Tennessee Titans: Playoff Hopes Dashed, Need To Focus on the Man

Bryan HollisterAnalyst IDecember 26, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 13: Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans looks on against the St. Louis Rams at LP Field on December 13, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7 as Johnson scored three touchdowns. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Merry Christmas, San Diego.

With two interceptions, a fumble, and a maddeningly inept Christmas Day performance, Vince Young nearly single-handedly presented the San Diego Chargers with the gift of a first round bye whilst simultaneously removing the Tennessee Titans from any hope of a playoff appearance this year.

Kenny Britt caught one pass—one pass—of the eight that Young managed to complete on the day, which is one fewer than the San Diego's defenders managed.

Demonstrating that he hasn't yet figured out he isn't a running back, Young also ran for 40 yards, stealing precious yardage from actual running back Chris Johnson, who is in hot pursuit of the single-season rushing record.

Johnson still managed to put up 142 yards on the ground, once again demonstrating that he is the Titan's key to future success. This marked the 10th straight week that Johnson managed 100 or more yards rushing in a game, as well as his 11th of the year.

With one game left, he needs only 128 yards to reach the hallowed mark of 2,000 yards in a season, which puts him in very elite company.

The mark of 2,105 will take some doing, though; with 234 yards between him and the record books, it will take a concerted effort by all to get him there.

This means you have to hand off the ball and let him run, guys. Vince, Coach Dinger: Are you listening? It also means that everyone has to block, all day, and get him loose in the secondary where no one can catch him.

The Seahawks know he is coming, and since the Titans are now out of contention for the playoffs, they can focus solely on spoiling Johnson's record quest.

In the spirit of the season, I will refrain from rattling off a litany of reasons why the Titans lost this game, at home, on Christmas Day, in front of a sold out crowd of fans who braved the cold and wind and occasional rain to cheer their team towards victory, instead of staying home, with their families, enjoying egg nog, baked ham, and the occasional roasted fowl.

Instead, I will simply say that the Titans goals for next week's game should be extremely clear.

Neither team is going anywhere after that game, but one man's name could go in the record books.

I don't care if they win or lose. But considering the performance that Johnson has put up all year, even when the rest of the team was playing like they had just learned the game yesterday, I don't think it is too much to ask for a game plan that gives him the best possible shot of breaking the record.

Opportunities like this don't come around very often. Take advantage of it, Titans, while it is still within reach.