A performance like the Titans had against the Oakland Raiders is cause for excitement. But I’m sane. I realize the Titans beat the Oakland Raiders, which for many years has been the most undisciplined team in the NFL. The Raiders need better offensive linemen. Until Oakland gets them, Raider Nation should brace itself for more tough losses.
Vince Young looks better than ever. Chris Johnson is Chris Johnson, the league’s best running back, bar none. The defense played smart, aggressive football.
Most importantly, the Titans won game 1, which means they will not start the season with an 0-6 record.
2009 was a real bummer until Bud Adams intervened. I think Titans fans are in for a good time this year.
Story of the Game: Who do you stop?
The promise of last season’s 8-2 finish is being realized before our eyes. Chris Johnson and Vince Young will be a nightmare for NFL defenses and exciting for Titans fans to watch.
Vince Young looks like a savvy veteran quarterback. His throws are accurate. He makes smart decisions. He has a thorough grasp of the offense, and he studies and reads defenses. His scrambles are timely and effective (by the way, why don’t more commentators discuss his arm strength/quickness?).
He is not perfect (still has some ball-control issues as evidenced by his first quarter fumble), but he is much-improved. He passed for 13-of-17 for 154 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 30 yards.
Young makes Chris the Great more effective, and vice versa. CJ2K ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Most of his yards were gained on a 76-yard run on which he went virtually untouched.
Today, we saw what distinguishes CJ from fellow speedster Reggie Bush. Johnson is willing to initiate contact with defenders to get necessary yards and to give himself a chance to get in the open field. His willingness to lower his shoulders and take on linebackers and safeties at his size (he’s listed at 191 pounds) is admirable.
The Other Story of the Game: The secondary strikes back
Michael Griffin and his fellow defensive backs received criticism for giving up big plays and missing tackles in 2009. Today, Griffin looked like a Pro Bowler from the get-go. He had a monster first half, making eight tackles by halftime. He finished with ten.
The secondary didn’t give up any big plays. Chris Hope intercepted one Jason Campbell pass and had four tackles. Jason McCourty won the starting job at right cornerback and did not embarrass himself.
The Raiders have a Jekyll and Hyde offensive line. The unit helped Darren McFadden run for 95 yards but was out of sync in the passing game, giving up 4 sacks.
McFadden shows promise. He led the Raiders in receiving, catching 5 passes for 55 yards and 1 TD.
Javon Ringer continues to make me wonder how he would perform as a team’s feature back. His first carry of the day was a 15-yard touchdown through a massive hole opened by the Titans’ offensive line.
Nate Washington started his season of redemption strongly with 3 catches for 88 yards, including a 56-yard TD reception from VY.
Next Week: Pittsburgh Steelers
Tennessee took the fourth quarter off. I doubt they will have that luxury against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Titans are being given a bit of a gift, given that Ben Roethlisberger will not play. However, Force of Nature Troy Polamalu is back, and if the Titans win, they will earn a tough victory.
Perhaps Albert Haynesworth will give Tennessee an extra push next week.