Recap Week Two: Colts 22-Titans 20

The BSBD had 2.5 sacks Sunday.
Photo (cropped): Colts.com
Gift wrapped. That's all I can say about yesterday's 22-20 win over the Titans. The Colts gift wrapped this game for the Titans, but Tennessee just couldn't accept it.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I want to make a point here, and it's a point I've made over and over again: Vince Young is not that good of a QB, yet. No matter what evidence I unveil, no matter the support I get from others, people defend Vince Young and his mediocre play with an almost religious ferocity. They attack my criticisms as if I'd just insulted Jesus or something. I don't know whether to laugh at them, or be fearful for my life.

Even some great folks here, like The Screening Jock's BSanders37s, disagree with my take on Vince:

Impressed with VY's game today. He still has a way to go to become a complete player, but he's a damn good leader. But, was it just me, or were the Titans kind of dirty? Maybe I'm just being a homer. Let's put the kibosh on VY costing his team the game, though. Be realistic.
I'm sorry, but that's how I feel I'm approaching Vince Young in regards to this argument: Realistically. Realistically, throwing for only 182 yards, 1 TD, and losing a fumble in your home opener against a team that has dominated yours for years is not a good game. I don't care how you slice it, spin it, pitch it, or dress it up. It's just not a good game by Vince Young, and he made two DUMB plays in the game that cost his team the win. Here's the recap:
  • Let's also be realistic about something else: The Colts gift wrapped this game for the Titans. This should have been a 40-6 blowout. The Colts were dominating the Titans at the point of attack. Tennessee's run defense was putrid, but for some reason the Colts stopped running the ball in the second half. More on that in a second. Tennessee's offense was totally stuffed in the first half, managing just 6 points. Their defense was fortunate to escape the first half only giving up 16.
  • The first half should have been closer if you're Tennessee, but after a first down scamper, Vince Young took offense to something Kelvin Hayden said to him out of bounds and tossed the ball at Kelvin's face. A ref was standing right there. Flag. 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty on Vince. Instead of points, the Titans punt. That was dumb move #1 by Vince, folks. Leaders, REAL leaders, don't do dumb stuff like that in big football games. Have you ever seen Peyton, Brady, Palmer, or McNabb ever do anything like that, even as rookies or second-year guys? No. Why? Because they are real leaders, not the fake hype we're getting out of Tennessee.
  • The second half came, and the Colts (and the refs) did their best to play Santa Claus for the Titans. Missed FGs, missed opportunities, penalties, and bad officiating (Reggie Wayne was interferred on the INT toss-- Walt Coleman strikes again!) practically hand the Titans the game. However, because the Titans offense is SO DUMBED DOWN, they only managed to score 14 points in the second half. They were down 19-6 and continued to run the football, not throw it. If not for Coleman's screw-up, and a good pick by the Titans defense, the Titans offense would never have gotten back in the game with the way they were operating.
  • Peyton Manning has an "off day" completeing 66% of his passes for 312 yards, 1 Td, and 1 INT.
  • The Colts played the game without Freddie Keiaho and Rob Morris. They took my advice (yippee!) and played Cover 3 all day though. The BSBD lived along the line of scrimmage. They practically dared the Titans to throw. But what did Tennessee do? Run. Run. Run. Run. Run. Run. Run. Run. Run. Run. At times, it looked like Tennessee was flat out scared to throw the ball, even though they were doing a good job containing the Colts pass rush.
  • The Titans' average gain per passing play was a whopping 4.1 yards. For those of your scoring at home, THAT STINKS! Remember last week, when everyone made a big deal about how great the Colts were against Drew Brees? In that game, the Saints averaged 4.0 yards per pass attempt in that game. Yet, somehow, despite sucking as bad as Brees did last week, we get excuses for Vince. Sorry, not buying.
  • Vince Young can't figure out why BigBlueShoe won't worship at his feet.
    Photo (cropped): Chris Graythen/Getty Images
  • I cannot say enough good things about Bob Sanders. He was all over the field Sunday. 2.5 sacks, and he was in Vince Young's grill usually when he blitzed. Outstanding.
  • Great play by the Colts secondary and defensive pressure on the final drive. The Titans had to throw the ball on every down that drive, and it resulted in disaster. However, by then it was too late. I'm sure Titans fans had dreams of Rob Bironas knocking in another miracle FG. Sorry, I didn't. I knew, eventually, Vince Young would screw up. Why? Because he can't throw. Eventually, you have to make plays from the pocket throwing the football, especially in a two minute offense. The Colts defense on that drive contained Vince by effectively blitzing him and made him throw from the pocket lest he get sacked again by the BSBD. Several of those throws, including the one missed by Brandon Jones, were simply off their target. Yes folks, the Jones throw was way too high. He had to leave his feet even though he was standing still in a the soft spot of the zone. Had Jones caught it, Kelvin Hayden was right there to destroy him on the way down, likely resulting in an incompletion.
  • The next play was dumb move #2 by Vince. It's 4th down. The Colts blitz. Vince is obviously flustered by the pressue, but rather than look down field, where his receivers are one-on-one with the corners (Hint: That's what you want as a QB), he tries to run. The Colts wrap him up. He tries to shovel pass it to his lineman, which is illegal. Lineman loses the ball. Fumble. Colts recover. Game over. That play, right there, defines Vince Young as an NFL QB.

This is why I am so steadfast in my analysis of Vince. He just simply does not know how to play QB in the NFL, and has made little to no progress from last year to now. Even Mike Florio felt compelled to chime in on Vince Young's dismal play Sunday, and why it is so important for him to learn how to play QB in the NFL:

Titans quarterback Vince "Uncle Rico" Young remained on the ground a few anxious minutes after being tackled to end a reckless first-quarter run, creating the impression that he had suffered an injury.  But then, as trainers were attending to Young, he popped up and tried to pump up the crowd.

Even though Young survived the incident, his luck is eventually going to run out.  He has zero sensitivity to the importance of avoiding contact, as evidence by several plays on Sunday.  On one long run, he never considered the possibility of sliding.  On another, he dropped a shoulder into a defensive back at the sideline.

Sure, it's fun to watch it.  And it's probably fun for Young to do it.  But it won't be fun for anyone once he suffers a broken ankle, a fractured femur, or the torn ligament trifecta.

And unless Young changes his ways one of those things eventually will happen.

Based on the stats, the outcome, and the plain fact that Vince Young simply hasn't performed well in some time, how can anyone be impressed with his play of late? This was a big game, folks. This was Tennessee's home opener. They had to win this game to prove that last year's win wasn't a fluke, which it was. The Colts have won 8 of the last 9 over the Titans.

Folks, if I sound too negative about Tennessee, it's not because I have anything personally against them. I just think they are all hype and no real substance. This is not a young football team. This is a veteran team that happens to have a second-year QB that has made no progression from year one to year two. If you're going to talk a lot about how you're ready for the next step and how you feel confident that you can take down the defending Champs despite the fact that those defending Champs OWN YOU, you damn well better back it up. Tennessee, per usual, does a lot of talking and not a lot of winning. They simply don't deserve the hype until they actually DO SOMETHING.

Teams like Houston, who has looked great in Weeks One and Two, deserve the hype. They are truly up-and-coming. Not this Titans team. That said, big props go to Titans fans for being fanatical about their team, in particular Jimmy and hartley over at Music City Miracles. The Colts are now 2-0, and despite playing a very imperfect game, came away with a road division win. They got ZERO of those last year.

Go Colts!

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