MNF Liveblog: Titans@Broncos

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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.
The last meeting between the Titans and Broncos came in the 2006 preseason. The Broncos that game thoroughly outplayed the Titans. For one of my initial forays into PBP breakdowns, see what I wrote about that game. One of the recurring themes of that game, and one thing I’m worried about tonight, is the Broncos’ ability to get the Titans DEs out of position. The counter-pitch was a very effective weapon in the running game that night, and the Broncos seem to run more bootlegs than any other team in the league. The Titans have been much better this year at keeping contain than they were at the beginning of last season, but that’s one of the issues I’ll be keeping my eye on tonight.
FYI, the list of inactives is out for tonight, and it’s not good news for the Titans. Benji Olson is out, sending Eugene Amano into the starting lineup at RG. Nick Harper is out, sending Reynaldo Hill into the starting lineup. Albert Haynesworth misses his second straight game, keeping Randy Starks in the starting lineup. Casey Cramer is officially inactive, with Ben Hartsock stepping into the starting lineup as the 2nd TE. Practically, that means you’ll probably see an awful lot of singleback sets tonight, and more Bo Scaife in the backfield than normal. I’ll be back closer to when the game starts with more thoughts.
7:40 (1Q 15:00): Hey, Titans receive the ball first and it’s a touchback. Titans start out with a 0 yard pass to Roydell Williams, whom Tirico starts out calling “Roydell Young.” Broadcasting at its finest!
7:43 (1Q 12:45): VY scrambles on 3&7 to pick up the first down, and juuuust gets it. Looks just short to me, but I’ll take it.
7:45 (1Q 11:00): VY pumpfakes and finds Brandon Jones wide open 35 yards downfield. And Jones flat out drops it. !#%!%#!@#% Thankfully, he’s able to find Roydell on the 12 yard in on 3&10.
7:48 (1Q 9:00): VY with the bootleg and the pass right to Champ Bailey, who thankfully can’t make the catch. White for 0, then a VY scramble for 1. And Hentrich puts it in the end zone from the 40. Not a great opening drive.
7:54 (1Q 6:50): Run for 8, run for 5, pass for 16. Great start on defense. And these are runs right where the defensive tackles would be. Sigh.
7:55 (1Q 5:13): Third down, but Cutler’s able to move around and find Brandon Stokley downfield. The Titans were playing zone coverage downfield and Stokley is able to get Hope turned around. Long, unproductive drives, followed by giving up a TD, are not a good way to win football games.
7:58 PM: Chris Henry almost makes a dangerous decision by really hesitating, then finally kneels before moving up to the goalline. For those not able to see the game on TV, one of the best ways to follow along is with NFL’s GameCenter for the game. I keep it open while watching to keep track of stats and exact yardage totals.
8:02 PM (1Q 3:30): And it’s a 3-and-out! Pass to Moulds for 9 was an encouraging start, but then Gage can’t haul in a pass behind him on the in, and White’s stuffed. And Hentrich’s 51 yard punts is taken 79 yards the other way by Glenn Martinez. 13-0, XP pending. Ugh.
8:06 PM (1Q 3:25): Well, if you’re down trying to come back from down 14-0, a 42 yard kickoff return is a good way to start. Too bad the kick was officially 7 yards deep, which means the Titans only start at their own 35.
8:11 PM (1Q 2:00): VY scrambles for another first down after a Roos false gives the Titans 3&12. And it’s a TE screen to Troupe for 8 on the next play. Positive plays, positive plays.
8:13 PM (end 1Q): And it’s the end of the first quarter, with the Broncos leading the Titans, 14-0. The Titans haven’t looked particularly good in any phase of the game. The PR TD by Martinez is a particular dark spot. The long TD pass to Stokley was another one. White has 6 carries for 12 yards, with a long of 4. That’s not really getting it done. VY had 6 carries as well, 5 of them on scrambles.
8:17 PM (2Q 13:45): A hold on second down gives the Titans 2&18, but it’s a pass to Roydell for 16 with the run after the slant, and a pass to Gage with the DB playing well off (why?) on 3&2. And VY with the pump and then a good throw between two defenders to find Brandon Jones for 21 and a touchdown. Woo. 14-7 after Bironas hits the XP.
8:28 (2Q 12:07): Bootleg pass for a good gain. Bootleg pass for a good gain. Cutler throw deep for Stokley. It’s underthrown, and Finnegan has positioning, which means he impedes Stokley coming back from the ball, which is a 37 yard pass interference penalty. If the NFL goes to a 15 v spot call, that’s a good candidate for a 15 yard penalty.
8:30 PM (2Q 10:25): Well, the defense was good in the red zone, at least. Two short runs on first and third down for Selvin Young, and Hill managed to tackle Scheffler to set up the third down play. Elam FG, and it’s 17-7. Still, only 3 isn’t a bad red zone performance.
8:36 PM (2Q 8:30): VY hits Scaife on the seam, VY scrambles on the bootleg for 8, Brown up the middle for 6. This looks like an actual NFL offense. Naturally, TonyK is pontificating, and brings up a gratuitous Brett Favre reference.
8:40 PM (2Q 5:57): !#@%!#@%!@#! LenDale White in the game, and he’s there to ruin a good drive. He spins away from the first tackle, but Thomas is able to knock the ball out, and LB Ian Gold falls on it.
8:43 PM (2Q 4:20): There’s a good example of something Cutler can do well. The Titans are playing what looks like a Cover-2, which means that you can find spaces on the outside, over the LBs and in front of the safeties. And Cutler has a very good arm, plenty good to hit Scheffler for a 15 yard out.
8:49 PM (2Q 1:51): Elam hits the FG, and it’s now 20-7 as another Bronco drive peters out in the red zone. Hopefully the Titans can do something with the 2-minute drill.
8:52 PM (2Q 1:02): A decent start, to Gage for 16, to Brown on a dumpoff for what ends up being 16 after he makes a nifty move to slip a would-be tackler to get out of bounds and get the first down, then to Gage for another first down. VY nearly airmails Scaife open over the middle, and it’s too far. Incomplete on the field, but it might be overturned.
8:56 PM (2Q :14): Not reviewed, alas. VY then too far for Jones, and a little far for Roydell on 3rd down, who maybe should have made the catch. Bironas misses from 56, but Shanahan ices him. Badly, as it turns out, as Bironas hits on his second chance. 20-10, :09 left.
8:59 PM (end 2Q): Halftime. Broncos up 20-10, and get the ball to start the second half. I’ll be back in a couple with some halftime thoughts.
9:13 PM (HT): I can’t think of a single game this year VY has been better-not perfect, but very good. Alas, White has been bad, the ST had a key breakdown, and the defense is clearly not as good without Haynesworth. Too much zone, too much running up the middle.
9:22 PM (3Q 11:12): The Titans look like they’re mixing up man and zone, but they’re in zone for that third down pass. Hope came up woozy after a tackle at the start of the drive, and Marshall is able to beat Lowry to the ball and avoid his tackle. 41 yard TD, and the Broncos are up 27-10. Tough to win when the defense isn’t getting any stops.
9:30 PM (3Q 9:57): Gage fail to catch. Scaife fail to catch. Too fast of a pass for Gage, and it’s 3-and-out. Very frustrating.
9:32 PM (3Q 9:34): Well, Martinez dropping a punt and Scanlan recovering it helps. And VY takes the keeper on the read option for 19. 1&G, Titans.
9:36 PM (3Q 8:00): Well, that’s an interesting sequence. VY on a keeper on 2&G, called OOB at the 1. I think he gets it. The Titans can’t pull the gun on challenging and run a third down play that’s a total busted play. Yet, Shanahan’s masterminding again, and the Broncos call TO (by Ian Gold, maybe, not Shanny), and the 3rd down play is eliminated. I expect Fisher to challenge the call during the commercial break.
9:41 PM (3Q “7:34”): Play reversed, VY TD. 27-17 after Bironas hits the PAT. One issue: :31 ran off the clock between when VY scored, resulting in the TD, which stops the clock, and before Denver calls the TO, after which Fisher challenges. At this point, that time’s not that important, but it really does matter. Or maybe I’m just an accuracy purist.
9:46 PM (3Q 7:27): The Titans’ rush to the injury room continues, as Michael Griffin is shaken up. I didn’t notice if Chris Hope was in the game, but I doubt it. With both Griffin and Hope out, and Harper inactive, the Titans are really thin in the secondary.
9:52 PM (3Q 5:00): Apparently, Mike Tirico doesn’t realize Vinny Fuller is the nickel back, as he brings down Cutler. Chris Davis tries to fumble the point, and the Broncos win the pointing war but are trumped by the official. A good run by White, and then a bad run by White is eliminated by a Bronco offside. VY shaken up with a quad injury, but he’s back in. Chris Brown is apparently “sick to his stomach,” so White’s playing there.
10:00 PM (end 3Q): Hey, the Titans are driving again. Where’s this offense been this year? Credit where it’s due: White after starting 7 for 10 has 30 yard on his last 5 carries.
10:02 PM (4Q 14:17): Well, VY with an ineffective scramble on that 3rd down, but at least Bironas hits the FG. Given where we were not that long ago, being down 27-20 at the start of the fourth quarter is a positive sign.
10:07 PM (4Q 12:48): Who the heck is Andre Hall? Aside from that guy who just ran up the middle for 62 yards and a TD? Broncos up 34-20. Reynaldo Hill missed a tackle on the play. I bet you’re surprised.
10:13 PM (4Q 11:08): Titans go 3&out deep in their own territory after Troupe takes the ball on the return instead of Henry and a Loper PF pushes them back. Pass for 6 yards on 3&8, Gage tackled short of the sticks. Own 15 is too deep to go for it, but the Broncos start at their own 45. Based on the defensive play so far, this game is pretty much over.
10:24 PM (4Q 6:08): A defensive stop, which I didn’t expect, and some productivity on the drive. VY takes a DREADFUL sack, but a good pass to Moulds to get 3&manageable, then a scramble. Chris Brown also back in and looking not bad. I’m almost ready to forgive the PF by Nickey on the punt return. Oh, and Moulds just drops a pass. Go Titan WRs!
10:26 PM (4Q 5:00): I’m sorry, I cursed the WRs. VY with a pass slightly behind Moulds, and he lets Dre Bly get the interception. Game really feeling over now.
10:29 PM (4Q 3:24): !#%!@#%!@# ESPN. Giving us a sideline interview over the play, during only the most crucial drive during the game. Screw you, Rod Smith. And now we get a Rod Smith montage. Fisher with another key non-challenge to let the Broncos convert a questionable 3D. And Fisher later accepts a holding penalty to set up 2&20 instead of 3&7. Sorry, time is much more valuable than yardage. Another bad decision by Fisher, IMO.
10:37 PM (4Q 1:54): !#$!#@$! VY with a DREADFUL interception, trying to throw a jump pass over LB Ian Gold but not getting it high enough. Just terrible. It’s 3 kneels and done with the Titans out of timeouts.
10:41 PM (end 4Q):  Game over, Broncos win 34-20.  I’ll be back later this evening with a recap post.  Thanks for participating.

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55 Responses to “MNF Liveblog: Titans@Broncos”

  1. brian Says:

    so what’s goin on with the game… there is no gameday coverage on ESPN’s website and i’m outa range for the tv, hook me up!

  2. Josh Says:

    This is the first game all season in which I hope LenDayne gets 40 carries–the Broncos are terrible against the run but with Champ and Dre’, good against the pass, especially inaccurate QB’s.

  3. brian Says:

    lendale is not gonna handle the altitude…no way he gets 40 but i still hopes he gets his 100+

  4. Drexel Perry Says:

    I agree that the Titans need a big game on the ground to win tonight.
    Missing Albert again is going to hurt, so the rest of the defense is going to step up as a result of his absence.

  5. brian Says:

    wow, i thought he was back in, T-brown is goona have to step up

  6. Josh Says:

    come on, brandon jones.

  7. Nick Says:

    Good news: Broncos run defense looks better. Too bad they gave up some killer passes on third down.
    The punt goes into the end zone, which seems to be a rarity against the Broncos these days–they’ve started several drives inside the 20 this year.

  8. Drexel Perry Says:

    A little surprised by the amount of passing on the first drive. That was a terrible drop by jones.

  9. Josh Says:

    we definately are missing albert.

  10. Nick Says:

    Cutler and Stokley will get the glory for that TD, but the key to that big play was the protection of the offensive line right up the gut. There was just a blob of players that were not going to get even close to Cutler. I was very eager to see how the backups Myers and Kuper would do in this game, and so far they have done very well.

  11. Josh Says:

    the DE on the TD pass did a great job of NOT containing the backside of the play.

  12. Josh Says:

    ugh. 3 and out. at least we didn’t turn it over.

  13. Josh Says:

    actually, a turnover might have been better.

  14. Nick Says:

    Sure looked like Sam Adams got away with an offsides on that 3rd and 1 run stuff.
    WOW. I can’t remember the last time the Broncos have returned a punt or kick for a touchdown. Glenn Martinez is rivalling Selvin Young for the “come out of nowhere performer” award for Denver this year. He’s been a big asset both on special teams and as a third wide receiver while Javon’s been out.

  15. Drexel Perry Says:

    this is getting ugly pretty fast. All three phases of the team need to get it together.

  16. Nick Says:

    Tim Crowder nearly sacks his old teammate in VY. Bet he enjoyed that.

  17. Josh Says:

    Killer penalty on 3rd down there.

  18. Josh Says:

    Well, we have a decent drive going.

  19. Josh Says:

    brandon jones starting to redeem himself

  20. Drexel Perry Says:

    That was a nice throw by Young. He came to play tonight. Nice to see Jones redeem himself.

  21. Nick Says:

    I did not approve of the Broncos’ defensive formations on those last few plays at all. They left the middle of the field far too open, especially on the 2nd and 18 play. Some very good throws by VY on this drive but I think the defense allowed him the opportunity to make them.

  22. Josh Says:

    we might want to start defending better on rollouts.

  23. Nick Says:

    Jay Cutler continues to prove to me that he’s the right QB for this team. Laser pass to Scheffler, screen to Graham, and a PI-assisted bomb to Stokley.
    Was I hearing things, or did one of the announcers refer to Albert Haynesworth as Andre Wadsworth?

  24. Josh Says:

    VY looks pretty good so far in the 2nd quarter, now that he figured out to throw away from Champ Bailey.

  25. Josh Says:

    Please don’t get hurt, Chris Brown.

  26. Josh Says:

    This is why LenDayne sucks.

  27. Drexel Perry Says:

    Terrible fumble by White. The offense was moving the ball and Vince is playing with alot of confidence.

  28. Nick Says:

    If you would have told me that VY would have been 12/15 for 130 yards in one half, I would have called you nuts. I haven’t watch many Titans games but I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen him throw the ball this well. Denver is going to have to re-adjust the defense in the second half to account for this without giving up ground in the running game.
    Thank goodness for a forced fumble by Marcus Thomas!

  29. Josh Says:

    Bironas is good.
    And nice job, Shanny.

  30. Drexel Perry Says:

    Bironas comes through yet again.

  31. Nick Says:

    Uh oh, Shanahan calls a timeout. But Bironas missed it on the first try and gets it on the second try.
    I’ve been saying for a long time after that Raiders game that this tactic could just as easily backfire in a scenario that we just saw. I’m sure a lot of cynics are glad it happened to Shanahan. Oh well.

  32. Dan Says:

    god, 3 big dropped passes by our shitty wide outs. Get VY some FUCKING weapons god dammit!!!!!

  33. Nick Says:

    Brandon Marshall is making ridiculous catches in double coverage, and Cutler is fitting in ridiculous throws in double coverage. That’ll burn them every now and then but if they keep it up like that, they’ll make more positive plays than not.

  34. Josh Says:

    our secondary is bad without pressure from the D-Line.

  35. Nick Says:

    I was going to add on to my last post that I’m a huge fan of physical wide receivers that can do more than just catch the ball. Rod Smith, Hines Ward, and even Terrell Owens all fall in that category. After seeing that last TD by Marshall, I’m very glad to have him in a Broncos uniform to continue on the tradition of physical WRs like Smith and Ed McCaffrey.

  36. Drexel Perry Says:

    Pressure from the defensive line is non-existant tonight. This d needs Haynesworth back badly.

  37. Nick Says:

    Heh, Sam Adams finally gets nailed for an offsides penalty. I think I counted about three times before where he got away with a quick jump.

  38. Dan Says:

    wow, 5 dropped passes so far, wtf.

  39. Nick Says:

    Wow, timeout mismanagement has cost the Broncos ten points. That is a bitter pill to swallow.

  40. Josh Says:

    Shanahan the master of timeouts.

  41. Drexel Perry Says:

    Another timeout at an inopportune time for Denver.

  42. Josh Says:

    this drive is crucial. We have momentum, we need to make smart plays with the football.

  43. Josh Says:

    Crap.
    I hate Reynaldo Hill.

  44. Nick Says:

    As if Selvin Young wasn’t already having Broncos fans murmur “Travis who?”, Andre Hall has to have those murmurs getting louder.
    Classic one cut and go run.

  45. Nick Says:

    I’m a little late on this comment, but Jaws did a very good job of highlighting the blocking job that Marshall put on Chris Hope that allowed that long run to happen. This helps to reinforce my earlier statements of Marshall being valuable as a blocking WR like other Broncos before him.

  46. Drexel Perry Says:

    The Titans are wasting a solid performance from Vince Young. The defense just isn’t the same without the big fella in there.

  47. Josh Says:

    Haynesworth solidifying case for DPOY

  48. Nick Says:

    Great job by Tim Crowder bull-rushing Michael Roos, who from I’ve heard is one of the more underrated left tackles in the league (can the Titans fans support this)?
    On the other hand, I think I may have finally fallen off the Ian Gold bandwagon. He has been juked twice by VY and also had a bad tackle on a WR on this same drive. Several Broncos fans have been rather rough on him recently, and I’ve been more cautious in criticism. But his time may be coming soon.

  49. Josh Says:

    Dre’ Bly just wins games.

  50. Nick Says:

    “Dre’ Bly just wins games.” — Josh
    It’s funny you say this, considering I’ve had the displeasure of seeing Dre’ Bly lose that Packers game on their previous MNF game on replays over and over again.
    Definitely a big-time pick here, though.
    Also very good to hear Michele Tafoya interview Rod Smith here.

  51. Tom Gower Says:

    Roos isn’t a dominating LT, but he’s been very good and generally consistent. He has a tendency to false start more often than one would like, but it’s not like the return of “False Start Fred” Miller. He’s not a dominating enough run blocker to get lots of All-Pro votes, but I think he’ll be a very good player for a decade or more.

  52. Josh Says:

    Vince Young just loses games.

  53. Nick Says:

    Big mistake by VY there–facing a three man rush he had more than enough room to run, but then pulls up and throws a wounded duck to Ian Gold. Too bad that INT didn’t help Gold’s overall performance tonight.
    Thanks for having me around guys–hope I wasn’t too distracting. Best of luck for the rest of the season, and VY really showed me a lot tonight. Maybe he and Cutler will have some Brady-Manning like battles in the future.

  54. brian Says:

    so i missed out on most of the comments but the d is just not the same without big al, hill is getting abused and the offense is still giving up the ball or dropping easy catches. we can’t hope to see them go anywhere if they can’t catch and convert downs or the d get off the field.
    go titans…please step it up

  55. brian Says:

    * d can’t get off the field.

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