Blunders such as Chris Hope's costly pass-interference penalty and Marc Mariani's fumble on a late 4th quarter kickoff return combined to serve as proverbial nails in the coffin during the Tennessee Titans' 26-20 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Hope's miscue led to the Broncos scoring a touchdown to take a lead that they would fail to relinquish and Mariani's ill-fated decision to mimic Superman backfired as Denver recovered the ball while simultaneously sealing their defeat of the Titans.
Additional thoughts on today's disappointing Titan loss....up next.
Can the Titans win without a dominant performance from CJ?
At this point, the answer to the question asked above is a resounding no, unfortunately.
With CJ experiencing his share of struggles, the team as a whole was unable to secure the victory. Despite a solid performance from Vince Young, solid isn't going to be enough when it comes to defeating anything resembling a formidable opponent when the straw that usually stirs the drink (CJ) isn't effective.
To provide some statistical data to back up this point, look no further than the team's W-L record since the onset of the 2009 season when CJ reaches or surpasses the century mark compared to when he doesn't:
2009: 8-4 when CJ rushes for at least 100 yards; 0-4 when he doesn't.
2010: 2-0 when CJ rushes for at least 100 yards; 0-2 when he doesn't.
For those keeping track, that's a 10-4 mark over the last two years when Johnson reaches/exceeds 100 yards rushing and an abysmal 0-6 mark when he's held under the century mark.
That's stat going to have to improve if the Titans have any aspirations of making a run to the postseason.
The bend-but-don't break pass defense suffers a fracture when it matters the most
Don't get me wrong, I love the attitude of this year's defense. Collectively, they're a band of relatively unknown players who combine to provide 60 minutes of passionate defensive football.
Unfortunately, that's not always going to be enough to win on Sundays.
Despite sacking Kyle Orton six times, there were far too many occasions where Denver's gutsy signal-caller picked apart a Titan secondary that was torched by the league's best passing attack. Although the Broncos were predominantly a passing team due to its struggles in the running game, a one-dimensional Orton-led offense was enough to get the job done against the Titans.
Even in last week's win against an imploding Giant team, the defense gave up their share of passing yardage to Eli Manning, so this week's struggles against the pass are anything but an anomaly.
With fellow divisional opponents such as Indianapolis and Houston armed and dangerous when it comes to the passing game as a result of having quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub, defending the pass is something the Titans better get a grip on if they have any desire to contend for the division in 2010.
Final random thoughts
-Stealing a page from the Dickens playbook, it was the best of times and the worst of times for rookie returner Marc Mariani.
He was impressive on a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown but unfortunately, the play that will be remembered the most will be his inability to field the ball adequately on a botched return in the latter stages of the ballgame.
-Once again, in limited opportunities, Javon Ringer did a good job running the football. In order to prevent CJ from wearing down, I'd love to see Ringer get up to as many as 10 carries a game moving forward.
-Inconsistency is thy name, Kenny Britt.
For the second consecutive game, Britt was able to register a notch in the touchdown reception department. Unfortunately, he was unable to hold onto a couple of passes on the team's final drive as they desperately attempted to overcome a six-point deficit in the waning moments of the game.
-Solid effort from rookie Alterraun Verner today. He made a ton of tackles (11), mostly due to being picked on constantly by the Denver passing game and for the most part, held his own.
He's a good young player who appears to have a nice future in front of him as a Tennessee Titan.
-I thought Vince Young did an adequate job out there today. He was efficient and didn't make any costly mistakes on the afternoon.
There's few things to complain about regarding the touch loss, but VY's performance shouldn't be one of them.
-Expect Chuck Cecil's wallet to be a little lighter as a result of his "salute" to the refs today.
Your turns, folks. Any thoughts/opinions about today's loss to Denver? Feel free to make your contributions below.