50 thoughts from a visit to Indianapolis

So, I made my second visit this year to a Titans game this past Sunday in Indianapolis.  Rather than duplicate Drexel’s recap, I’ll instead offer 50 observations from my vantage point at Lucas Oil Stadium. Most of these will be game-related, and hopefully many of those will be things you didn’t seen on TV, while some I freely admit are silly personal observations.

1. P Brett Kern was the only holder who practiced. In the past, S Donnie Nickey had also done work practicing as the holder.
2. Mike Otto played left guard, while Eugene Amano was playing TE on the right side on kick practice. I forgot to look for it during the game, and don’t always pay enough attention on kick snaps to notice if this was different than usual.
3. Collins, KVB, Nick Harper, and Nickey were the captains who went out for the coin toss.
4. I mentioned this on a podcast, but Thornton and Bulluck were the linebackers in nickel all day. Stephen Tulloch probably only played about 10-15 snaps in total. The Titans tried matching up early on, going nickel against 3 WR and base against 1 RB/2 TE, but abandoned that after getting caught in base against 3 WR on I believe the Colts’ second drive for a play or two.
5. Depressing start with the fluky completion to Garcon after a deflection, and Fuller shaken up. Mouton came in at nickel initially but the Titans were in base set the next couple plays and Fuller returned quickly.
6. 40 yard line, 12th row is pretty much the same seat I had when I went to Green Bay for the preseason game last year, and I felt like I had a better view there. Lucas Oil’s seats go back more than they go up, and the lack of incline makes it harder to get perspective on things like rush lanes.
7. Ahmard Hall was in an awful lot the first drive and really most of the game before disappearing after his fumble. Also of note was that he was in an offset position-I don’t think the Titans lined up in a straight I-formation once the entire game.
8. I don’t know how it looked on TV, but the chain stretch the Titans’ first drive was very, very close. From the video board shot, it looked short to me. The Colts fans didn’t like this, and also expressed their displeasure clearly when a similar Colts shot later in the game was ruled short.
9. CJ’s quickness and burst really stood out to me-on the run down to the Colts’ 25 on the first drive, he went off left and and picked up about 7-a normal fast back gets maybe 2, but he just has an unbelievable extra gear.
10. The Titans went to a full house backfield on 1&G from the 9, with Crumpler motioning in parallel to Hall. This isn’t much of a change from the normal H-back position, but it is a (new?) wrinkle.
11. An awful lot of the runs, especially early, looked like cutback runs against zone blocking. White’s carry with 2:45 left in the first quarter stood out to me because it looked like the first time the Titans man-blocked.
12. Fish mentioned it in today’s presser and I mentioned it in the podcast, so you already know Washington was bumped on his route on 3&G from the 2 the first drive. Could’ve drawn a flag, but I think it was a legit no-call.
13. Somebody I was sitting near said the counter option the Titans ran their second drive was an old UT play, which I didn’t think was right.
14. I love me some Michael Roos, but Freeney destroyed him on that sack to kill the drive.
15. Titans ran a DT stunt on the play after Diem’s false start, but Tony Brown took a long looping route across LDE and Garcon just ran past Harper on a fly pattern.
16. I thought the horse collar call on Fuller was a cheap one.
17. Was the first play of the second quarter a zone blitz? I thought it might have been.
18. McRath really got run over by Addai on the TD to make it 14-3.
17. Hall’s fumble was (obviously) the result of him trying to do too much. He needs to do a better job of playing within himself.
18. Peyton’s boot at 2Q 10:40 looked like something out of the Titans’ playbook.
19. Griffin had a nice series after Hall’s fumble, with 2 pass breakups. That was a big series for the defense.
20. Washington walked off at 2Q 8:18 and returned 3 plays later. Hawkins came in for him at wideout-I thought the Titans might go 2RB/2TE until Washington was ready, but that didn’t happen.
21. I don’t think VY saw Lacey on the pick. That play was created by pressure up the middle. If CJ was better at blitz pickup, VY doesn’t have to scramble here.
22. VY really gave him a pop after the pick, but may have been shaken up on the play-he was clearly limping on the sideline and Collins started warming up.
23. I’m avoiding typing in all the missed tackle notes, just because it’s too depressing. Ex: 2Q 4:45 Brown misses tackle, then Thornton faked out of his jock the next play.
24. The Colts were keeping the same players in, trying to keep the same defenders on the field, but the Titans were still rotating their defensive linemen. It seemed like they were good at keeping the guy with the ball down and covered to create extra time to make the subs-very creative.
25. Nick Harper looks mostly done.
26. The Titans were playing a lot of 3 DE on 3rd downs. Makes sense, since they deactivated DTs Jones and Marks.
27. Brett Kern really looks young.
28. Nate Washington looks really small.
29. I have no idea what happened on the incompletion to nobody with about :30 to go in the first half.
30. Scaife doesn’t seem to be the first read nearly as often as he used to be, which I can only regard as a positive change.
31. The pooch kickoff with :20 left and 2 TO was a bad idea-too much time. Yes, I wrote that as it happened.
32. DeVan may have pushed him late and over Peyton trying to draw a flag, but Brown absolutely has to be smarter than he was there.
33. Western Kentucky’s marching band did the halftime show, which seemed like a distant selection.
34. Their song selection included movie themes. The Incredibles and Batman. Lame.
35. Tony Brown was among the first players out after halftime, which is unusual.
36. Brett Kern seems to practice a lot. Rob Bironas mostly stands on the sideline watching the game, talking to Collins or Hentrich or somebody. Kern, on the other hand, was kicking into the net pretty much every time the Titans had the ball.
37. Alge looked incredibly slow on the pass with 12:55 in the 3rd quarter. Raheem Brock, normally a DE, was in coverage on the play-I thought this might be a zone blitz, but the Colts seemed to be moving Brock around a little-standing up him some-to confuse VY.
38. Ryan Mouton got blocked in the back right before the fair catch at the conclusion of that series.
39. The Titans TO at 3:02 of the 3rd quarter came because they only had 10 men in the huddle. Crumpler came on, while both Britt and Washington came off the field. White was hanging around the periphery of the sideline, seemingly unsure if he should go in the game or not. Fisher was Not Happy about this.
40. I hated the 4th and goal fade call at 3Q 1:04. I mentioned it in the podcast, but the fade is a low percentage play.
41. Awesome play by Kenny Britt to break a couple tackles and convert that third down at 4Q 13:25.
42. Bo Scaife was in the backfield the next play. Normally it’s been Crumpler lined up at offset FB when it hasn’t been Hall, but Bo did it, too.
43. Antonio Johnson destroyed CJ, who was the intended reciver on the middle screen at 4Q 11:20.
44. I thought Hawkins was open on the 4&5 with 10:37 left and VY missed him.
45. After this, the Colts scoreboard mentioned the Fan Code of Conduct. I think this was the first mention all game, aside from maybe one during the pregame. Very odd.
46. Following Griffin’s injury, Kaesviharn played safety in the nickel, while Fuller played when the Titans were in base.
47. Ford limped off at 4Q 5:45 and returned after the TO with 3:19 left.
48. I think the onside kick formation the Titans used was illegal. The relevant rule is 6-1-3(b): “At least four players of the kicking team must be on each side of the kicker. At least three players must be lined up outside each inbounds line, one of whom must be outside the yard line number.” Two of the five guys on the right side, I believe, were to Bironas’s left when he made the kick.
49. After his injury, Griffin sat on the bench with his head down next to Craig Stevens. Not sure if there’s any connection there. When the Titans were on offense, Stevens did get up and go over by the other offensive subs.
50. In the grand tradition of over-reading VY’s sideline body language etc., he tended to stand on his own, or at least not near any of his teammates. Read into that what you want.

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