Titans 10-0: Pursuit To Perfection Not The Goal

PFC Titans Writer: Dan Johns

Ten up and ten down; the Titans have defeated every opponent the league has thrown their way in 2008 and have no signs of slowing down.  However, from what you hear, the players and their head coach Jeff Fisher don’t seem to be thinking all that much about perfection.  Their top goals?  To win the AFC South (which seems all but locked-up) that’s now accomplished but a further goal which they now to look to concur would be to earn the AFC’s number 1 seed come post-season, thus having guaranteed two home games in Nashville come January.  Which then only leaves one more goal to set forth after that – winning the Super Bowl.

Jeff Fisher has seemed to make it his duty, to not let his players or himself look ahead and say – well what if?  Instead, he’s kept an even keel and has taken everything “one game at a time.”

In their latest victory in Week 11 on the road to their rival AFC South opponent Jacksonville , the Titans certainly looked left for dead in the first half of that game.  Down 14-3 going into halftime, Jags head coach Jack Del Rio was pumping his fists in celebration as his team headed back toward the locker room.  However, the Kerry Collins to Justin Gage duo?  Yes Collins to Gage helped lead the spark and virtually put away the Jags as Tennessee scored 21 unanswered points in the second half leading them to a 24-14 win.

Justin Gage who had a career high day with 147 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns said in an interview on the NFL Network, that basically teams are taking their passing game for granted and are bringing 8 in the box to try and stop the Titans dangerous run game, thus leaving one on one coverage to a wide receiver down the sideline.  This is all the more evident if you look at the last couple weeks when Kerry Collins is having to throw the ball more often.

If you look back the week prior (Week 10), the Chicago Bears d-line was absolutely dominating the Titans rush attack which in turn forced Collins to air it out.  He seemed up to the challenge by having his best day in a Titan uniform finishing 30-41 for 289 yards and 2 TD’s!  He was nearly equally effective throwing the ball against Jacksonville by throwing for 230 yards, 3 td’s and one pick.  The Titans are showing that they are one of the most complete teams in the league, regardless of what their players look like on paper.

Looking ahead, possibly the next Titans biggest test will be at home against Brett Favre and the 7-3 upstart New York Jets.  Favre should be throwing often and early to try to get out to an early lead, something teams have been trying all year seemingly with little success due to Tennessee ’s stout overall defense.  What will hurt the Jets is Favre getting them into trouble.  His sometimes errid passes can either make or break this team – and a couple turnovers hear and there against a team like Tennessee who rarely ever commits turnovers their selves could lead to disaster – time will tell.

The Titans then play 3 very winnable games in a row.  They travel to the hapless 0-10 Detroit Lions, then back home to play the streaky Cleveland Browns and then back to the road to take on turnover frenzy Sage Rosenfels and his Houston Texans.

Tennessee ends the season with tough games as they host Pittsburgh and then end at Indianapolis for the second straight year.

The reason why an undefeated season is looking bleak, is because even if the Titans get past the next 4 winnable games and even somehow get past a very good match up against Pittsburgh, it will be that dreaded last game of the season where if the Titans already have the number 1 seed in the AFC locked up and those pesky Colts are trying to fight for that last remaining Wild Card slot, the Titans may be wise to bench their starters and rest them for a deep playoff run.

This scenario is a mirror image of what happened last year when the Titans traveled to Indy in Week 17 and were fighting for that coveted 6th and final playoff seed and had to beat Indy to sneak into the playoffs and play spoiler to the Cleveland Browns 2007 season.  The Colts on the other hand were already guaranteed a top spot by winning the AFC South and rested Peyton Manning thus the Titans squeaked out the win.

Hmmm … all too similar this year except the shoe is on the other foot – the Titans may be the ones resting their players for the long haul and the Colts could be looking at a do or die.

So the Pursuit to Perfection is one that the Titans don’t really need to be all that concerned about – for now the focus is on home field advantage throughout.