Deja Vu: Ravens end another promising Titan season with 13-10 victory

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Unfortunately, some things never change.

Similiar to 2001, those darn Baltimore Ravens ended another potential Tennessee Titans’ Super Bowl trip to Tampa with their hard-earned 13-10 victory today.

After dashing his way to 100 all-purpose-yards at the half, Chris Johnson’s inability to play in the second half was a huge dagger to the Titans’ chances. Despite the Herculean efforts of Justin Gage, the Titan offense came up short on a final drive that ended with a Kerry Collins incompletion.

More thoughts on a horrible finish to such a wonderful season for the Tennessee Titans, after the jump.  

Game balls

I’m going to give out two game balls to a couple of Titans who stepped up with great performances on offense.

Justin “12 Gage” was locked and loaded as indicated by his 10 catch, 135-yard effort. He repeatedly snagged Kerry Collins’ passes in situations where a drop could not be tolerated.

Despite a somewhat disappointing regular season, Gage came through with a clutch effort when his team needed him the most.

As the years go by, the Titans will always wonder what might of been if Chris Johnson was able to play the entire game. In the first half, his ability to make plays in space was a constant thorn in the side to Ray-Ray and his fellow Raven defenders.

Unfortunately, an ankle injury prevented CJ from playing in the second half. Without him on the field, the Titans’ were bereft of the services of their premier playmaker, and his absence was felt tremendously.

It’s a tough way to end such a great rookie season, but CJ has nothing to be ashamed about. He’s going to continue to be a thrill to watch in the years to come.

On defense, I’m going to with the veteran Keith Bulluck. He was all over the place, amassing a combined eight tackles (5 solo, 3 assists). Bulluck kept the Titans’ chances alive late in the 4th with a great tackle that played a key role in a defensive stop that made it 10-7 Ravens instead of 14-7.  

Once again, Chris Carr came up with a solid effort on special teams. He averaged 26 yards per kick return on the afternoon, constantly setting up the Titans with decent opening field position. A low-profile signing last year in free agency, Carr was definitely one of the unsung heroes for Tennessee in 2008.

Penalties and missed opportunities killed the Titans   

Besides the second half absence of Chris Johnson, unnecessary penalties and the inability to convert scoring opportunities will go down as the biggest factors behind today’s loss.

The Titans were penalized a whopping 12 times for 89 yards. In the first half, an offsides by Kyle Vanden Bosch gave the Ravens a 3rd and 13 instead of 18 and on the next play, Joe Flacco connected with Derrick Mason on a 48-yard touchdown strike.  

Turnovers also got the best of the Titans. A LenDale White fumble ended a promising scoring drive before the half. An ill-advised Collins interception thwarted another potential opportunity and last but not least, Alge Crumpler’s fumble late in the 4th was a killer mistake.

Despite the Titans having success matriculating the ball down the field in the first half, they only had seven points to show for it. That was a bit disheartening, especially considering their 256-94 advantage in total yards during the first two quarters.

An ode to Kerry Collins  

It wasn’t the greatest performance, but Kerry Collins came through with the type of gutsy effort that we’ve become accustomed to seeing from the veteran signal-caller.On the evening, he completed 26 of his 42 passes for 281 yards while getting excellent protection from the offensive line.

No offense to Vince Young, but I’m hopeful that the Titans can re-sign KC in the offseason. He’s emerged as a dependable leader and IMO, has earned the right to be the team’s starting QB in 2009.

Final thoughts

1.Kudos to Ahmard Hall for surviving Ray-Ray’s vicious hit in the first half that dislodged his helmet.

#45: What a warrior.

2. Tell me I’m not the only one who had a flashback to Al Del Greco when Rob Bironas missed a field goal in the second half.

Speaking of the infamous 2001 playoff game, as the case with that forgettable contest, today’s affair was also tied 7-7 at the half. Another similarity was the Titans’ inability to win despite dominating the yardage category.

Talk about bad omens…

3. I was a bit disappointed by Justin McCareins’ reaction to being sent to the pine in the second half. Despite his team valiently trying to score, he sat there on the bench with his head turned in the opposite direction.

After a mini-camp that got some of our hopes up, J-Mac reverted to his New York Jet form by being mostly a non-factor at WR. 

I wouldn’t shed a tear if he’s not on the roster in 2009.

4. The ex-Titans came up big today. Derrick Mason was a beast, catching 5 balls for 78 yards and a score. Lorenzo Neal was a handful as a blocker and Samari Rolle intercepted a Kerry Collins’ pass.

5. Did the refs miss a delay of game penalty against Flacco and the Ravens in the 4th quarter?

You be the judge.  

6. It’s a tough loss, but the 2008 Tennessee Titans have nothing to be ashamed about. They outperformed everyone’s expectations and were a thrill to watch.

Hopefully, bigger and better things will be in store for 2009. 

What are your thoughts on today’s heartbreaking defeat?  

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16 Responses to “Deja Vu: Ravens end another promising Titan season with 13-10 victory”

  1. Will Says:

    I would have never imagined the Titans would play such an undisciplined game. 12 penalties in a playoff game?
    CJ’s injury was huge, but it only illustrates the Titans’ ongoing need for even more explosive playmakers on offense.
    I still hope Vince Young gets a chance to start in 2009, but Kerry Collins has earned my respect. Hats off to KC. The Titans are a better team with him on the roster.
    Congratulations to the Ravens for a hard-fought game and for forcing the Titans to literally fumble away a great season.

  2. d man Says:

    What a tremendous game Titans fans. I am a true Ravens fan but as a former resident of Nashville (transplanted from Baltimore) I have deep respect for your team. We squeaked one out this week but good on yer team for one hell of a season! I do NOT look forward to the next time we have to face you!

  3. R1zzo23 Says:

    If Chris Johnson stayed healthy throughout the contest, the Titans are playing next week.
    So all you Titans’ fans, who’s going to be the QB next season? Kerry Collins has already said he would retire before becoming a backup again, so do they pay him and keep VY on the bench or is it time for Vince to grow up and lead this team?

  4. Garland Says:

    What a terrible loss.
    Despite the high number, the penalties were not much of a factor. I don’t remember many that ended up costing points or serious field position. For instance, the offsides on the punt turned 4th and 7 into 4th and 2, but it was still a punt nonetheless. Also, on the play Drex mentioned, 3rd and 13 is not much better than 3rd and 18, and the 48-yard pass on the ensuing play makes that penalty a moot point. Similarly, Collins’ interception was also not that bad. It was third down, they were well out of field goal range, and he was under pressure. His long heave down to the 12-yard line was as good as a punt, so no harm done there. The red-zone fumbles by White and Crumpler were easily the deciding factors in the game. Walk away from those two drives with points, and this game is won somewhat handily as it should have been. Maybe the Titans should just go ahead and kick field goals as soon as they get within range against the Ravens.
    Getting shafted on a blatant no-call a full second after the play clock had expired really stinks. It’s one thing to be beaten by a better team or to be beaten by your own mistakes, but it’s the worst to have to wonder “what if?” when you are on the receiving end of a horribly bad mistake by the refs. Without that long completion to Heap, might the Ravens have still marched down the field and scored? Perhaps, but if the entire rest of the game is any indication, the answer is NO. So while you can’t say that one play decided the game, it certainly leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes me wonder if the league looks at making that reviewable. I can’t see any good reason why the refs could not have seen conclusive, objective evidence that they blew that call and correct their mistake.
    *sigh*
    What a disappointment…

  5. wheels Says:

    The penalties most certainly hurt us and were a huge factor. Lets start with the play before the Collins interception. We had a 3rd and 4 and the Balt 27 and committed a 5 yard penalty which took us out of FG range. Kearse jumping offsides on 2nd and 15 on the final drive was a killer as those extra 5 yards would have been big. Finnegan holding on a punt return on the opposite end of the field reslting in a drive starting at our own 30 rather than the 50. Same with the unneccessary roughness penalty on the first punt of the game which resulted in the ball at our 22 instead of 37.
    White and Crumpler should take the brunt of the heat as you just can’t fumble in those situations…no excuses. LenDale looked pretty bad for most of the day except for a couple of plays back to back in the 4th. We sould NEVER throw the ball to him behind the line of scrimmage…always a scare. We need help behind CJ in thre backfield.
    The no call on the delay of game was certainly a blown call but everything mentioned above cost the Titans the game. Bottom line is that the Titans didn’t deliver in the clutch and the Ravens did.
    This one really stings. Trying to rank it against other Titan/Oiler playoff losses. These were all really tough ones.
    1/10/04 Divisional New England 17, Tennessee 14
    1/7/01 Divisional – Baltimore 24, Tennessee 10
    1/3/93 Wild Card – Buffalo 41, Houston 38
    1/4/92 Divisional – Denver 26, Houston 24

  6. Garland Says:

    Fitting:

  7. Garland Says:

     

  8. Garland Says:

    Fine. I can’t figure out how to post a photo. So much for “You may use HTML tags for style”.
    Anyway, the photo on this article is fitting:
    http://www.sportsline.com/nfl/gamecenter/recap/NFL_20090110_BAL@TEN

  9. Drexel Perry Says:

    I think Kerry’s done enough to earn the starting job in 2009.
    However, with his free agency looming, it remains to be seen whether or not KC is going to be here next year.
    Will the team decide to go with the vet or the younger QB (VY) they invested heavily in a few years ago: that is the question.
    Gonna be an interesting offseason at QB for the Titans.

  10. Billy Joe Says:

    FINAL POST
    BRAVO to the Titans for far outsurpassing any of our expectations this year!! They should be extremely proud and I’m looking forward to very successful seasons over the next five years!!
    The thing that makes this season ending defeat so tough to swallow is the fact that we dominated in almost every category (total yards, third down conversions, time of possession, etc.) Penalties and turnovers (all in the red zone!) will cost you the game every time in a matchup like this(especially in the playoffs).
    I’m super excited about the future of the Titans, but not very excited about our QB situation. Our system is designed for a QB who can manage the game with limited mistakes (the Ravens are set up the exact same way and Flacco has proven that event tonight). Vince Young still showed fundamental flaws in his ability even in the Colts game against b-teamers (still throwing side arm with the ball being batted down, slow decision making, premeditating passes out of the gates, etc.). I would feel much better with KC as the QB next year and will be extremely bummed out with VY at the helm. I hate to be negative at the conclusion of a great season, but I am excited about everything we have going on for 2009, except for VY (especially if we get a strong free agent WR threat).
    PS – One final thought on the disappointing aspect of the season, what’s up with LP Field having a large contingency of opposing team fans in the stands to where it seems like we don’t have home field advantage (eg. steelers and tonight’s ravens game)! Titans fans take back your stadium for big games and DO NOT “sell out” your tics!! That’s B.S.
    My hats off to Andrew, Drex and Tom for this past year. You guys have great insights and do such an excellent job of posting right on analysis from beginning to end. That’s why I keep coming back. Thank you so much Gentlemen for an outstanding year!!!

  11. G Says:

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  12. Drexel Perry Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Billy Joe: they are greatly appreciated.
    We’ll have plenty to talk about during the offseason, so be sure to stick around.

  13. Mike Brown Says:

    I know how all of the Titan fans must be feeling after watching your teams defense stuff the Ravens running game time after time, and seeing your offense move the ball all game long, only to come up short at crucial moments.
    Football can make you giddy with delight one moment, or rip your heart out and stomp it into the ground the next. I know as I was there at M&T Bank Stadium on Jan.3rd, 2004 to see a limping Steve McNair engineer an eight-play, 35-yard drive that ended with Gary Anderson’s knuckling 46-yard field goal sailing six inches above the crossbar with 29 seconds left for a 20-17 Titan victory. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, the air escaping my body as I watched the final seconds of the game clock tick away.
    You would think that moments like this would be enough to turn you away from the game, after all who needs the heartache? But we regroup, we put our emotions back in order, and we move on, waiting for the next game and the visions of glory yet to come. Titan fans can hold their heads high, they were just victims of the cruelty that the Football Gods bestow upon us from time to time. The Titans will be back better then ever, and with an eye cast toward getting revenge for a season that was ended prematurely.

  14. Nick Says:

    Sickening.

  15. Scott Says:

    What a horrific way to lose a play-off game. I can’t get the sick feeling out of my stomach. Rarely do you see a team lose a game when it dominates to the degree that the Titans did on Saturday. The Titans were far superior in almost every facet of the game – passing, rushing and stopping the run and the pass. The Ravens couldn’t move the ball without the help of the Tians penalties and mis-calls by the officials and the Ravens needed the Titans to shoot themselves in the foot to stop them. Three turnovers inside the 20 yard line? Are you kidding me?
    I felt bad last year after the Titans lost (and that was also due, in part, to a fumble – Chris Brown’s fumble inside the 10 yard line), but I knew deep down that even if we beat the Chargers the team wasn’t likely going to the Super Bowl.
    This year it is different. The Titans often looked like the best team in the NFL this year and certainly had the personnel and the ability to beat anyone in the league. This could or should have been a special year. I probably could have accepted a loss if the Titans had been beaten by a better team. The fact that they lost to a team that gave up almost 400 yards to the Titans’ offence and held the Ravens to a little over 200 yards of offence makes this extremely painful.

  16. pat. T Says:

    Even if the Titans would’ve won they had showed they weren’t good enough to go all the way! the Ravens displayed to be a great team and showed the world how good they really are and that they can win in multiple ways!

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