Titans Pummel Chiefs In Road Opener


We Tennessee Titan fans love to utter the phrase, Titan Up, and that’s just what the Titans did in their road opener against a Kansas City Chiefs crew that were 3 point favorites going into the season opener for the respective teams. With a resounding 26-10 victory over the Chiefs, the season is off to a tremendous start for our beloved Titans!

You won’t find the traditional ole’ recap here at TennTruth, or a boring play-by-play of the game. You likely watched the game yourself and already know what went down! Instead, I’ll give you some of my own impressions of the Titans in this game, strengths and weaknesses, things the Titans can improve upon going into week 2, and yes I might talk a little smack.

Let’s get started

If there was anything on the minds of Titan fans going into this season opener, it was that there were a ton of unanswered questions. Could the Titans do an adequate job protecting an injury prone Jake Locker? Would Locker himself play like Titan fans know he’s capable under a new chief in Ken Whisenhunt? With Chris Johnson no longer carrying the rush, could the Titans step up and put together a sound ground attack? Would the newly rebuilt offensive line help make those things possible? How would the Titan defense fare against a team who won 11 games last year, and have arguably one of the best  quarterbacks around?

We’ve detailed all these questions and more in a myriad of articles this pre-season, and I’m pleased as punch to say that while it’s very early in the 2014-15 season, the answer to all those questions seems for now to be a resounding yes! Okay, perhaps the word resounding is a bit strong, but Titan fans have to be immensely happy with what we saw out of the Titans, on both sides of the ball today.

Jake Locker came out looking like the quarterback we all knew he was prior to his season ending injuries last year, completing 22 of 33 passes for a total of 266 yards and 2 TDs, and spreading the wealth around the field well, with eight different Titan players making catches. Included in those catches were two for touchdowns by Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker. Locker may be considered injury prone, but he’s healthy now and unaffected mentally by past injuries. Beyond his passing, he also added to the offensive mix with six rushes of his own for 14 yards on the day.

Certainly there were as many questions about the Chiefs as there were the Titans, if not more, and one of the major questions for the Chiefs was a suspect defense, with injuries to key players and no real off-season effort to plug the holes. Suspect or not, the new Titan offense under Ken Whisenhunt performed flawlessly, protecting Locker well throughout the game and allowing him ample time to find those eight different receivers on the day.

As for the Titan running game, we can’t say the mold was broke, but Shonn Greene carried the ball 15 times for 71 yards. While that’s far from a big day, it’s still a respectable 4.7 yards per carry and a good showing from a guy trying to fill the shoes of the released Chris Johnson, the Titan’s 3rd all-time leading rusher. Greene will get better the more carries he gets, and Titan fans should be pleased with his efforts today.

As for the new Titan defense under coordinator Ray Horton, what more can you say? They were also flawless in the win today, allowing a mere 67 yards rushing by the Chiefs, just 202 yards on 19 for 35 passing by Alex Smith, and getting Smith to the ground four times!

The major hope for the Chiefs was clearly the running game of Jamaal Charles, but the Chiefs rendered Charles as ineffective as Smith, allowing him just 7 rushes on the day for a mere 19 yards, and just 4 catches for a mere 15 yards.

As I said in my preview of the game, the key to a Titan victory would be to pressure Alex Smith, but also to shut down Jamaal Charles, and the Titans couldn’t have done a better job!

It’s early in the season of course, and one game alone doesn’t make a season, but Titan fans certainly saw a great many reasons to be highly optimistic about the 2014-15 season. Lingering questions were answered about Locker, the offensive and defense, the new systems of Whisenhunt and Horton, and more. Perhaps even more questions will be answered next week as the Tennessee Titans take to the field again in their home opener against the visiting Dallas Cowboys.

I think the Titans need to continue working to improve their ground game and rushing attack, and just tighten up (pun intended) special teams, zone coverage, and expand route work against varying opponents. In short, there’s very little from game one that needs to vastly improve, but the Titans will face tougher opponents in the future and they just need to continue on pace. I’m very optimistic!