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Tennessee Titans - Week 5

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sg
Where have you gone Vince DiMaggio? A Longhorn nation turns it eyes to you. Woo hoo hoo. God help you please Mack and Greg and Colt, In-Vince-able has left and gone away... hey hey hey.

A hey hey hey.

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon.... you know there really should be a word for the post-OU game doldrums. You know exactly what I'm talking about, you've woken up with them on a certain Sunday in October six out of the last eight years. If there isn't a word I'm going to invent one. Vapid malaise bordering on melancholy with a raging hangover isn't strong enough. Maybe we can use one of those Japanese psychomimes, the ones that are supposed to convey emotional states more accurately than our terse literal English. They probably already have a really long depressing word for inevitable/sad/hopeless/defeat, being such a fatalistic militaristic society and all. I bet if Dr. J wasn't so opposed to traveling somewhere with running water and electricity he could find one for me.

My personal post-OU routine usually involves suffering my kokorobosoi in solemn ritualistic solitude; a period of self cleansing if you will, of intimate soul searching, of sitting by myself in my garage drinking spiced rum and Coleman® Fuel listening to Simon and Garfunkel. Over and over and over. Very liberating.

Hello darkness my old friend... I've come to talk with you again... I see the visions of Roy Williams leaping... Hear the sounds of Major softly weeping... and the team that I love lost another freaking game.... yet again... to the school, of suckage.

If you're a Sooner and we happen to beat you again in the next ten years you can substitute the well crafted moody folk rock with the soundtrack from Hee Haw. Double up on the lighter fluid.

sepukku
Or you could always try Sepukku. I won't stop you.

Of course the nice thing about this year's loss was having something to actually look forward to afterwards on Sunday, something to be proud of. Like a urine still to a man stranded in the Gobi, maybe the NFL could provide a small respite, perhaps watching Vince destroy some pro defense could be just the tonic. Only it didn't really turn out that way. The good news is that the Titans won the game. Thank God. The bad news is most of the team played like there was a carbon monoxide leak inside their helmet, Vince included. I'm not going to bother to look up the stats but it was easily his worst game as a pro- yes I include the Dallas and Jacksonville games last year in that mix because I watched both and trust me, this one was worse.

The game had been billed since the off-season as the showdown of "mobile" quarterbacks, which is a politically correct way to advertise Vince vs. Vick without getting too racial. Think of it as the Rumble in the Jungle, the Thrilla in Manila, the... game between two black dudes who have not one single thing in common other than the fact that they both play(ed) quarterback and are... black dudes. I told you ad execs are morons. Unfortunately neither really lived up to the hype, Vince threw poorly and didn't run much, Vick watched the game from his couch with a LoJack and a bong. One of them is headed for the playoffs, the other is headed for the federal honky tonk , as Chooky is wont to say. It's early in the season but I give the nod to Young so far. The cool thing about this game is that both the Titans and Texans game were on in Austin at the same time, which meant you could watch the Titans game and switch over to Rock of Love with Bret Michaels during the commercials. I'm starting to wonder if Bret really cares about those women at all.

Vince played solid but made several bad decisions with the ball even without really being pressured often, resulting in three picks and the lowest third down conversion rate we've seen this season. He didn't go full on Grossman but I was glad to get this game over with and on the books. I'm not sure if it's the scheme or the decision making, but I find it hard to believe the only time we call 40+ yard pass plays is on every third and six in the second half. WTFL? As bad as VY played he had plenty of help, from a fuck-up standpoint it was a team effort. Fumbles, muffs, matador punt blocks, blocked kicks, neutral zone infractions that negated interceptions, drops in the endzone, drops down the field, dropped interceptions, I dropped my beer once just to keep it real, missed assignments, fake punt gaffes, coverage lane nonchalance, utter incompetence on special teams... it's hard to imagine an uglier football game unless one broke out during an Erasure concert. All in all it was a group effort. I expected to see Fish trip and choke on his headseat while TRac impaled a referee with a golf cart fender. It was that kind of day.

So what do you do when you win a game like this? Like any situation in life where you win despite doing every conceivable thing in your power to lose, you downplay the mistakes and focus on the positive, which is exactly what I am going to do. I'll say the special teams miscues are rust from the bye week, the turnovers are fluky coincidence, and the offensive lack of rhythm is a timing thing between the young QB and WR's. It's all remediable. The only other alternative is that I've been wrong about this team all along (not possible) or that Norm Chow personally hates me (unlikely, but I did make fun of USC quite a bit- and he still hates the administration at BYU- dude can hold a grudge), either way I'm calling this one a mulligan and moving on. I suggest you do the same.

The group on offense that did play well was the Oline. I tabbed Michael Roos in the preseason as the best of the bunch, keep watching him and you won't be disappointed. If you love Oline play he's worth checking out every down, he totally shut down John Abraham this game and is quietly becoming one of the best left tackles in the league. We had too many three and outs but it wasn't on the Oline. They blocked well and kept Vince clean all afternoon.

There were of course some other nice things about this game, and the vast majority of them centered around the defense. I imagine Joey Harrington woke up this morning and made his wife check under the bed for Albert Haynesworth, just in case he's hiding there waiting to grab him by the ankle, drag him underneath and eat his soul. All I can say is I'm glad we have a lot of cap room next season to lock that guy up, because we're going to need it. That goal line stand play where he went airborn looked like an out-take from 300. In fact the whole front four played lights out. Vanden Bosch, Brown, Odom, and Laboy completely shut down the Falcons offense. They destroyed the line of scrimmage and put Harrington in the NFL equivalent of the witness protection program by halftime. Anytime you can single handedly cause a coach to turn to Byron Leftwich to save the day you've done your job. Well done, men. Not only did you piss off Crumpler, start a quarterback controversy, and send Petrino into full scale circle the wagons mode , but you pretty much won this game for us. I'm pretty sure one of those Leftwich desperation passes to the back of the endzone hit the blimp.

sparta
THIS... IS... NASHVILLE!!!

The other group that stepped up was the secondary. Like I said in the preseason, Finnegan is a mean little S.O.B. He apparently washed down a handfull of habaneros with a fifth of kerosene before the game and took it all out on Roddy White. I love the emotion, Cortland. Love it. I'm just glad we didn't get a flag from all the fisticuffs. Keep those kidney punches on the refs blindside, okay? Lowry is coming through with over the top safety help- knocking the ball away at the last minute- basically like I was screaming at Lamont for whiffing on the entirety of last season. Fuller took a tip all the way back for a momentum changing touchdown. They don't have a lot of names but this secondary is shaping up to be punishing and opportunistic. The fact that Griffin hasn't seen the field yet on defense speaks to how well they are playing, because trust me that guy can ball.

So where are we after week 5? Still 3-1 with that narrow loss to the Colts. The difference between this team and last years team is that we can play sloppy and unhinged after the bye and still squeak out a win thanks to dominating line play on both sides. Thanks to the defense overall actually, we're flirting with a top 5 defense in all the meaningful categories. Seriously. Atlanta started half their drives on our side of the field. Hell it seemed like they started half their drives in our redzone, thanks to turnovers and our penchance for kicking it to Steve Breaston Jerious Norwood. Somehow we held them to two field goals offensively. That's some potent shit, and bodes well for the rest of the season.

Some random thoughts as we look forward to next week.

1. Vince will get criticized for a 30 something QB rating this week and handle it like he does all criticism, by unleashing a massive can of whoop ass on Tampa next week. Somewhere in his stomach right now burns the heat of ten thousand suns. If Garcia had stolen a Heisman from him I'd guarantee a 30 point victory.

2. Brandon Jones needs to stop being surprised the ball is there on time when he turns out of his break and faces up. Dude. You are huge, you can jump, and you have good hands when you decide to use them. Don't make us draft Limas Sweed next year to replace you. Be the ball.

3. Griffin is wrecking shit on kick returns and Davis is playing well on punts when he holds onto the ball. The rumors of our demise in the secondary and return game with the loss of Pacman were greatly exaggerated.

4. Even Huckleberry is wondering if Bironas is still clutch.

5. Even though we played about as badly as a team can play with 2/3's of the units in the game we got a win. We're two points from a perfect record and healthy cruising into the second quarter of the season, if you're not on the bandwagon now this is probably your last chance before you're officially labeled a poser on this forum.

11 wins or bust.