, I was impressed with the loss. I think people forget where we were a year ago verus right now…especially with VY. Everyone seems to be waiting for him to fail or try and blame him for everything by focusing on his “weaker” areas. He’s in only his second year, and if it wasnt for him…we are 0-2. Jax lost because of trying to contain him opening it up for everyone else…and VY was the only thing offensively that kept us in the game vs Indy. He passed better than Drew Brees did against Indy.
    Were closing the gap on the elite teams. Cant wait for Monday night. Saints will be at home for the first time but they have looked horrible. Look for VY to have another good day passing…possibly putting up big numbers.

  6. brian Says:

    Garo,
    Ido believe that the Titans can hold their heads up after this game, but i guess i saw a slightly different Vince out there. Yes he threw better against the Colts than Brees, but would credit that more to the coaches game plan than to basic ability. I think that Vince has moved forward since last season, but he often looks unsure of himself during the last two games and tend to attribute that to his greater awareness and vision of the field as compared to last year. The thing that is killing him right now is his inability to throw into the flats…his mechanics when throwing are awful, and the coaches need to hound him about that until he gets solved. We are leaving way too many yards out there,and now we have receivers that block well down field so being able to dump it accurately for a couple of yards opens up the possibility of plenty of yards after the catch.
    I also have to say that the Titans’ 2 minute drill needs some work. Too often guys looked confused about their assignments, or winded and Vince got spooked when the gaps filled.
    BUT this team is MUCH better than last year. Their effort has been strong, and more importantly they have been executing the game plan. Last year the Titan’s had to count a big play or two in order to win, this year they just have to hold on to the ball and not give up the big play.
    I’m ready for some monday night football!

  7. Garo Dykstra Says:

    Brian,
    I agree with most of what you said. Norm Chow is a perfectionalist who is notorious for details. So dont worry about someone having to hound VY. Not to mention VY is a work-a-holic himself. According to Chow, and I would agree, that its VY’s footwork, not his throwing motion, that is the problem at times. Its when he cant/doesnt step into the throw he becomes “off.” At the same time though, he’s made some perfect throws. I’d guess it to be 50/50 between “perfect throw” vs “off throw”…which I will gladly take at this point in his career. The same can still be said for for alot of veteran QB’s, much less the younger ones.
    I agree that he doesnt look “sure of himself” yet, but I think its mostly due to both him not finding a groove yet and the fact we’ve played two very good teams that in general defend the pass very well. From what I’ve seen, only Manning and Brady are in mid-season form right now. According to Tim & Pat on NFL Radio, it takes teams about 4 games worth of game film to adjust to teams gameplans for a specific player. Teams have had all offseason to prepare for VY. I think we’ll see VY go back into superman mode soon due to Fisher/Chow seeing what teams are trying to do to prevent VY from getting comfortable.
    Alot of it is micro-nagging by us though. Were basically talking about a handfull of throws per game and when you are a running team, your only going to get a limited number of throws. I think we expect the world of him, and if we get anything less, we chalk it up as a negative or a bad day. VY has set his own bar very high. I laughed at myself yesterday when I said that my biggest complaint against VY in the game was he didnt do enough “making something out of nothing.” That’s a pretty silly comment if you think about it.
    By all accounts of people who know alot more than I do, he managed the game very well and didnt turn the ball over to a very turnover-proned defense, so thats good enough for me.

  8. brian Says:

    i think vince and the titans are just fine, and when they workout a few more details they’ll be great.

  9. Tony from the UK Says:

    I’m sorry to have to correct you folks on the other side of the Atlantic, the real reason the Titans lost was that the game was shown on British TV. Going back to the the Oilers, 90% of all Titans/Oilers games shown over here have been losses.
    Seriously, after having seen Sunday’s match I feel a lot better about this year’s Titans. They managed to hold the Colts so that the last play still had the possibility of putting them in a winning situation.
    One thing I noticed from the Colts, Peyton Manning seemed to do a lot less of his arm flapping “chicken dance” on Sunday, or maybe it was just my view.
    We get Monday Night Football over here and I think that next week we will see the Titans win on British TV.

  10. Garo Dykstra Says:

    The only thing that bothers me about Titans on MNF next week is having to put up with ESPN and trying to sit through a game called by Tony Kornhiser. I like Tony, but he has no business being in the booth for MNF. Awful.

  11. brian Says:

    Tony,
    As a Bluenose, i’m begining to think the same thing about the Birmingham City matches i watch…please keep the tele off. 😉

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