Titans 20, Panthers 7

Barring a complete collapse, the Titans will make the playoffs this year.  76 percent of teams with a 6-2 record make the playoffs. Running the ball and stopping the run has produced a successful first half of the 2007 season. The pressure is on Vince Young and his receiving corps to step up.

On Sunday, the Titans defense was excellent as usual, Vince Young was so-so and LenDale White ran hard. But Carolina had no chance to win this game, and here’s why.

Story of the Game: David Carr

It is now clear that the problem with David Carr is not his offensive line or his supporting cast. After five and a half seasons in the NFL, David Carr has been sacked so many times that he is likely more concerned with avoiding the pass rush than with completing passes. Why? More often than not, Carr holds the football too long in the pocket.

Look at Carolina QB Vinny Testaverde’s success with the Panthers offense in the team’s week six victory against the Arizona Cardinals. Carolina literally pulled Testaverde from his recliner, stuck him in the lineup and watch him immediately develop chemistry with receiver Steve Smith, who caught ten passes for 136 yards against Arizona.

What type of chemistry did Steve Smith have with David Carr? Smith caught three catches for 15 yards. Until the fourth quarter, Smith had two catches for zero yards.

Sometimes you get a little help from your opponent on your way to victory. David Carr, who was sacked seven times, gave the Titans a lot of help.

The Other Story of the Game: LenDale White

Lendale White has been the offensive MVP over the last two weeks. He ran for exactly 100 yards and one touchdown against the Panthers.

When asked if anything has recently changed with the Titans offense, White said:

“Nothing, nothing at all,” insists the second-round pick from 2006. “It’s the same stuff we’re running. Maybe I’m just more comfortable in the offense. That’s about it. Nothing major has changed. It’s the same plays we called three or four weeks ago that we’re calling now.” (courtesy Nashville City Paper)

I think he’s been pushed by Chris Henry and, to a lesser degree, Chris Brown, and as a result, he’s running harder.

Vince Young

Young looked OK on Sunday. He was accurate throwing out of the pocket and looked sharp during the first drive of the game and during the two-minute drill to end the first half. His stats, however, were unimpressive and he threw two interceptions. After the second interception he sat on the bench, buried his head in his hands and had to be consoled by center Kevin Mawae.

Vince appears to be a rhythm quarterback. Perhaps the Titans should play a hurry-up offense more frequently. The Titans are a running team, but conventional wisdom says that points are produced in the passing game, so there’s much room for improvement.

Next Week

The Titans must bring its “A” game when it faces the Jacksonville Jaguars. Third-team quarterback Quinn Gray threw for 354 yards in the Jaguars 41-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Jacksonville’s defense is not what it used to be, but division games are always tough and the Jaguars have playmaker Maurice Jones-Drew on offense and special teams.

Tennessee has defeated relatively weak opponents over the past three weeks. Vince Young will need to play his best game thus far in order for Tennessee to beat the Jaguars. With all due respect to the Titans defense, I will be shocked if it completely dominate Jacksonville’s offense.

Go Titans!

Watch video highlights of the Titans-Panthers game by clicking here.

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