Yesterday the Titans were absolutely throttled for the second week in a row. This time, Philip Rivers and backup tight-end Dante Rosario connected on three touchdowns against the Titans' defense. The offense wasn't much better either, as Jake Locker faced pressure all game long and—once again—received no help from Chris Johnson. Kenny Britt returned to the lineup, but only to make one catch for five yards.
It seemed as though the game was over before halftime, with the Chargers jumping out to a 17-0 lead early and never looking back. With the Titans already off to an 0-2 start and in a two game hole to the Houston Texans, their fans are all asking the same question:
What on earth has happened to this team?
The fall from wild-card contender to relative embarrassment has been painful for Titans fans to watch these past two weeks. There has been little-to-no firepower on offense, and the defense has already given up seventy-two points. In fact, their average points-per-game-allowed is almost double what it was last season.
As for the offense, it is easy to lay the blame on the inexperience of Jake Locker, but Locker has actually performed quite well for someone making his first starts at quarterback. Believe it or not, he is leading the team in rushing at this point with only thirty-two yards. Remember how Chris Johnson was supposed to break out for an explosive season? Well he hasn't, unless you consider an average of 1.1 yards per carry and only 21 rushing yards explosive. Simply put, this team is an absolute mess right now.
Can they right the ship and turn things around? At this point, I think the more likely answer is "no."
Even though the Titans have often shown improvement during the second half of the season over the past few years, there are a few things working against them. One of those things is their schedule. One has to consider the Lions and Texans as heavy favorites to beat Tennessee over the next two weeks.
The Titans will also have to play the Steelers, Bears, and Packers by season's end. Assuming the worst in these match-ups, they will only win, at the most, nine games. This is also assuming they run through the rest of their division schedule unscathed, which is not likely to happen.
Then there's the complete lack of a running game, which in itself hurts the passing game. Jake Locker doesn't need the added pressure of having to convert third-and-long over and over again, but he has been facing it repeatedly.
Finally, the secondary seems to have more holes than Swiss cheese. No disrespect to Dante Rosario, but there is no way he should score three touchdowns in one game. Even if the Titans fix these issues, they still have to rely on other teams to falter in order to have any shot at the playoffs.
When you look at all the evidence, it seems as though the Titans are likely finished in the AFC. This is a shame considering all the excitement surrounding the team after last year's strong finish, but it seems to be more fact than fiction.
Yes, Nashville, it is definitely time to panic.