This is getting really old, but the Titans were blown out for the fourth time in five games this season, losing to the Vikings in Minnesota by a final score of 30-7. The Vikings became the fifth team to score 30 points or more against the Titans this season. They started off by being the fourth team to score a touchdown on their first or second possession and went into halftime with a 13-0 lead. The Vikings extended that to 23-0 in the third quarter, and then it was all over but the shouting. The Titans finally got on the board with a Jared Cook touchdown, but then allowed their eighth touchdown to a tight end for the final margin.
The offense was probably your larger culprit today, as the Titans did nothing. I've spent a lot of time writing relatively nice things about Matt Hasselbeck's play as a Titans, but there's little nice to say about today's game. He spent a lot of the early going trying to throw the ball to defenders, and Antoine Winfield finally obliged to set up the score that made it 10-0. Chris Johnson found little running room and didn't do anything special with the yards he found. Part of the reason Hasselbeck threw so many near-picks was the receivers didn't get open. The whole team put up less than 100 yards of offense through three quarters; I'm not a big total yardage guy, but that accurately reflected how completely dead the offense was.
Defensively, the Titans did pick off Christian Ponder twice, on very interceptable balls, including one when the Vikings were driving to extend their lead late in the first half. Zach Brown played WLB and ended up with a few tackles. Adrian Peterson had some big runs on lead draw, a play I noted in my game preview. Percy Harvin had over 100 yards and two touchdowns, one on the ground and one in the air. Tight end Kyle Rudolph only had 23 yards but did have that score. Mike Martin had the Titans' only sack of the game when he brought down Ponder on a scramble for no gain.
Oh, and Javon Ringer late in the fourth quarter suffered a nasty leg injury-not quite as bad as Marc Mariani's, I don't think, but it was close. I wouldn't be surprised if he's out for the year. I didn't notice any other injuries, but, yeah, this game was one to forget for the Titans.
I agree with you, this team is getting really old on me FAST...I was wondering about your thoughts on a couple of observations I made on this game and in general on the team:
- I thought both Mike Martin and Zach Brown looked really good today. Martin blew up a few of running plays and managed a little pressure on Ponder, while Brown racked up some tackles, was all over the field and also looked strong in run support. They may be good pieces to work around.
- What has happened to Karl Klug? He has had ZERO impact and last year is looking like a fluke.
- Michael Griffin was horrible again. I am not one to jump on the Michael Griffin sucks bandwagon, but he really sucked this game. Safety needs to be addressed in the off season.
- Dave Stewart is no long a first rate tackle and no longer gets a pass. His play has been declining but he is now another liability on that offensive line (too many penalties, poor pass and run blocking).
- This team is probably the worst tackling team in the NFL. It is like none of these guys knows how to wrap up. I think verner and McCourty tackle well, and McCarthy usually, but the rest of them are horrible. Martin looks good too. Ayers, Marks, Griffin, Babs, Mouton, Klug...horrible. As whole the team is pathetic at tackling.
- Hasselback is done. He cannot throw the ball down the field anymore...
- There is a major lack of talent on the D-line (and O-line for that matter).
- The team as a whole has MAJOR holes to fill in the off season. I agree with your statement below, other than Lowry, the whole coaching staff should go. Gray is horrible. Palmer is horrible. Munch cannot manage or motivate the team and brought in those two deadweights. Horrible. He has no passion on the sideline and every game there is at least 5 camera shots of him with this confused/disgusted look on his face. It is pathetic at this point. Bring someone in with some fire and some guys that can develop a game plan that actually works. Bruce Matthews is a big failure too.
- The team has lots of cap space. I hate to say it because he is my favorite player, but I see CJ getting cut, which will free up lots of room. Griffin better get cut...that is quite a bit more room too (none of Griffin's contract after the first year was garunteed). Hawkins gets cut. Re-sgin cook and bironas...let other free agents walk (like Marks). Sign guys who have proven their worth before hitting the free agent marker (Verner). Get rid of Britt once his contract runs out after next season..they guy is a cancer. Sign high quality free-agents so that they are not giving money to players that are not worth just to reach the cap floor. Spend some dough on top flight guys, not second tier ones. Continue drafting good (which I think they have been doing).
Tom, your thoughts...Your insights are almost always spot on...what does this team need to do to be a contender?
What a disappointing game. How bad can this year get? I am just dumbfounded by how poorly the Titans are playing on both sides of the ball. There is plenty of blame to go around. The porous defence and terrible pass coverage. The horrible running game with equal amounts of blame to be heaped on the sieve-like O-line or the ultra-hesitant running back who can longer make a tackler miss. But today most of the blame has to lay at the feet of the coaching staff. The team just didn't seem prepared to play football. The defence allows a quick score and the offence can't move the ball at all until the game was out of reach. The gameplan was so ineffective (and this isn't the first week you can say that) that the coaching staff - from Munch on down - should be put on notice that if things get any worse they won't make it through the season. After a few more losses both coordinators' heads should roll.
@dragak1981 I'll have to rewatch Brown and Martin to really get a feel for how they played. Maybe a next weekend project. Klug's a situational pass rush specialist; he'd be a more valuable player if the Titans were ahead in the second half and teams had to pass. I wrote this season his production last year was a bit lucky, so I'm not surprised he's fallen off. Griffin isn't very good at doing some free safety-esque things like making plays in space. I was never quite as high on Stewart as most people; he's signed through 2013 with a voidable year in 2014 (don't know void conditions). Given everything else going on, I'm not starting with him.
On offense, I could pretty much re-run the long post I wrote last year after Week 15 about how comprehensively lousy they were without changing things. Jared Cook and Kenny Britt when healthy are your only offensive players who are actually good, while Nate Washington, Craig Stevens, and maybe CJ are useful in the right circumstances. Kendall Wright is your master of garbage time production. Defensively, they have some useful pieces but no top-level players. Those guys can really make a difference.
You can't really make that many major changes during the season, and it's hard to really change personnel. You can tinker at the edges (more Brown, less Spoon), but that's about it.
@SethLeonard Is he? Who knows. I'm not talking to anybody in the front office, and they're not talking to me. It doesn't seem to be in their nature to make quick moves. If they only have one win at the bye week, maybe something happens.
Should he be? I think anybody employed by the team with the possible exception of special teams coach Alan Lowry has to be seriously concerned about his job security, because the Titans have been terrible on both sides of the ball. It's hard for me to see Munchak getting fired during the season, though. The obvious replacements are the coordinators, and both of them are probably on about as hot a seat as Munchak.
@ThomasGower Thanks Tom...I agree Stewart is not a place to start. I just feel that the Titans have mediocre players in so many positions, and guys who were supposed to be solid, like stewart, ave turned mediocre to average at best.
During the season, there is little they can do. I would like to see a real house cleaning this offseason, because if they come in the with the same staff and same players, they will get the same results (Einstein's definition of insanity basically).
It is sad that it is the fifth week of the season and there is no hope for the next 11 weeks really...Only to look forward to draft and next year absent a miraculous turnaround. But this team is getting blown out and not really close in my opinion.