The disturbing thing about today’s Titans-Jets game is not that Tennessee lost its first game of the 2008 season.
It’s how they lost.
The Jets controlled the clock, Tennessee’s passing game was ineffective, and the Titans defense had no answer for Brett Favre and the Jets offense.
Story of the Game: Favre carves Titans defense
Brett Favre and the Jets offense dominated this game, using short runs and passes to control the first half, and explosive runs and passes to put the game out of reach in the second half.
Favre completed 78 percent of his passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw an interception to Cortland Finnegan in the second quarter, but it did not negatively impact the Jets.
The Jets’ Thomas Jones and Leon Washington did their best Smash and Dash imitation. Jones hit singles (27 carries for 96 yards) and Washington hit home runs (8 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns).
The Jets offense did not give the Titans much of an opportunity to win this game, as it held the ball for 40 minutes, 30 seconds.
The Other Story of the Game: Titans prove ineffective in the passing game
Kerry Collins did not play well with limited opportunities. In the first half, Collins completed 7 of 21 passes for 54 yards.
A substantial number of Collins’ incompletions were dropped passes.
Through three quarters, Collins was 11 of 26 for 98 yards. His best production occurred after Leon Washington’s 61 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. The score put the game out of reach for the Titans at 27-6, and Collins racked up good numbers against a soft Jets defense.
While playing man-to-man, the Jets defense exposed the Titans biggest offensive weakness: Tennessee’s most experienced receivers (Justin Gage, Justin McCareins and Alge Crumpler) cannot consistently separate from defenders.
Unfortunately, its quickest receivers are either too inconsistent (Brandon Jones) or too inexperienced (Lavelle Hawkins) to start in place of the two Justins.
Bo Scaife, the Titans leading receiver, had three catches for 40 yards–and a dropped pass.
Chris Johnson dropped a few short passes last week against the Jaguars. He also dropped a pass today. To remedy the problem, he played catch with running back coach Earnest Byner on the sideline late in the first quarter.
Johnson led the team in rushing with 10 carries for 46 yards. As with Collins, Johnson didn’t have many chances to do much against the Jets.
Watch out for the Jets
Before the season began, I picked the Jets to win this game, primarily because of the acquisition of Brett Favre. Favre is a difference-maker and is now sync with his offense after playing inconsistently in September.
The Jets front three on defense has been a key factor in the team’s success. Nose guard Kris Jenkins is as dominant for New York as Albert Haynesworth has been for Tennessee.
The Jets have won two tough road games: today against Tennessee and last week in New England. Because of Brett Favre, its balanced offense and solid defense, the New York Jets will be a factor down the stretch and in the playoffs.
Next Week: Thanksgiving Trap Game in Detroit
The Tennessee Titans have shown weakness and the desperate Detroit Lions are smelling blood.
The Lions are a highly motivated team. They are winless and do not want to be embarassed on national television by a strong Titans team on Thanksgiving Day.
I hope Tennessee does not take this game lightly, but, needless to say, they are more than capable of dominating the Lions.
Question of the Week: will Vince Young get playing time on Thursday?
Watch video highlights of the Titans-Jets game by clicking here.