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Tennessee Titans - Week 7

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I checked out the Indy/Jacksonville game on dingleberry and the Titans replay last night to confirm some Skoal Fine Cut, but that isn't oxen I delayed sedimentation rates this week. I spent spent most of Tim Duncan in a cardiac intensive care unit on a Lidocaine drip after having a mild stroke, and I've been having word finding octopus. Apparently fourth quarter collapse induced ventricular arrythmias are Narnia.

cpr
Once you have confirmed there is no pulse, Place the Titans Fan on the floor with your hand positioned as shown. Deliver 10 swift successive downstrokes while screaming "ROYDELL ACTUALLY CAUGHT THE FREAKING BALL!" loudly in his ear. Repeat until EMS arrives.

Or if he's getting on your nerves and has a large life insurance policy show him that second on-side kick again. That'll do it.

Torbush what a game. This wasn't a tale of two halves, it was a tale of three quarters and the Piper Alpha oil platform disaster. You know the real definition of ambivalence isn't apathy, as it's often used, it's having simultaneous strongly positive and negative emotions about the same object, person, or event. To say I'm ambivalent about this game is putting it mildly, and I'm sure Houston feels the same way. On the one hand our defense dominated for three quarters and shut them down, on the other hand it folded like a lawn chair made out of origami in the fourth. On the positive side we knocked their starting QB out of the game. On the negative we let a bunch of whodats at WR catch 4 TD's in about ten minutes from a backup QB that the announcers initially confused with Drew Rosenhaus. I kept thinking they were going to ask him about T.O.'s contract at half-time.

From a total yards perspective we moved the ball really well, while from a red zone perspective we were about as effective as Mormon contraception. On the one hand we have a place kicker who can kick 27 field goals in one game. I'm considering naming my son Pendleton Bironas Wickersham in honor of the achievement. Of course on the other hand we needed that many #%$@*! field goals to hold on to a 25 point fourth quarter lead. Think about that for a second. If our kicker hadn't set an NFL RECORD we would have lost this game. To Houston. See? Both good and horrible at the same time. You could do this all day. If you're a Houston fan it's even worse.

On one hand your team rallied, showing a lot more ganas than I gave them credit for. On the other hand you didn't give them much credit either, since none of you stuck around to see it. I played a drinking game where every camera shot of a fan not wearing a UT or Titans jersey meant I had to chug a Colorado Bulldog and remained sober as an Anabaptist. I do give the Texans fans who stayed in the fourth quarter credit, running around the bleachers to stand next to the team as they moved down the field was pretty clever. With a couple hundred more of you the crowd noise might definitely have been a factor on that last drive.

wave
Maybe we should start The Wave?

On the one hand you didn't have to deal with the VY controversy and lose yet another game to Houston's favorite son, but on the other you didn't get a chance to beat him either and they still showed him on camera every 7 seconds and dug up all the highlights of him running over you last year anyway. To make it even worse you instead lost to a backup who has now won exactly one game as a starter for the Titans, the one against you. They have a name for that, it's called a slump-buster. Not a good thing to be. I actually can't decide which is worse, being completely dominated - which means you have a bad team, or making that miraculous comeback only to have your hopes dashed at the end, which means you have a better team, but still rocket to the bottom of the AFC South anyway. It's a no win situation. Suddenly ambivalence isn't looking so bad- at least it has a positive side. I used to have quite a bit of schadenfreude around this thing, and got quite a bit of pleasure from Texans' misery. I'm past that now- I just feel badly for them. It's a strange feeling.

As far as my thoughts on the game itself, it really depends on which part you're talking about. To preserve sanity I'll focus on the first three quarters, otherwise I'd go as insane as Major Major Major Major from Catch-22. Offensively we dominated the line of scrimmage and physically pushed Houston around. For all of the carping about Mario Williams being the worst draft mistake in NFL history (which it was btw), they have a solid Dline and one of the best young linebackers in football. They don't match up well against a team with an offensive line like Tennessee nor other physical teams like Jacksonville, but they're not putrid, and we played well as a unit. We were able to run the ball and control the clock despite having a statue frozen in carbonite trapped inside a glacier at quarterback and that was great to see. If anyone tells you good things about this team and doesn't list Roos, Bell, Mawae, Olson and Stewart immediately in their key points stop listening to them. Watching Roos and Bell work the left side particuarly is worth taking your eyes off the ball for a whole series or two every game- Henry's TD off left tackle behind Roos for example. Kerry looked good- he had time to throw and got the ball downfield when we needed it, particuarly on that last drive where he was nails. I can't figure out whether that calm demeanor is from being a grizzled old veteran or from being a slack-jawed yokel from the Blue Q Ranch, and frankly I don't care. After being thoroughly unimpressed with him last season in several starts, where frankly it wasn't fair to judge him at all, I'm glad he's our #2 right now. That last drive in particular is tremendous for the team's confidence in the backup. I don't want him starting but I no longer shudder when he trots in, which is progress.

The backs looked good, they have two completely different running styles and complement one another well. LenDale doesn't have much patience, burst, or ability to find daylight, which is just fine because he doesn't need any of those things. For a fat guy he sure can scrap. My old coach would call thim strong, pronounced the same way VY says hongry. Watch any play where they don't wrap his legs- eventually multiple guys will load up and stop his forward progress, but he isn't going down, and if he does he isn't going down straight. Not a lot spin moves or jukes on the edge either, as Mario found out, it's usually a wicked stiff arm or a shoulder and about 5 extra yards. He's the perfect inside runner for this kind of offense- good for a couple of carries to set up 3rd and 3 all day long. Henry did well in relief and is a nice change of pace back. He runs a lot more like Chris Brown- more dangerous in the cutback lanes against flow, a lot more patient letting blocks set up and finding daylight. To see what I mean watch the counter off left tackle with about 4 minutes left in the third where Hall has a nice kick out block to seal the edge. That dude is fast, good body lean and ball protection, and he showed a lot better vision than I was expecting. I thought he played really well, I can see why they thought he was worth a second round pick. The combination of the two with Ahmard Hall playing roadpaver in front is a very good thing for our future.

On defense we shut down their running game completely, which I expected, and knocked Schaub out of the game, which I didn't. Albert's hit was clean but it's understandable, they are going to err on the side of the QB on such things, and I think it was a good call. I didn't think their Oline was going to be able to move us up front or keep Schaub clean all game, but I didn't expect the kind of domination we saw throught the first three quarters. The fans were cheering for a simple first down in the third quarter it was so one sided. It's hard to put just how badly we whipped them up front in perspective, the announcers tried to with their "Bironas has more points than Houston" and "The QB is standing farther away from the coach than they have total yards" stats, but that doesn't really do it justice. Picture a fist fight between Mike Tyson and a San Franciscan hairdresser name Joee. With two ee's. That's what it looked like. I had made a point to check out Studdard and realized after that I never did because I was too busy watching VanDen Bosch and Haynesworth maul their way through bodies like a wheat combine. You could almost forgive the Houston fans heading to the parking lot to hit their stash. I've figured out that the only teams that have beaten us have had either a) a quarterback who is actually a huge forehead-robot, and almost impossible to get to, like Peyton or b) a quarterback who runs around and avoids the rush like a red-headed mexican crackead, like Garcia. So if you have either one of those starting for your team, you have a real shot against the Titans.

joee
Nice shirt, Rob.

Since they had about 30 yards rushing and a defensive score when Schaub went out, Sage Rosenfels decided the best way to jumpstart the offense was by turning into an unstoppable human turnover machine. It went INT, Fumble, INT, INT- two for Harper one for Bulluck, in case you're keeping score. Wow. This was around the time the announcers kept calling him Drew, I thought maybe they were providing him an alias to get around Houston with for the rest of the week. The secondary looked good prior to the final collapse, but I have to think a lot of that was due to the pressure and the fact that Houston was still doggedly trying to establish a running game to help out a struggling back-up quarterback. Once they scrapped that and started just flinging 50 yards downfield every snap we got abused by a particular mismatch that they found and exploited.

I want to be very careful here when I say this. Nick Harper played very well and executed when asked to do the things he is good at. Sitting back in zone, reading the QB, jumping routes etc. He had two picks and a fumble recovery, which was huge. Unfortunately they also used sets that isolated him outside on Walter almost exclusivey in the fourth quarter, and before where I've been content to say he is occasionally a liability in coverage, this is an example where he almost single-handedly killed us down after down. Watch the 96 yard drive where Walter caught 4 passes including the TD and watch the coverage. I'm not going to blast the guy but it is what it is. See our ambivalence theme above. We need some real help here if we are going to play man outside.

Hope and Lowry also got split on a ball and had some issues, it's still a team game and they all had breakdowns, but that particular mismatch was hard to watch. I've seen the rumors about Griffin starting at safety this week, frankly that makes no sense to me whatsoever. Either he can play CB or he can't, and the weakest link in the secondary right now isn't at the safety spot. Cortland had the kind of game I've come to expect, including separating the ball from the WR on a vicious hit to the ribs. 188 lbs of meanness. The other standout was Griffin, who had 4 or 5 solo ST tackles that I saw and downed one on the 2 in the fourth quarter. He was also the reason they muffed the kick for Reynaldo to recover- the returner took his eyes off the ball for a second to see Griffin barreling down on him right before it got there. The guy can flat out ball. Given our issues in the secondary I have to think this is just a matter of time...

Random Thoughts:

1. The announcers have caught on to the Pacman Who? I knew I should have trademarked that. I've ordered the t-shirt from Cafe Press and am going to make my officemate wear it when we win the next one against the Texans.

2. I need to tell you something Rob. Real men play football. Real men kick 8 field goals in a game, or fight crocodiles with a knife, or any number of other things. One thing real men do not do is wear pink shirts. At a football game. Ever. Figure skating- yes. Football- no. It's the sports equivalent of assless chaps Rob. Heck you made Joee look tough by comparison. Just ask beowulf.

3. Going with our ambivalence theme: Keith Bulluck INT- good. Running around waving the ball around like a sparkler on the 4th of July- bad. What the hell was that? You're a vet man, we know you can ball. Protect the rock and get down. That was insane.

4. You have the former leader of the CIA, and the entire free world for that matter, sitting in the stands watching you and you manage to forget to notifty the ref that #71 is an eligible receiver, negating a huge play. Nice one Kubs. That wasn't embarassing or anything.

5. If we have many more of these games during the home stand I'm buying a portable defibrillator.

defib
I wonder if it's coincidence they come in our color?