CJ nearly blows up after Titans blown out at home by Houston

Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 5:40pm

It took just six games for first-year coach Mike Munchak to carve out a place for himself in Tennessee Titans history, outside of his Hall of Fame playing career, that is.

An otherwise completely forgettable performance Sunday earned a prominent spot in two teams’ record books.

A 41-7 rout at the hands of the Houston Texans was the home team’s worst loss in the history of LP Field and had many in the announced sellout crowd booing before halftime and headed toward the exits well before its completion. It also was the largest margin of victory — period — for Houston, where Titans owner Bud Adams lives and maintains his business interests.

“Obviously [Sunday] they were better than us in every category you could bring up,” Munchak said. “… We just weren’t very competitive [after the first quarter]. Then they started making plays and we didn’t, and it just got ugly.”

No one pointed fingers in blame — directly, at least — although running back Chris Johnson seemed tempted to do so.

At the same time, no one could put their finger on why the Titans (3-3) suddenly can’t seem to get a stop on defense after having allowed the fewest points in the NFL through the first four games. Likewise, there was no prevailing theory as to why they consistently can’t run the ball on offense despite the presence of a back almost universally regarded as one of the league’s best back in August.

Not only did Houston’s Arian Foster (234 total yards three touchdowns), a Pro Bowler in his own right, outperform Johnson (45 yards, no touchdowns) by a wide margin, so did backup Texans; running back Ben Tate (15 rushes, 104 yards). Even Johnson’s understudy, Javon Ringer, managed 31 rushing yards on three attempts.

“You can see what’s going on,” let’s be honest,” Johnson, who carried 10 times for 18 yards, said.“… I won’t say I’m the issue. I’m very confident that I’ve been doing the things that I’ve been having to do. It’s a situation where I continue to say I can’t do nothing but keep working hard, running hard and doing what I can do for this team.”

Perhaps the difference in the teams’ respective ability to run the football should not have been surprising given that Tennessee (3-3) came into the week last in the NFL in rushing offense while Houston (4-3) was among the top 10.

The performance of Tennessee’s defense — top five in scoring and top 10 in yards allowed through the first six weeks — was a little more difficult to fathom.

Beginning with its third possession, Houston scored six times (times four touchdowns, two field goals) in seven drives. Included in that stretch were touchdown marches of 87, 94 and 92 yards, respectively. The 92-yard drive took just seven plays, the first four of which gained at least 17 yards.

“It seems like no matter what we did we couldn’t get things rolling and we couldn’t get a stitch of momentum out there,” defensive end Dave Ball said. “I don’t know. Whenever you get pounded on, it’s not a good feeling.”

Having held its first four opponents to fewer than 20 points each, Tennessee has allowed 79 points total in its last two — both defeats.

To be fair, the Texans’ final score came against the Titans’ offense. It was a 38-yard interception return early in the fourth quarter and it drove the losing margin beyond that of the 41-14 loss to Dallas on Oct. 1, 2006 (Vince Young’s first game as a starting quarterback) for the largest in stadium history.

It also dropped the Titans out of first place in the AFC South, a half game behind the Texans.

“We needed to come into this place and get a victory, no matter if it was by 20 points, 30 points or one point,” Houston wide receiver Kevin Walter said. “We did a good job of that.”

The Titans, on the other hand, were hard-pressed to think of a single thing they did well, and the record books reflected as much.

“We’re not happy with what product we put on the field [Sunday],” Munchak said. “It’s on all of us — coaches, players. That’s not us. It can’t be us and we have to improve.”

10 Comments on this post:

By: serr8d on 10/23/11 at 7:44

I was there. The booing was ominous.

The Defense was booed for it's inability to stop a known-sorry Texan offense (both pass and run); the Offense was booed for it's inability to run, or pass (and catch) the ball. The entire overall effort of this team was one big, fat, collective FAIL.

CJ didn't stand out as a catalyst because that $53 million is weighing him down, but there were no team member with 'sparks'; no one else stood out as a 'leader'. There was no evidence that anyone on that field was putting out the extra effort that's required of a professional NFL team player. I was reminded of the Titans team that lost in the snow, 59-0, in New England in 2009. If the Titans hadn't been playing at home, and were matched up against a better team than the lame Texans, they might've had those numbers eclipsed today.

Fans were calling for Jake Locker just past halftime. He did come on in during 'garbage' time, but he's no Tim Tebow.

Whatever those players and coaches did during the bye week was ineffectual. Yes, for that, blame the coaching staff as well. Munchak and his staff were out-coached.

Lame ducks, the lot of 'em. We expect much better, really.

By: dolphinsfan on 10/23/11 at 8:38


I am a dolphins fans and yes I know they arent playing football to the best of thier abilty. I had the honor of going and watching the Titans play against the texans this sunday and I became aware of alot of issues.. CJ cant carry the load on every down. now I know he is a good back but lets be honest he isnt flash anymore.. Like the other comment made maybe the extra millions he is paid is just to much for him to carry. The offense was out of sync and played worse than most pee wee teams ive coached and seen play.. The defense was just there.. they didnt do anything out of the norm but stand there and watch adrian run past them and then they persude after him like they was waiting for him to break the law and then they tried to stop him.. on passing the texans was throwing all over the field and making plays... I dont understand why a team like the titans could just walk on the field and do nothing... The titans are nashvilles team.. I was told once I watched the titans play i would be addictied to the team. but to be honest i am not.. i know they are rebuilding from the ground up but at some point they need to pull their heads out of the turf and play football. I wish the Titans would have impressed me but it just didnt happen.. I do plan on coming back someday to watch them and I would like a better show of power and smarts than I seen this sunday... The best part of the game was honoring all those women who fought and won the battle against cancer. They truly was the best players on the field... Good luck players and coaches my prayers are with you...

By: arkay61 on 10/24/11 at 3:34

I'm sure things will turn around when they get those new stadium improvements.

By: dargent7 on 10/24/11 at 4:53

CJ has ZERO credibility. Stalls, strikes, quits during pre-season, practice camp, and now "carries" the ball 10x for 45 yds? I think that $56. million went to his head instead of his legs.
Losing Britt for the season doesn't help, but Ringer shows promise.
We shall see.
QB Schaub and his receivers were just that good.

By: dargent7 on 10/24/11 at 5:17

ar-61: And their girlfriends and wives put a little more starch in their shorts.

By: govskeptic on 10/24/11 at 7:02

At least we didn't get beat as bad as the Colts. Next week should be a
real thrill as we battle them for 3 or 4th place in the division. The
Cheerleaders remained feisty and got more viewing time as the game
went along!

By: jwk6179 on 10/24/11 at 8:48

Chris Johnson says that he is not the problem and that he is doing all that he can to get the running game going. I thought Chris Johnson was a PLAYMAKER and didn't need anyone else to make plays for him. It looks like he has lost a step and is sluggish and hesitant after he gets the ball. Since you consider yourself a PLAYMAKER, Chris Johnson, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM WITH THE RUNNING GAME!!!

If the Titans play next week like they have over the last 2 games, it wouldn't surprise me in the least bit if the Colts get their FIRST VICTORY of the season this Sunday.

By: cmarcus45 on 10/24/11 at 10:23

I am no football scout but I go to every game, and I thought that CJ began losing his acceleration at the end of last season. He has not shown any acceleration (at least to this untrained eye) this season, and he failed to beat a linebacker in a one-on-one, open field encounter on Sunday. This is not the first time Ringer has come into the game for just a few carries and managed to average far more YPC. Maybe some of the running problems are because of the offensive line as CJ so adamantly suggested, but I think CJ deserves the most blame. If he really were the playmaker he thinks he is, he would have been able to bust at least one home run carry with all the attempts he has gotten thus far, regardless of the quality of the offensive line.

Regarding the defense, it was unexcusably and inexplicably flat this week. Everyone looked tired and uninspired, even though this was a game for first place following the bye week. I put that on the coaches as much as I do the players.

As for the calls for Locker, I want to see him play, but I do not think Hasselbeck is the issue. We (the fans) ought to be calling for more play time for Donnie Avery and the tight ends, given Lavelle Hawkins' and Damian Williams' adversity to catching the football and Hawkins' repeated failures to line up in the correct formation. When CJ can't run and at least two of the receivers cannot catch, there is little more Hasselbeck can do.

In the end, I am afraid the Titans really are who we all thought they were going to be, and not the team that teased us early on. At least if the Colts win this week, they will hamper their hopes of getting Andrew Luck.

By: tomba1 on 10/24/11 at 12:36

Put him on special teams for a few games and let him run some kicks back. Then we'll see if he's turned "chicken" or not. Perhaps that will give him a little more appreciation for the offense and the role he is supposed to play in it. He needs to do something to earn that paycheck. All he's doing now is taking up somebody else's roster spot!

Next, draft Trent Richardson.

By: Doveplayer on 10/24/11 at 12:52

CJ need not point fingers at anyone unless he includes his own rich ass in that point. I'm sure I've seen worse running backs in the NFL, but for the life of me can't remember who. Bud should have made the majority of his pay performance based, then you'd see his ass run. When your pay depends on how well YOU run the ball, you get off your ass and play hard! You beg for the ball every down. I've seen rookies try harder. But then, they don't have a $54 million dollar contract in their pocket.

He isn't the only problem by any stretch, but since he's talking it's a good place to start.