Stick with me on this. I am not trying to defend one player and put down another. Think of this as more of a mental exercise. A chance to think about what could have been, even if that means things likely would have been different and probably worse.
I’m not sure I have ever felt this low as a Titans fan. Even during the Ken Whisenhunt era, things did not seem this bad. That is not to say this team is as bad as those teams were, because it’s not. But with high expectations and plenty of off-season optimism, the way this season has unfolded has proven to be massively disappointing. Even that feels like an understatement.
It wasn’t a perfect game but the Tennessee Titans did what was necessary to get a road win in Atlanta. I am not taking anything away from the team. They played physical. They played smart. (Most of the time.) But, I want to avoid declaring that all things are great after a big win. This team has plenty of potential. We just need to see it consistently.
How are you guys feeling about the Titans allowing the Indianapolis Colts to ruin the home opener? Me, I’m not feeling all that great. If I had written this article last night, it would have been incoherent and borderline insane. I’m glad I let the dust settle, because, as the name of this series suggests, this is a reaction. Not an overreaction.
We are riding a hot streak! Can we go 2 for 2? Read and find out.
The theme of today’s article is “Don’t get cocky!”
I’ve chosen this as the theme for two reasons. First, I’m feeling pretty good about my three keys for last week. If you missed that inspired bit of football analysis, you can read it here. It’s almost as if the Titans read my article before the game and fashioned their game plan around my words. Almost. But as we all know, pride comes before the fall so I will do my best to put last week behind me and move on to Indianapolis with the proper mindset. I promise I won’t let success go to my head.
We react to the Tennessee Titans’ 43-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Notice, I am calling this weekly feature “Monday Morning Reaction.” It should be obvious why. As fans, we tend to overreact to everything that happens on game day. If our team wins, we feel they are unbeatable. If they lose, they are THE WORST TEAM EVER. It’s hard to find a balance. I am going to do my best to make the “Monday Morning Reaction” that balance.
30 point wins don’t happen too often in the NFL, so when they do, fans need to savor them. The Tennessee Titans defeated the Cleveland Browns 43-13, though the game was not quite as lopsided as that score would have you believe. That’s not to say the score is deceptive, or that it shows the Titans were not much better on Sunday than the Browns. The Titans were the better team. They were disciplined and played mistake-free football. The Browns were clowns and could not get out of their own way.
For a Titans’ win, these three things need to happen. Titans Ever On: Keys to the game.
If all goes according to plan, this will be a weekly installment. I’ll do my best to be succinct and not waste anyone’s time with too many words. (I tend to ramble a bit…) Every week, I want to focus on three areas (keys) that I believe are the most important for success for that particular game. No more preamble. Let’s get to the keys to the game for week one.
I might as well go big for my first real article on Titans Ever On. These predictions are not for the faint of heart. I will be pulling no punches. Fortunate favors the bold and all that. So, buckle up and hold on tight. (I’m all out of cliches…) Here are my five Titans season predictions.
1. The offense will share the load.
In the Return of the King, one of the most iconic scenes is when brave and loyal Samwise Gamgee carries Frodo up the slopes of Mount Doom. (If that sentence has you questioning whether this is a sports’ article or the musings of a nerd, the answer is both. You might as well come to terms with that now.) Frodo is completely worn down by the weight and power of the ring he is carrying. (Seriously, if you don’t understand this reference, I’m not going to re-tell the entire story. Go watch the movies or read the books.) Sam realizes he cannot carry the ring – its power would consume him as well. So he decides to carry his friend instead. It’s an amazing and powerful moment in a film full of amazing and powerful moments.
“Marcus, Marcus, he’s our man! If he can’t do it, no one can!”
I’ve written a lot about Marcus Mariota. In case you missed allthose pieces, here is a quick recap about my feelings on the 5th year quarterback:
1. I was not convinced he was the right choice when the Titans drafted him. 2. I quickly became convinced that I was completely wrong about point 1. 3. I would adopt Marcus Mariota if he needed a family. (Marcus, if you need a Middle Tennessee family, we are here for you.) 4. I believe he can lead the Titans to a Super Bowl.
That sums it up. I am well aware what his detractors say. There are a surprising number of Titans’ fans who are ready to move on from Mariota. I can’t say I agree with that perspective, but I am aware of it. When I listen to Nashville talk radio, scan Titans Twitter, or talk to fans, I encounter many naysayers.
I get it. After two seasons, Marcus Mariota looked like an up-and-coming franchise QB. Marcus Mariota was everything the team could want, both on and off the field. He put up fantastic numbers that second season; Marcus was nearly unstoppable in the red zone. He was great in the final minutes of a game. Mariota was unflappable, poised, accurate, and his numbers in the second half of that season were as good as any QB in the league. He was special.