Deja Vu: Ravens end another promising Titan season with 13-10 victory

Unfortunately, some things never change.

Similiar to 2001, those darn Baltimore Ravens ended another potential Tennessee Titans’ Super Bowl trip to Tampa with their hard-earned 13-10 victory today.

After dashing his way to 100 all-purpose-yards at the half, Chris Johnson’s inability to play in the second half was a huge dagger to the Titans’ chances. Despite the Herculean efforts of Justin Gage, the Titan offense came up short on a final drive that ended with a Kerry Collins incompletion.

More thoughts on a horrible finish to such a wonderful season for the Tennessee Titans, after the jump.  

Game balls

I’m going to give out two game balls to a couple of Titans who stepped up with great performances on offense.

Justin “12 Gage” was locked and loaded as indicated by his 10 catch, 135-yard effort. He repeatedly snagged Kerry Collins’ passes in situations where a drop could not be tolerated.

Despite a somewhat disappointing regular season, Gage came through with a clutch effort when his team needed him the most.

As the years go by, the Titans will always wonder what might of been if Chris Johnson was able to play the entire game. In the first half, his ability to make plays in space was a constant thorn in the side to Ray-Ray and his fellow Raven defenders.

Unfortunately, an ankle injury prevented CJ from playing in the second half. Without him on the field, the Titans’ were bereft of the services of their premier playmaker, and his absence was felt tremendously.

It’s a tough way to end such a great rookie season, but CJ has nothing to be ashamed about. He’s going to continue to be a thrill to watch in the years to come.

On defense, I’m going to with the veteran Keith Bulluck. He was all over the place, amassing a combined eight tackles (5 solo, 3 assists). Bulluck kept the Titans’ chances alive late in the 4th with a great tackle that played a key role in a defensive stop that made it 10-7 Ravens instead of 14-7.  

Once again, Chris Carr came up with a solid effort on special teams. He averaged 26 yards per kick return on the afternoon, constantly setting up the Titans with decent opening field position. A low-profile signing last year in free agency, Carr was definitely one of the unsung heroes for Tennessee in 2008.

Penalties and missed opportunities killed the Titans   

Besides the second half absence of Chris Johnson, unnecessary penalties and the inability to convert scoring opportunities will go down as the biggest factors behind today’s loss.

The Titans were penalized a whopping 12 times for 89 yards. In the first half, an offsides by Kyle Vanden Bosch gave the Ravens a 3rd and 13 instead of 18 and on the next play, Joe Flacco connected with Derrick Mason on a 48-yard touchdown strike.  

Turnovers also got the best of the Titans. A LenDale White fumble ended a promising scoring drive before the half. An ill-advised Collins interception thwarted another potential opportunity and last but not least, Alge Crumpler’s fumble late in the 4th was a killer mistake.

Despite the Titans having success matriculating the ball down the field in the first half, they only had seven points to show for it. That was a bit disheartening, especially considering their 256-94 advantage in total yards during the first two quarters.

An ode to Kerry Collins  

It wasn’t the greatest performance, but Kerry Collins came through with the type of gutsy effort that we’ve become accustomed to seeing from the veteran signal-caller.On the evening, he completed 26 of his 42 passes for 281 yards while getting excellent protection from the offensive line.

No offense to Vince Young, but I’m hopeful that the Titans can re-sign KC in the offseason. He’s emerged as a dependable leader and IMO, has earned the right to be the team’s starting QB in 2009.

Final thoughts

1.Kudos to Ahmard Hall for surviving Ray-Ray’s vicious hit in the first half that dislodged his helmet.

#45: What a warrior.

2. Tell me I’m not the only one who had a flashback to Al Del Greco when Rob Bironas missed a field goal in the second half.

Speaking of the infamous 2001 playoff game, as the case with that forgettable contest, today’s affair was also tied 7-7 at the half. Another similarity was the Titans’ inability to win despite dominating the yardage category.

Talk about bad omens…

3. I was a bit disappointed by Justin McCareins’ reaction to being sent to the pine in the second half. Despite his team valiently trying to score, he sat there on the bench with his head turned in the opposite direction.

After a mini-camp that got some of our hopes up, J-Mac reverted to his New York Jet form by being mostly a non-factor at WR. 

I wouldn’t shed a tear if he’s not on the roster in 2009.

4. The ex-Titans came up big today. Derrick Mason was a beast, catching 5 balls for 78 yards and a score. Lorenzo Neal was a handful as a blocker and Samari Rolle intercepted a Kerry Collins’ pass.

5. Did the refs miss a delay of game penalty against Flacco and the Ravens in the 4th quarter?

You be the judge.  

6. It’s a tough loss, but the 2008 Tennessee Titans have nothing to be ashamed about. They outperformed everyone’s expectations and were a thrill to watch.

Hopefully, bigger and better things will be in store for 2009. 

What are your thoughts on today’s heartbreaking defeat?  

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