Archive for November, 2007

Titans vs Texans preview

November 30, 2007

The Tennessee Titans (6-5) will host the Houston Texans (5-6) Sunday with both teams trying to rebound from ugly losses last week. The Titans lost on the road 35-6 to the Bengals while the Texans fell 27-17 to the Browns.
The best news for the Titans is the expected return of Albert Haynesworth, who practiced Wednesday. If Albert can get on the field for 30 downs, it will be a huge boost for the struggling Titans defense.
Field: grass. Forecast: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm, with a high near 66°. SSW wind 15-20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. (more…)


The view from the the top of Paul Brown Stadium

November 27, 2007

It’s tough following a team from afar. Easier in this day of the internet and TV able to show every game, but still tough. This goes double with respect to football, where the media can only capture a small portion of what’s going on with the 22 guys (supposed to be) on the field on any given play. Living in the Chicago area, with that whole “job” thing, it’s tough to make the weekly trek to whatever destination the Titans are playing at next week. Unless you want to lock yourself into flights, generally best booked well in advance and inflexible w/r/t the rest of life, the viewing destinations are limited to those places you can make it home from on the same day. I decided Cincinnati, just short of 300 miles away, was one of those. What follows is an occasionally discursive look at my trek there, though I’ll try to concentrate my remarks on the Titans, the Bengals, and Paul Brown Stadium.

The wheels are falling off: Bengals dismantle Titans 35-6

November 25, 2007

The Titans suffered their third consecutive defeat in devastating fashion today, losing to the Bengals 35-6. The embarrassing loss leaves the Titans with a 6-5 record and sole possession of third place in the AFC South division. As a result of Cleveland’s victory over Houston (next week’s Titan opponent), Jeff Fisher’s squad is now one game behind the Browns in the race for the second wild card spot.
In what is quickly becoming a recurring theme for the Titans, Albert Haynesworth’s presence in the middle of the defensive line was missed yet again. Cincinnati’s 26th ranked rushing attack had a field day running the football, accumulating 148 yards on the ground.
As a result of Haynesworth’s absence, the Cincinnati running backs were able to consistently reach the second and third lines of the Titans’ defense today, forcing the Titans’ linebackers and secondary to make the majority of the team’s tackles. The Titans are now 0-3 without Big Al in the starting lineup and if the team has any hope of qualifying for the postseason, Haynesworth needs to return to the lineup ASAP.
The Titans’ pass defense also suffered from an awful performance. Carson Palmer completed 32 of his 38 passing attempts for 283 yards, throwing three touchdowns and one interception. Haynesworth’s absence takes away the one player on their defensive line that consistently commands a double team, so as a result, Palmer was able to sit back and torch the Titans’ secondary all game long. Mr. Ocho-Cinco himself, Chad Johnson, tormented Titan defensive backs throughout the afternoon, reeling in 12 receptions for 103 yards while scoring three touchdowns.
Offensively, the Titans had their struggles as well. Vince Young threw for 246 yards but was unable to lead his team into the end zone. Justin Gage continued to be the lone bright spot in the receiving game, catching 4 passes for 98 yards, including a 73 yard reception that would have been a touchdown if only he was able to remain inbounds. Over the last three ballgames, Gage has caught 17 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown, while emerging as Vince Young’s go-to guy in the Titans’ passing offense.
As a result of being behind, the Titans were forced to abandon their running game early in the contest. In limited opportunities, LenDale White failed to make a positive impact on the game, rushing for only 27 yards on 8 carries against Cincinnati’s 27th ranked rush defense. Chris Brown had an eerily similar performance, amassing 28 yards on 8 carries. Brown also had an apparent touchdown called back as a result of a Cincinnati replay challenge.
What appeared to be a promising season for the Titans has undoubtedly taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks. Strengths such as the running game and the play of the defense have turned into weaknesses during the Titans’ three-game losing streak. With only five games remaining in what appears to be an extremely competitive AFC playoff race, the Titans will need to get their act together pretty quickly if they are going to be playing football in January.

Titans vs Bengals: Keys to victory

November 24, 2007

The Titans (6-4) will attempt to remain in playoff contention on Sunday when they head to the Queen City to face the underachieving Bengals (3-7). Playing in a division that currently lacks a team with a losing record; the Titans will be looking to avoid a three game losing streak as they try to keep pace with the Jags and the division-leading Colts in the tough AFC South.
Tennessee will be playing a Cincinnati team that has failed to live up to the hype and expectations that surrounded them at the beginning of the year. Despite possessing blue-chip receiving talent such as the loquacious Chad Johnson, T.J. “Who’s your momma” Houshmandzadeh, the “other” Chris Henry, and a franchise caliber quarterback (Carson Palmer) delivering them the football, the Bengals have resembled the Bungles of a decade ago as they have descended to the bottom of the AFC North division.
If the Titans are to emerge victorious and claim their 7th victory of the season, the following objectives must be accomplished:
Stop Cincinnati’s passing game
Despite their poor record, the Bengals possess more than enough firepower on offense to remain competitive with most of the league’s teams. A team with a group of receivers as talented as the Bengals’ troika is capable of exploiting any defense. The Titans will need to put pressure on Palmer and receive a good performance from the defensive backfield if they are going to put the clamps on Cincy’s dangerous passing game.
Get a stellar performance from Vince Young 
This week, Vince Young will be facing one of the league’s worst pass defenses. Cincinnati’s 26th ranked pass defense has given up an average of 243.1 yards per game. Their porous pass defense is 2nd in the league in touchdowns allowed (22) while also allowing opposing quarterbacks to attain a cumulative 97.3 quarterback rating against them. If the Titans’ receivers can just hang onto the football (easier said than done, unfortunately), expect Vince Young to have a solid performance this Sunday.
Win games you are supposed to win
This is a game that a legitimate playoff contender is supposed to win. Teams with genuine aspirations of making the postseason are expected to defeat bad teams such as the Bengals. The Titans’ remaining schedule consists of five games against opponents who currently don’t have a winning record, so taking care of business against less than stellar teams is the path the Titans must take if they are to reach the playoffs.

Tennessee at Cincinnati preview

November 23, 2007

Two former AFC Central division rivals will reacquaint themselves with each other when the Tennessee Titans (6-4) meet the Cincinnati Bengals (3-7) Sunday.
The Bengals hosted the Arizona Cardinals last week and ended up on the short end of a 35-27 score. The Titans are in a shortened week after losing to the Broncos in Denver Monday night.
Field: grass. Forecast: Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers. High in the lower 50s.

Talking turkey about Albert Haynesworth

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, Titans fans! Let’s talk turkey.
In football, it all starts up front and the man who’s been front and center in the Titans defense this year has been Albert Haynesworth.
There can be no doubt that Haynesworth was having a career year prior to his hamstring injury which caused him to miss the last two games. A quick look at the stats shows the Titans were yielding only 66 rushing yards per game in their first eight games, best in the league, with Albert being the stopper in the middle. The Titans then proceeded to surrender 166 yards per game in each of their next two outings, which were without Big Al. (more…)

Thoughts on the Bengals

November 21, 2007

Jeff Fisher confirmed today that RB Chris Henry has dropped his appeal of his 4-game suspension. That makes him the second Chris Henry to miss time pursuant to a suspension this year. The other? One of the Titans’ opponents this Sunday, WR Chris Henry of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals’ Chris Henry missed the first 8 games of the season, which means he’s back and played his second game of the year this past Sunday, in the Bengals’ 35-27 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. I saw most of that game, and thought I’d share with you some what the Titans might expect this Sunday.

My, how times have changed: Titans lose again

November 20, 2007

What a difference a couple of weeks make. It was only two weeks ago when the Titans were 6-2 and emerging as one of the league’s top teams. The team’s great start was directly attributed to the strong play of their defense and a running game that was amongst the league’s best. Albert Haynesworth had emerged as a force in each game as he gobbled up quarterbacks and running backs on a consistent basis while wreaking havoc on the defensive line.
Unfortunately, last night’s loss to Denver marked the Titans’ second consecutive defeat. Haynesworth’s presence was missed yet again as the Broncos churned out 166 yards on the ground, which coincidentally, was the same amount of rushing yards that the Titans allowed to the Jags a week before.
The running game suffered from its second consecutive inept showing, with LenDale White accounting for only 42 yards against the Broncos’ 31st ranked defense against the run. Combined with his output against the Jaguars the week before, White has only rushed for 54 yards on 21 carries in the last two games, averaging a meager 2.6 yards per carry. As the featured back in the Titans’ offense, White will need to step up as the end of the season approaches.
One of the bright spots from last night’s loss was the re-emergence of Vince Young as a reliable threat in this offense. Young passed for a season-high 305 yards, despite throwing two interceptions. In addition to throwing the football, Young also led the team in rushing with 74 yards on 11 carries while displaying the type of running ability that was evident in last season’s rookie of the year performance.
Despite several dropped passes by his receivers, Young’s ability to consistently make plays kept the Titans in the ball game. If the team is going to make a run at the postseason, Young will need to continue to make a positive impact by throwing and running the football.
At 6-4, the Titans are still very much alive in the AFC playoff race. Five of the Titans’ next six opponents (Cincy, Houston, San Diego, Kansas City and the Jets), are teams that currently don’t have a winning record, so the remaining schedule appears to be a favorable one.
However, regardless of how easy the schedule may be for the remainder of the season, the Titans will need to revert back to the consistent brand of football that was evident during their 6-2 start if they are going to attain their goal of reaching the postseason.

Big plays lead Broncos to win over Titans on Monday Night Football

November 20, 2007

The Titans made their second and final appearance of the 2007 season on Monday Night Football, and ended up on the wrong end of a 34-20 final tally. The Bronco attack was keyed by several big plays, as all four of their touchdowns were plays of over 40 yards. For more details, see my liveblog of the game.

MNF Liveblog: Titans@Broncos

November 19, 2007

Welcome to the liveblog of tonight’s Monday Night Football game, where the Titans will be taking on the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium. This is the Titans’ second and final appearance on Monday Night Football for the year. Back in Week 3, they defeated the Saints, 31-14. For more on that game, see that liveblog. For some previous thoughts and the whole liveblog, please see after the jump.