Titans earn well-deserved respect in 31-21 win over Indy

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The Tennessee Titans came up big when their best efforts were needed the most in their 31-21 primetime victory over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

Faced with a 14-6 third quarter deficit, the Titans dominated the rest of the contest to seal their NFL-leading seventh win.

My thoughts on tonight’s statement victory, after the jump.

 

Game balls

Kerry Collins continues to prove the doubters wrong.

While he has become adept at playing the role of game manager, tonight presented the rare opportunity for Collins to play a key role in the outcome of the game via his passing arm.

Collins failed to disappoint as he led the Titans downfield on crucial scoring drives late in the game. On a night where the Colts consistently defended the Titans with 8 men in the box, Collins compensated for the running game’s struggles with a solid night throwing the football.

Prior to tonight’s contest, many believed that the Titans were winning games in spite of Kerry Collins. Against the Colts, the Titans emerged victorious because of the stellar play of their veteran signal-caller.

On defense, my game ball goes to veteran safety Chris Hope. He played well tonight, as evidenced by his two interceptions.

Entering the season, there were question marks surrounding his health as a result of last year’s gruesome neck injury. Those fears have been alleviated due to his solid play thus far.  

Thankfully for the Titans’ defense, Hope is very much alive and well in 2008.

As for special teams, Rob Bironas gets my vote. Despite missing his first field goal of the season, Rob connected on three of his four field goal tries. While the offense struggled in the first half, Rob’s kicks kept the team in the game.

Other observations 

The absence of Kyle Vanden Bosch was very noticeable. Youngsters Jacob Ford and William Hayes showed some positive signs filling in for KVB but to say that the defense missed the presence of their energizer bunny is an understatement.

While Manning didn’t pick apart the Titan defense, he had plenty of time to deliver his passes. A healthy Vanden Bosch is crucial to the success Titans’ defensive unit, so here’s to hoping that we’ll see him back in the lineup pretty soon.

On offense, it was nice to see Brandon Jones step up with some big catches. BJ has taken advantage of some additional playing time as a result of recent injuries to the rest of the WR group.

In his first action since Week 4, Justin Gage had a rough night. He only snagged one pass for a measly six yards while dropping a couple of other potential grabs.

At this point in the season, the usually inconsistent Brandon Jones has surpassed Gage as the team’s most reliable wideout.

Final thoughts

1. This is for the fantasy football guys: Chris Johnson owners have to be depressed by LenDale White’s knack for stealing rushing touchdowns.

For those who aren’t keeping score: LenDale has a 10-4 edge over CJ in the TD category.

2. What a great effort by Lavelle Hawkins to stay inbounds on his only reception. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see more of “The Hawk” in the coming weeks.

3. Craig Hentrich is equivalent to a fine wine: he just gets better with age. On the night, the 37-year-old averaged 51.5 yards per punt on two attempts. In the 2nd quarter, Hentrich boomed a 74-yarder that pinned the Colts at their own six-yard line.  

4. The Titans are red-hot in the red zone. Entering the game as the league’s most efficient red zone offense, Tennessee scored touchdowns on three of their four red zone attempts against the Colts.  

5. At 7-0, the Titans are the only winning team in the AFC South.

How sweet it is!

What are your thoughts on tonight’s huge Titan victory?   

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9 Responses to “Titans earn well-deserved respect in 31-21 win over Indy”

  1. HeyBeerMan Says:

    Great Win! and not to take anything away from the Titans, but skeptics will still point to Addai and B. Sander’s absences to temper praise for the Titans.
    One concern I had was the concussion-hits to the Titans on special teams. Ball and Stevens were laid out by Colts special teams players. ESPN said Ball suffered from “getting the wind knocked out of him,” but he was hit in the head, not the gut. Ball might have been the tipping point we needed on the D-Line with KVB out to make those pressures on Manning into sack…
    Which reminds me, I know Manning is one of the smartest QBs in the league, but why didn’t the Titans rush more than 4 during the game. I know you don’t want to do it too much b/c then Manning will hit the hot route, but a LB blitz every now and then could pay off nicely on nights when the other team’s O-Line is holding up.

  2. Scott Says:

    What a win. The team showed great toughness and put the drives together when they needed to. A little luck here and there didn’t hurt either. That Crumpler fumble might have killed the Titans if the Colts defenders had picked it up before it went out of bounds. And the difference in the game seemed to be that Hope was able to hold on to the two tipped passes that fell into his hands and the Colts defenders did not.
    That was a desperate Colts Team with its back up against the wall. For the Titans to win this game, is a sign of something truly special.
    It was a tough game to watch in the first half though. The Titans should have had more than 6 points. Finnegan has got to stop taking stupid penalties after the whistle has blown and the Titans have got to stop dropping catchable passes.
    In addition to Kerry Collins and Chris Hope, I would give game balls to Jones and Scaife, both of whom came up big when the Titans needed first downs.
    One last thought, I felt bad for Dave Ball. Here he is getting his first start and he takes a shot to the head on the opening kick off and sits the rest of the night. This game might not have been as close as was if KVB or Ball had been able to play. It seemed like the pass rush wasn’t as strong as it should have been and part of that might have been a result of the fact that these guys were not only missing their best pass rusher, but also were shorthanded for the entire evening.

  3. Markus Says:

    great win, tough win. Hawk had a nice sideline grab…hope he turns into the next D-Mase, who knows. KC looked awesome, CJ can hit a crease like I’ve never seen…and LenDale weighs 280, I don’t care what anyone says. Our D better tighten up or we are in for a long game vs. the Pack. The TE’s have been the only weapon we can’t seem to stop on D. Game balls:
    Offense: KC
    Defense: Hope (not just b/c the 2 picks, but you may have noticed he was always behind the play. He played smart to eliminate any YAC’s)…smart football by Hope
    Special Teams: Carr…great returns-he looked less hesitant than in past games
    Kudos to Fisher for keeping this team focused. Let’s go get the Pack!!!

  4. Drexel Perry Says:

    Heybeerman,
    The Titans usually rely heavily on their front four to generate their pass rush. Despite being short-handed, they stuck to their defensive bread & butter.
    Without KVB, the pass rush isn’t as formidable but Manning didn’t hurt them too bad last night.
    Hopefully, Kyle will return to the lineup soon.
    As always, thanks for commenting guys.

  5. Will Says:

    Great football games. You made a good point about KVB’s absence. Can one player make that much difference for the Titans defense? Apparently so.
    It’s funny that you and I reacted to the Titans victory by using the same phrase: “How sweet it is!” See the webpage below for evidence.
    http://www.titanstracker.com/2008/10/28/titans-31-colts-21/

  6. Kevin G Says:

    could we do the live blog for other games? that was a lot of fun and made for a more pleasurable viewing experiance!

  7. Drexel Perry Says:

    Will,
    Great minds… šŸ™‚
    The live blog was alot of fun…it was like watching the game at the bar with a bunch of fans rooting for each team.

  8. questionmark Says:

    They’re not getting much respect from Packers fans, but that is to be expected.
    http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081028/PKR01/81028130&s=d&page=1#pluckcomments

  9. Dave Says:

    Luckily these fans know nothing about the Titans. That means they get to “meet” us the day of the game. I don’t think we’ll be stopped ( rushing/ d-line play) too many times this year. Since Indy did it, I think all of the Titans will take it personal and pound the living S outta their next opponent…ie Green Bay. I like when we’re disrespected by other team’s fans anyway. Makes beating on them that much more fun. It’s like going into the fight thinking you opponent can’t punch then waking up the next day in the hospital with no teeth and barely any recollection.

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