This game DESERVES a long recap, so I'll keep this one short, but the Titans beat the Lions, 44-41, in overtime at LP Field today to get their first win of the season. The Titans got 5 touchdowns, all on big plays, including long passes to Jared Cook and Nate Washington, plus a punt return score, a kickoff score, and a pick-6 that appeared to seal the win by putting them up 41-27 with only 76 seconds to play. The Lions quickly drove the field behind backup quarterback Shaun Hill, though, recovered an onside kick, and tied it on a Hail Mary on the final play of regulation. The Titans got the ball first in overtime and settled for Rob Bironas's third made field goal (after missing two earlier in the game), and held the Lions and Hill on a QB sneak inside the 10 as Jim Schwartz pulled off a gamble that failed.
There's a lot to say, but Jake Locker made some big plays. The Lions didn't get a single sack. The defense mostly got shredded in the second half. The big yardage plays until the Hail Mary all went in favor of the Titans. Chris Johnson had three or four plays where he looked like a real running back. Jared Cook had the big score early and got hurt and missed the second half. Craig Stevens had some big catches in overtime, plus one more that was reversed and shouldn't have been. The run defense was lousy. The pass rush, well, there wasn't one aside from one HUGE play where Akeem Ayers came unblocked on third down. Ayers had 16 tackles, 10 of them solo. The fourth quarter was insane. This was clearly the craziest game in the history of LP Field, and I'm not sure what's in second.
More later. I need to decompress from this one.
Friday I commented that the Titans wouldn't win unless they had 100 yards on the ground. I guess I should have had an "or" in there, or Locker throws for almost 400 yards. This game was incredible. Locker deserves a great deal of credit. CJ, on the other hand, does not. He has lost it. Even the very first carry. He got 3 or 4 yards, but it could have been so much more if he makes one defender miss. He rarely can do that any more, Three years ago, he would almost always make the first defender in the open field miss. Now he does't. He seems to have lost that ability. How can anyone lost 7 or 8 yards on a carry. Embarassing. Props to Verner and Campbell for the big plays.. Britt, Cook and Washington made big plays as well. And Ayers just hast to learn to catch the ball instead of deflectig it into the receivers hands. Man he made it more complicated than it needed to be. Happy to see that Griffin wasn't our leading tackler. And great to see Babs back on the field. The Johnson experiment didn't work.
@Scott P I agree on having babs out there...much better than Johnson...I do not think he is truly NFL caliber. Ayers was having a monster game...until the last couple of minutes...of not for his stupid roughing the passer call, the game ends on Verner's interception. As far as CJ goes, the embarrassment for those negative runs goes on the blocking scheme and play call....those were not CJ's fault. See my prior comment on CJ. You are correct that he does not make as many people miss as he used to, but that could be in part on players and coaches adjusting to CJ's style of play. He needs to adjust accordingly. He did have several very good runs, took what was there on a play, and even turned a couple runs into ten yard games where there was nothing where the hole was supposed to be. Much improved from the previous two games.
I wanted to say too on CJ...he looked really good today....the number lie. 14 rushes for 24 yards does not tell the story...he had 5 negative rushes that resulted in -27 yards. Two for -8, one for -7, one for -3 and one for -1. If you take those 5 rushes out, CJ goes for 9 rushes for 51 yards...respectable for sure...that is about 5.5 yards per carry....even if you take out the three worst one (-8, -8 and -7) which were due to horrible blocking and poorly designed plays, you are talking 11 rushes for 47 yards...about 4.4 yards per carry...again not horrible and he did break off some big chunks, often when the blocking was poor.
This game was insane...so many ups and downs...the game seemed in their grasp and they lost it and then won in the end...my heart was racing at the end of this one...Locker looked really good in this one...i hope to see more games like this one from him!