Tennessee Titans: A Flash in the Pan or for Real?
Well, this is different.
For at least one week, there are no "maybe next time" sentences to type.
For at least one week, there is no "coulda, woulda, shoulda" sentiment to opine on.
For once, they put it all together, nearly living up to their potential.
"Nearly," because of a few lingering red flags and holes that are in obvious need of addressing.
But more on that later. For now, Nashville and the rest of Titan Nation can temporarily rejoice that the monkey has been lifted off of their team's back.
Now comes the hard part: how can Tennessee sustain their nascent momentum?
However, even the most casual fan knows that this team has way too far to go to even begin to think of one-month-later schedule hypotheticals.
The only thing that matters at this point is the 49ers. So long as the Titans do what they did this past week, then well, they just might have a shot at returning to respectability.
And what, exactly, did they do differently to grace the win column with their presence?
Chris Johnson's historic day notwithstanding, it really wasn't so much huge plays as it was...doing what they should have been doing all along.
Staying away from mistakes and simply executing.
If you're a fan of these 2009 Titans, then suffice it to say that you, for once, were not slapping your forehead in as many "are you serious?!" moments as you're used to.
Linebackers were not covering speedy receivers in the slot. Kick returners held on to the ball. Receivers caught passes when they were supposed to.
After seven long weeks, things finally went the way they were supposed to.
For the most part.
At first, it looked eerily reminiscent of the Week Two matchup with the Houston Texans, where the offensive shootout unfolding was more like a Madden 2010 game than a real one.
Chris Johnson was unstoppable, yes. But, the Titans couldn't find a way to stop the ever-prolific Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew either.
Here we go again—or so we thought.
See, a funny thing happened on the way to 0-7.
The pass defense clamped down, arguably for the first time since the Pittsburgh Steelers game. In fact, the whole team had a collective gut check.
Tennessee went on to rack up 30 points, while holding Jacksonville to 13. Granted, that's a sophomoric and glorified way of restating the final score, but given the Titans' woes this year, it remains significant.
Coach Jeff Fisher told the press this week that he aims to maintain what his team did this past week.
Easier said than done?
In this case, when lack of confidence snowballs with each mounting loss, the first win is more than just a godsend.
It's a new beginning; a near-cinematic, Rocky IV-esque "he's cut!" moment that can prove to be the catalyst for a season's turnaround.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Every week is a new adventure with Tennessee, for better or worse.
In the meantime, the players and fans alike should take pride in the fact that this team isn't as bad as people thought—or feared.
Fellas, dare to be different.
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