Titans air it out in 21-14 victory over Chicago

On an afternoon when the Smash and Dash combo was held to a combined 22 yards rushing, Kerry Collins and the aerial attack saved the day in the Titans’ 21-14 win over the Bears.

My thoughts on the Tennessee Titans running their record to 9-0, after the jump.

 

Game balls

With smash-mouth football failing to reign supreme, Kerry Collins came to the rescue with a sparkling performance. Collins completed 30-41 passes for 289 yards while accumulating an impressive 108.7 QB rating.

After doggedly sticking with a rushing attack that was uncharacteristically bad, offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger made the wise decision of allowing Collins to air the ball out in the second half. Kerry responded with his best game of the 2008 season.

Contrary to the opinions of many, Kerry Collins proved once again that he is capable of leading his team to victory by being more than just a game manager.

On defense, I’m going to issue a game ball to emerging shutdown cornerback Cortland Finnegan. As usual, the gnat-like Finnegan was consistently under the skin of opposing receivers. In addition to covering receivers, he also chipped in with a sack and four tackles.

Finnegan is well on his way to making his first trip to Honolulu next February.

As for special teams, I’m going to side with Craig Hentrich. Chris Carr had another solid day returning punts and kicks, but on a windy afternoon where field position was of the utmost importance, five of Hentrich’s eight punts were pinned inside of the twenty-yard line.

Craig’s well-placed punts forced the Bears to deal with horrible starting field-position on the majority of their drives.

The evolution of Brandon Jones

In a make-or-break year, Jones is continuing to finally realize his vast potential. BJ caught eight passes on the afternoon, and is quickly emerging as the team’s most reliable wide out.

Bo knows catching footballs

Speaking of guys stepping up, Bo Scaife, not Alge Crumpler, is the team’s best TE in 2008. Bo caught 10 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, and his 10-yard reception on a pivotal third down clinched the victory for the Titans.

Bad day for Sarge

The usually reliable Ahmard Hall had a terrible afternoon. His fumble on a 4th and goal preventing the team from scoring during the early stages of the contest. He also dropped a very catchable Kerry Collins’ pass and to make matters worse, he was knocked out of the game with an injury courtesy of a hard hit issued by Lance Briggs.

Final thoughts

1. He’s no KVB, but David Ball has done a nice job filling in for the Titans’ injured star at DE. However, Dave’s dance after collecting a sack today was hard to watch. 

I highly doubt that an invitation to Dancing With the Stars is in Ball’s future.

2. Justin Gage made a few plays today. He must have been extra-motivated going against the team that let him go.

3. Kudos to Keith Bulluck. Despite sore ribs, he gutted it out today and was pretty productive: 10 tackles (9 solos, 1 assist).

4. As we all know, Jeff Fisher was a Chicago Bear during his playing days. It was a treat to see CBS’s footage from a 1981 game against Tampa Bay that showed Fisher returning a punt for a touchdown. 

The return isn’t going to remind anyone of Devin Hester anytime soon, but Fish did show a couple of good moves as he out-raced the opposition to the endzone.

5. Ed Hochuli must be a magnet for controversial plays this year.

The much-maligned ref’s decision to not call a horse-collar penalty on Chris Hope in the 4th quarter ushered in the boos from the Chicago faithful.

What are your thoughts on today’s Titan victory?  

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