Tennessee Titans: Are They the Best Team in the NFL?
I will start with the two losses suffered by the Titans this season.
Week 2, the Steelers come to town without Ben Roethlisberger and win 19-11, in a game where the only touchdown the Steelers scored was a trick play on the opening kickoff. Without that touchdown the whole game could have been changed, that and had the Titans not tried to run all but 10 plays the first three quarters.
The defense of the Steelers was tough, but when you know a run is coming a high school squad could make stops most of the time. The Titans defense absolutely shut the Steelers down, allowing only four field goals on short drives that started after one of seven turnovers. I don't care what team is playing if you have seven turnovers and only allow 12 points off of them, you are doing well.
Another problem with this game was a suspect holding call that brought back a huge Chris Johnson touchdown run that would have given the Titans seven points while taking a field goal from a soon to be fumble off the board, and would have given Johnson 100 yards rushing on the day. All in all the Titans could have easily beaten the team that some believe to be the best in the league.
Then comes Week 4 and a game I was at. The Titans welcome the Broncos to LP Field, and also came out running the ball early and often to no avail. Somehow though the Titans kept the lead all the way to the two-minute warning when a pass interference near the end zone set up the go ahead touchdown, then a muffed squib kick set up a Broncos field goal to make it a six-point game.
The Titans still had a shot and Kenny Britt let a possible game winning pass go through his hands. Yet another loss the Titans with a little bit of a variety of plays could have won.
Next the Titans played the Cowboys and came out passing as they have every game since, which has paid off greatly for Chris Johnson and the team as a whole. The Titans passing game is greatly improved over last year and any year in recent memory with Vince Young making good, accurate throws.
Also, the Titans have an amazing assortment of talent at the receiver position with Kenny Britt, Justin Gage, Nate Washington, and now rookie Damian Williams has seen some time.
All those receivers, the tight ends with Bo Scaife, Jared Cook, and Craig Stevens, and then you throw in Chris Johnson and Javon Ringer and you have the second highest scoring offense in the National Football League with 28.4 points per game. The Patriots are first with 29.5 points per game.
Then you got the Titans defense that is full of fairly young players that are all trying to make a name for themselves. Each and every person on the defense has stepped up and made plays when they needed to even rookie cornerback Alterraun Verner, who has two interceptions, and Michael Griffin, who has four interceptions.
The secondary seems to be right where it needs to be in making big plays, leading the league with 12 interceptions, and they don't even play the Bears. The team is also tied with Chargers for the league lead in sacks with 25, and did I mention they don't even play the Bears?
With the interceptions and the harassment of the quarterback up front the Titans seemingly shut down any running back that actually poses a threat as they did with Jones-Drew and Mendenhall. They don't allow the least rushing yards per game but they make plays when it matters as they are first in red zone defense.
The defense has had a great bend but don't break technique going as they have allowed teams to move down the field while they stop them in their tracks when they reach the red zone, just as they did with the Eagles at the start of the fourth quarter when they forced a fumble inside the 10.
Only giving up 16.7 points per game they are third in the league. That is a stat that is ahead of everyone but Pittsburgh(12 ppg) and Chicago(16.3 ppg).
Last season a big problem in a couple of games for the Titans was special teams. This season they have rookie Marc Mariani who has helped the Titans to the best average starting field position in the league this year.Including one touchdown return and another that had them deep inside the opponents territory.
When you put together the second highest scoring offense with the third best points per game defense you get the team with the most net points, 82. The second best team only has 58 net points.
With all of this including Rob Bironas and Brett Kern you have the best and most versatile team in the NFL.
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