Joe Biddle: Titans running out of excuses

Joe Biddle: Titans running out of excuses (Image 1)

I have given up trying to figure out the Titans. There is only one solution to their problems.

This team needs a comfortable couch and an expert shrink.

It requires professional help.

How else do you explain a team that arguably played the sharpest first half of the season in taking a 20-7 lead over AFC South rival Indianapolis, only to revert to the same old Titans in the second half, allowing the Colts to take a 27-23 win to the bank.

That's right. The Colts, with an interim head coach and a rookie quarterback, scored 20 points in the final two quarters while the Titans managed a puny field goal.

I must remind you this is a 9-4 Colts team where almost half the roster (25 players) are either in their first or second year with the team.

The Titans are left dreaming of a high first round draft pick after dropping to 4-9.

Go figure.

It was déjà vu all over again. In the first meeting, the Titans left with 10-3 lead in a closely fought game. The Colts turned the tables on the Titans in the second half, outscoring them 10-3, sending the game into overtime where the Horseshoes took a 19-13 back home.

Where did it all go wrong? Start with quarterback Jake Locker. The second-year pro looked like Joe Montana in the first half as he completed 15 of 20 passes for 213 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.

Locker turned into Ryan Leaf in the second half as he went 7 of 15 for 49 yards and two interceptions that the Colts turned into 10 points.

Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck got off to a slow start, before finishing 16 of 34 for 196 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown.

Luck was sacked four times by a swarming Titans defense, led by Karl Klug who dumped Luck on the turf twice in one first half drive. But the Colts offense protected better in the second half and Luck made some plays when they counted.

The Titans run game is centered on Chris Johnson, a former 2,000-yard plus running back. Johnson got only 44 yards on 19 carries for an average of 2.3 yards a trip. Johnson did dump a blitzing Colts linebacker on his back when he was about to sack Locker.

Mississippi State rookie Vick Ballard paced the Colts' ground game. Ballard, like Johnson, had 19 carries. Unlike Johnson, Ballard picked up 94 yards for a 4.9-yard average.

The second half was a nightmare for the Titans Jekyll-Hide offense.

“It's another very disappointing loss for us,'' Titans Coach Mike Munchak understated.

“To play a good, solid first half, then to come out and let them back in the game,'' Munchak mused. “We had opportunities once again, but we didn't make plays in the second half.''

Munchak is beginning to sound like a broken record.

In the final half, the Titans opened with a three-and-out, followed by one play and an interception returned for a touchdown. They came back for a 16-play drive, but left with only a field goal to show for it.

Locker blamed it on “a lot of little mental mistakes.''

The next two possessions were two plays and an interception, followed by a five-and-out.

It's not the stuff legends are made of.

It was more about what a 4-9 team is made of.

Sports Columnist Joe Biddle can be reached at

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