Titans vs. Colts: Winners and Losers for Tennessee
In what has become a disturbing trend this season, the Tennessee Titans came out of the halftime break flat and managed just three points in the final 30 minutes on Sunday, falling to the Indianapolis Colts 27-23 to drop to 4-9 on the year.
The Titans jumped out to a 20-7 lead after the first half, as the Tennessee offense drove the ball for a touchdown on its first possession of the game and Will Witherspoon added a defensive touchdown to give the Titans the advantage.
Tennessee simply had no answers late in the game, though, as Jake Locker threw a pair of back-breaking interceptions and the defense failed to get a stop when it mattered. Titans head coach Mike Munchak's seat is getting warmer with another painful defeat, making him a clear loser from the game, but read on for other losers and some winners from the frustrating defeat.
Loser: Jake Locker
After the first drive of the game, Jake Locker appeared destined to be named a "winner" after the game, as he completed all six of his pass attempts, including a touchdown to Jared Cook, and added a 30-yard run to give the Titans the early lead.
However, that was the last of the Titans touchdown drives, as Locker finished the day completing 22-of-35 passes while also tossing two interceptions, one of which was returned for a score.
In the fourth quarter, with a number of opportunities to give the Titans a lead, the Titans offense stalled as Locker's accuracy and decision-making seemed questionable at best.
Though the Tennessee quarterback continues to show plenty of potential, he has yet to find a way to pull out wins in clutch situations.
Winner: Kenny Britt
For the first time this year, Kenny Britt eclipsed 100 yards while showcasing the play-making ability down field that had Titans fans craving for more after two games last season.
Britt hauled in a pair of 46-yard receptions and finished the game with eight receptions for 143 yards to lead the Titans offensively.
While Britt has struggled at times to readjust to the speed of the game after suffering a torn ACL last season, his performance today should reaffirm the fact that he still has the potential to be a true game-breaker over the next few years.
Loser: Chris Johnson
Running behind a makeshift offensive line, Chris Johnson was routinely hit behind the line of scrimmage and struggled to find any space as he finished with just 44 yards on 19 carries in the loss.
Johnson, who seemed to have found his stride, has now failed to average more than four yards an attempt in three straight games as his linemen have been decimated by injuries over the last couple weeks.
While Johnson likely has a roster spot secured next year, he needs to get back on track in the final three games of the year to prove that he is worthy of his hefty price tag moving forward.
Winner: Derrick Morgan
After struggling to create pressure throughout most of the first half of the season, Derrick Morgan has come into his own over the last few weeks.
Morgan recorded a sack, forced Andrew Luck into a poor throw that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Will Witherspoon and constantly harassed the Colts quarterback throughout the contest.
While Morgan still has plenty of work to do if he hopes to prove he can be an every-down defensive end, the amount of hurries and QB hits he has been able to compile in recent weeks has to be encouraging for the Titans coaching staff.
Loser: Mike Munchak
The Titans have consistently struggled at the start of halves throughout this season, and that speaks negatively of the coaching staff more than anything else.
Though Tennessee was able to come out strong on its first possession of the game, they seemed to enter the second half without the same fire and quickly watched its 13-point halftime lead slip away.
With the Titans now sitting at 4-9 and officially out of the playoff race, Mike Munchak's seat is likely growing increasingly warmer with every disappointing week. Though he may be fortunate enough to keep his job for at least one more season, his leash is growing shorter and shorter.
Winner: Karl Klug
For much of the season, Karl Klug has been nothing more than an afterthought on a defensive line that has been wildly inconsistent as a group.
After being held without a sack for the first 10 games of the year, Klug registered his first sack of the season two weeks ago and tallied two more today to bring his total to three on the season.
Klug, in limited snaps, showed the inside pass-rushing ability that allowed him to lead the team in sacks last season and has likely earned an increased role for the final three games of the year.