At the end of the day, it was too little, too late for the Tennessee Titans.
Despite a late-game rally that was aided by a recovered onsides kick, the Titans came up short at the end as they were defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers 19-11.
The Titans were undone by a ridiculous 7 turnovers as well as 11 penalties. Contributing to their woes was an inefficient performance by starting QB Vince Young, who was eventually pulled for Kerry Collins in the second half and the struggles of Chris Johnson, who was contained by a prideful Steelers defense that limited CJ2K to a measly 34 yards on 16 carries.
Additional thoughts on today's Titans' loss at the hands of their former AFC Central rival...up next.
Presenting..."The Keystone Kops"...played by the Tennessee Titans
Costly mistakes was the theme of the day for a Tennessee Titan squad that turned the ball over on seven occasions. There were fumbles caused by protection breakdowns, interceptions due to the confusion that typically occurs when faced when a Dick LeBeau defense, Marc Mariani's careless handling of the football that led to him being stripped, etc.
On one occasion, James Harrison was presented with perhaps the only favorable one-on-one matchup against Chris Johnson: mano y mano in pass protection. Needless to say, Harrison overpowered a helpless CJ en route to forcing a fumble.
Without a doubt, the mistake-prone nature of the Titans' play can definitely be compared to what you'd expect when watching a film/video of the aforementioned incompetent early 20th century police officers.
Vince Young/Kerry Collins QB controversy...yet again?
Due to his struggles, VY was replaced by veteran Kerry Collins in the second half. KC had his own problems as well, but he did a better job of moving the football albeit against a bend-but-don't break, protecting the lead version of the Steelers defense.
Visions of the Jacksonville season-opener of 2008 had to enter many of our minds as a dejected Vince Young stood speechless on the sidelines while the veteran Collins replaced him.
However, unlike in 2008, I'm fully expecting Vince Young to continue to serve as the team's starting signal-caller moving forward. Sure, he had a bad game and it was definitely a setback considering how well he played in the season-opening slaughter of a hapless Raider squad.
Despite Collins having some success at moving the football at the end of the game, I'm definitely not sold on his ability to lead the troops to the promised land in 2010. I guess there were too many occasions where Kerry's errant throws and inability to avoid the pass-rush reminded me of his performance during the team's disastrous 2009, 0-6 start.
It remains to be seen as to what will occur in the next several days but from the perspective of this armchair general manager, VY should remain as the team's starting QB.
Final random thoughts
-The Titans sure could of used what we initially thought was a trademark, 85-yard TD scamper from Chris Johnson. Unfortunately, Eugene Amano did his best Alex Barron impression by committing a holding penalty that wiped out a potential score.
-Visions of the Ryan Mouton debacle at the Meadowlands was the first thing that came to mind when rookie Marc Mariani lost a fumble on a kickoff return in the first half.
To Mariani's credit, he was able to hold onto the football for the remainder of the game and actually had a nice return or two as well. However, ball security is a staple of his job performance so if he continues to struggle in that department, fellow rookie Damian Williams is waiting in the wings to replace him.
-Speaking of special team's debacles, the Titans had a breakdown on that unit during Antonio Brown's game-opening 89-yard kickoff return for a TD.
-Kudos to the Titans' defense that persevered through the turnover-prone nature of their offensive counterparts to put forth a pretty solid performance.
The team as a whole ended up with the L in the loss column, but nonetheless, the defense has nothing to be ashamed about: they fought hard and played physical for the entire time they were on the football field.
-The efforts of two defensive players in particular that I'd like to point out are newcomers Jason Babin and Will Witherspoon. Both players ended up with a sack, with Witherspoon forcing a fumble.
-Nice to see Kenny Britt register five catches on the afternoon. Hopefully, getting somewhat involved in the offense in the second half will provide him with some badly-need confidence moving forward.
-Justin Gage also had a pretty solid game, catching 4 passes for 74 yards. He's a solid veteran who, if healthy, can usually be counted on to make some type of positive contribution in the passing game.
Your turn, audience. Feel free to post your thoughts regarding the Titans' loss to the Steelers below.