Under owner Bud Adams’ watchful eye, Tennessee put together a solid performance on offense, defense, and special teams and dominated Jacksonville despite two long touchdown runs by Maurice Jones-Drew.
Chris Johnson set a franchise record with 228 yards rushing and Vince Young played mistake-free football as the Titans earned its first victory of the 2009 season.
Story of the Game: Four long runs
Maurice Jones-Drew was the Jaguars offense. His elusiveness and strength embarrassed the Titans defense as he scored on touchdown runs of 80 and 79 yards.
After the second MJD touchdown tied the game at 13-13, Chris Johnson responded on the next Titans’ offensive possession by going virtually untouched on the way to a quick 52-yard touchdown run.
On the first play of the fourth quarter at their own 11-yard line, Johnson took a handoff on third down, broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage, and followed receiver Kenny Britt’s blocks 89 yards to the end zone.
Today’s contest was the first game in NFL history that saw players score four rushing touchdowns of over 50 yards. I imagine both teams will work on their run defense this week.
Johnson has been the single bright spot in an otherwise dismal season and would be an MVP candidate if the Titans weren’t 1-6.
The Other Story of the Game: Vince Young, game manager
It would be easy for someone who didn’t watch the game to say Vince Young had very little impact on today’s victory. However, his contribution was key to the Titans’ offense”s success.
First, and most importantly, he was efficient (15 of 18) and he did not commit a turnover.
Second, he helped the offense sustain drives. The Titans opened the game with a drive that lasted 7:14 and ended with a Rob Bironas field goal. The offense had only two three-and-out series, one of them being in the fourth quarter as Tennessee was milking the play clock.
Young was responsible for four third-down conversions (two runs, two passes). A key conversion occurred during the third quarter with the game tied at 13. On third and six, Young spun away from blitzing defenders and made a sideline throw to Britt. On the following play, Johnson scored the 52-yard touchdown.
Did the Titans miss Albert Haynesworth?
Not at all.
Kyle Vanden Bosch made his first sack of the season. Jacob Ford, Jason Jones and David Thornton also recorded sacks as the Titans defense pressured Jaguars quarterbacks all day.
There’s not much Haynesworth could have done to stop Jones-Drew. He can’t tackle for other defenders.
Credit the offensive linemen for their run blocking and for not giving up a sack.
Michael Griffin had an up-and-down day. He missed a tackle during Jones-Drew’s first touchdown run, but blocked the extra point following MJD’s second touchdown. Griffin did forced a fumble in the third quarter, and contributed on special teams with a 25-yard kick return.
I’m still waiting for rookie tight end Jared Cook’s breakout game. He caught one pass for 3 yards.
The Titans’ time of possession: 39:43. Johnson, Young and LenDale White carried the ball 47 times.
Jevon Kearse was placed on the inactive list. I’m sure he didn’t expect his career to wind down like this, but William Hayes deserves to start.
Next week: San Francisco 49ers
Over the past two weeks, “Samurai” Mike Singletary’s team has lost two tough road games to the Colts and Texans.
After today’s loss in Indianapolis, Singletary said his team will win enough games to make the playoffs. His team plays in the NFC West, so this may not be the toughest thing to accomplish. Even so, I hope the 49ers do not get their next victory against Tennessee.