Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review of Titans vs Colts - Offense


Coming off a big road win against the Buffalo Bills where Chris Johnson has his best game of the year, The 3 and 4 Tennessee Titans return home to host the surging Indianapolis Colts. The Titans had won 2 games in a row including a big Thursday Night Football win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Could the Titans keep their offensive momentum rolling? Let's take a look.

Before I begin, I want to say I really appreciate the job Matt Hasselbeck has done for the Titans. He pretty much singlehandedly saved the 2011 season. He handled Bud Adams' courting of Peyton Manning with as much class as you could expect. He handled the quarterback competition with Jake Locker just as well, and from all appearances has been nothing short of an excellent teammate.

Having said all that, I am going to be a bit critical of his performance in this game. Don't get me wrong, he had solid numbers and make some good plays. He finished the game 22 of 29 for 236 yards and a touchdown. He did not throw an interception, although he could have but more on that later. He took 2 sacks and fumbled a snap (more on that later too) but recovered it.


He is a good game managing quarterback who spreads the ball around and who does well. He just can't seem to make the big play anymore to seal a victory, and at times makes some head scratching decisions for a veteran quarterback.He has been pretty lucky not to be intercepted more this year. For the record, the Colts ran 74 plays while the Titans ran 56. Look also at how many yards each possession produces. I think that is really telling.

The offense starts to sputter in the 3rd quarter. The first possession is a 3 and out. The second possession leads to a missed Rob Bironas field goal. On that possession, Hasselbeck throws a screen pass in coverage to Kendall Wright, who doesn't turn toward his blockers that only goes for 4 yards. He doesn't even look at Jared Cook who is in man coverage with Jerraud Powers and has him beat.


As far as the missed field goal is concerned, the only thing I can say is that wind wasn't a factor and Bironas just hit it to the right and it was WIDE right. In any event, the Titans hold the ball a little less than 6 minutes in the 3rd quarter.


The plays in particular I want to talk about occur in the 4th quarter. The Titans start the 4th quarter with the ball 1st and 10 on the Tennessee 30 yard line. The Titans are up 10 to 6. The Titans have a nice drive going and have the ball 1 and 10 on the 10 yard line. The Titans run CJ one play up the middle for 3 yards, leading to a 2 and 7, and end up with a field goal out of the possession. What happens on 2 and 3rd down are really telling so let's look at them in detail.

On 2nd down, Hasselbeck inexplicably fumbles the snap. There really is no explanation for this occurrence, but it drives the ball back to the 11 yard line.



What is even more maddening about that fumble is that rookie tight end Taylor Thompson was wide open and could have waltzed into the end zone.



On 3rd and 11, Hasselbeck is in the shotgun formation looking to pass and he takes a sack. It will go down as a coverage sack but let's take a look. First, he has Reynaud open on a screen pass to his right with daylight, but he doesn't throw him the ball.


On that same play, Jared Cook is one on one over the middle with daylight and he doesn't get targeted either. Kendall Wright ends up open in the endzone along with Reynaud. Hasselbeck ultimately turns his back on his receivers trying to escape and ends up with a sack.



On the next Titans offensive drive, Hasselbeck again has Cook one on one on 2 and 9 but just overthrows him. This drive maddens me more than anything. We go have a nice drive going and then Hasselbeck overthrows Cook on 2 and 9. Cook was again one on one and had that pass connected would have surely been a touchdown.One side note here I'm not sure why Cook and Washington appear to be running toward the same spot but in any event Cook heads toward the end zone.



The third down play was an incomplete pass to Kenny Britt. This is where Hasselbeck almost gets intercepted. He throws into coverage and the ball just hits Pat Angerer in the check and he just doesn't hold onto it.




On 4th and 9, we elected to punt. I hate this decision. In all fairness, a field goal would have been roughly 60 yards and Bironas has made one of those. He also missed a 45 yard field goal try earlier. You play to win the game though and we elected to play not to lose. I really thought Munchak had more of a different mentality.


In good news, Chris Johnson still looks good and almost broke 100 yards. he ended the day with 22 carries and 99 yards. He did drop a screen pass but he made up on it the next play with a first down run. I was particularly impressed with this run at 10:33 in the first quarter.





The wide receivers I thought did well even after being victimized by 3 terrible offensive pass interference calls. The 2nd OPI on Kenny Britt was particularly bad because it negated a touchdown.




All Britt did was move Powers' arm off him who either just falls down or flops. A terrible call but what was worse was the call on Kendall Wright. Even the announcers couldn't justify that call. Having said that I absolutely love the aggressiveness and I hope the receivers don't change a thing.

Nate Washington just continues to make plays and Kendall Wright is really coming along well. He had the only touchdown pass of the day for the Titans. The catch was simply amazing.






It is no secret that tight end Jared Cook is unhappy, and with good reason. According to Jim Wyatt who covers the Titans for the Tennessean, Cook was on the field for 25 of the team’s 59 offensive snaps (42 percent) as the Titans lost to the Colts 19-13 in overtime on Sunday. He was targeted only four times and finished with three catches for 45 yards. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck overthrew Cook on what would have been a go-ahead touchdown in the final minutes.

Cook has played less than 50 percent of the snaps in six of the eight games so far. He was limited against the Lions and Texans because of a shoulder injury.All these stats were taken from Wyatt's article here http://www.tennessean.com/article/20121029/SPORTS01/121029007/Titans-no-plans-trade-Cook-Munchak-says?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Sports|s&nclick_check=1.

I have talked a little bit about how Cook had opportunities earlier in the blog. the Titans simply must get him the ball more it is inconceivable that he doesn't play more and get more targets.

Not really much to say this week about the offensive line except that overall I thought the young guys did well. Fernando Velasco is just a beast.




Mike Otto I thought acquited himself really well.



My final word is that I find it so hard to believe we could only score 13 points with all the talent we have on our offense. I think the Titans need Jake Locker back in the offense and that a playmaker at quarterback could make a big difference and help the team score more points.

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