Defensive end Jevon Kearse was a healthy scratch for the Tennessee Titans on Sunday night, and was not spotted on the sideline either for the game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Titans decided to bench their starting left defensive end before their nationally televised game with the Indianapolis Colts, instead going with second-year man William Hayes and third-year pro Jacob Ford on that side.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher explained the move made as wanting to keep backup right defensive end Dave Ball active for Sunday night’s game.
“I have been deactivating Dave Ball for a number of weeks now, and I wanted to get Dave an opportunity to play,” Fisher said.
Asked if Kearse was on the sidelines with the Titans other inactive players during the game, Fisher said, “I’m not sure. I couldn’t see.”
Media members on the sideline and in the press box indicated that they did not see Kearse on the sideline in street clothes. Titans players asked where Kearse was did not verify one way or the other if he was not on the sideline.
“It’s unfortunate that a really good player like Jevon didn’t get to play tonight,” defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. “But it’s not the worst problem in the world to have that you have five players capable of getting out there and making plays like we have.”
The Titans devastated secondary took another hit Sunday night when veteran Nick Harper broke his right forearm early in the third quarter.
Harper is the second Titans defensive back to suffer such a fate, as nickelback Vincent Fuller broke his forearm two weeks ago against the New York Jets.
Starting cornerback Cortland Finnegan missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury, leaving the Titans with rookies Jason McCourty and Ryan Mouton on the field the rest of the game.
It is not known how long Harper might be out, but Fuller’s injury was regarded as a 4-6 week injury after requiring surgery. Harper was already wearing a cast when he reappeared on the sideline in street clothes later in the second half.
“I need to go in and talk to the doctors right now,” Harper said after the game. “They are calling some guys, trying to set something up, and they are going to let me know.”
That the Colts went 93 yards in just 47 seconds before the half was nothing short of amazing. However, the Titans aided and abetted them with a pair of roughing the passer calls, one on Kyle Vanden Bosch for hitting Peyton Manning in the knee, and the other on Jacob Ford for hitting him late.
Manning did indicate that he would have to have his knee checked out because of the hit from Vanden Bosch.
“I don’t ever want to get a penalty to hurt the team. I don’t know personally if I could have done anything different on my end, but I understand the rules,” Vanden Bosch said.
Ford wondered if perhaps officials didn’t give Manning, one of the league’s top stars, a little bit of the benefit of the doubt on what he thought was a questionable call.
“I thought I took one step and hit him. The ref said I couldn’t hit him like that,” Ford said. “I thought he mean you can’t hit him in the head. I hit him with my shoulder in his chest. It wasn’t head-to-head contact, so I don’t understand the call, but I’ve got to see it on film.
“They got Kyle earlier in the end zone, and he couldn’t do anything to stop from falling and they threw a foul on him for falling at his legs. I know it’s a business and everything, but I don’t really agree with the way they protect certain players more than others.”
Young mops up
With the Titans down 31-9 with 7:26 to play, Fisher inserted Vince Young in for Kerry Collins. Young went 0-for-3 passing, but did run six yards for a first down.
The change at quarterback apparently won’t be a permanent one, though, according to Fisher.
“Kerry is our starter, and when games get out of hand either way, we put [Young] in,” Fisher said. “Kerry's not the problem.”
Collins finished 19 of 32 for 164 yards with one interception.
Asked if he thought this was his opportunity to perhaps gain more playing time, Young was diplomatic as he was when asked earlier in the week.
“That’s not up to me. I’ve just got to sit back and see what they say,” Fisher said. “Right now, I don’t have any answers for you on that. All I can do is wait for Coach Fisher.”
Tight end Craig Stevens’ night was a short one as he suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff, and appeared to be knocked out as he collided with teammate Michael Griffin while making the tackle on T.J. Rushing.
Both Titans players were down momentarily, but Griffin got up fairly quickly, and played the entire game.