Titans can look at Jets and ponder 'What If"

Monday, January 18, 2010 at 11:14am

Wonder if the Tennessee Titans are playing a little “what if” this morning and kicking themselves in the process. Why?

Consider this: The New York Jets just squeaked into the AFC playoffs with a 9-7 record, and thanks in part to both the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals electing to rest key players, certainly aiding and abetting the Jets’ playoff hopes.

Another team that more unwittingly assisted the Jets earlier in the year was the Titans, who literally muffed it when Ryan Mouton lost two fumbles on kicks, costing Tennessee a victory in the Meadowlands, 24-17, back on Sept. 27.

How does that figure in? Well, obviously at 9-7, the Jets needed every regular-season victory they could muster just to get into the postseason fray. But it goes deeper than that for the Titans. Had the Titans been able to hold onto the football and that win in New Jersey that day, Tennessee would have finished 9-7, and the Jets would have been 8-8.

And in the process of that, it would have been the Titans who claimed an AFC wild-card berth instead of the Jets, joining Baltimore in the postseason ahead of Pittsburgh and Houston.

Of course, that’s not to say the Titans would be playing for the AFC Championship on Sunday in Indianapolis, because the postseason bracket would have been entirely different.

But it certainly shows just how razor thin the margin for error in wins and losses in the NFL and the difference between a team now one step from the Super Bowl and one that finished as a .500 also-ran can be.

How about stopping them?

The Minnesota Vikings late touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday’s 34-3 divisional round rout has stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest, especially with Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking complaining that the Vikings ran up the score with Brett Favre’s TD pass to Visanthe Shiancoe on fourth down.

My take? Tough luck. How about doing your job and playing some defense and preventing the score?

If the Cowboys were so concerned about the game being out of hand, then perhaps they should have punted on fourth down in their own territory with the game out of hand, instead of throwing passes to try and make the score look more respectable down 27-3.

If the Cowboys don’t leave the ball deep in their own territory after the fourth-down flub, then the Vikings don’t have the opportunity to score again.

Perhaps Dallas should have taken a cue from the Titans, when they were demolished 59-0 in New England back in October. At a certain point, the Titans knew it was over, so the sent up the white flag, electing to run the football in the second half, keep the clocking moving and starting up the bus as soon as the game was over.

The onus to wave the flag of surrender and to say when was on the Cowboys, not the Vikings.


2 Comments on this post:

By: dukester on 1/18/10 at 1:48

It seems as though football teams from Texas are whiners. I have had it with Texas longhorn fans complaining about: 1.) McCoy being knocked out of the game, causing them to loose, 2.) Bama running up the score. Bama had practiced for over thirty days in defending the McCoy-Shipley show, so having McCoy in the game for 60 minutes would not have impacted the final result whatsoever. Secondly, if Texas would have taken a knee against any of their earlier opponents, such as the Houston Girl Scout troop #100, then maybe. But they were looking for style points, and ran the score up on every opponent. As far as the Cowboys, same state, same whining. If you cannot play for 60 minutes, and put a defensive and offensive team on the field, then shame on you. Both teams must hand out a box of Kleenex to their fans, so absorb the tears! Time to grow up, Texas fans. Otherwise, stay in the Big 12 and play each other for a lackluster championship that means nothing in the national picture.

By: jwk6179 on 1/19/10 at 9:20

If the Ttians had won that earlier game against the Jets doesn't mean they would have finished with a 9-7 and in the playoffs ahead of Pittsburgh and Houston or that the Jets would have ended up 8-8 and out of the playoffs. There were at least 5 games the Titans won (at home against the Jags, Cardinals and Dolphins, Road games against the Texans and Seahawks) that they could have just as easily lost. So if they Titans had beaten the Jets but had lost the 5 games listed above, they would have finished 4-12 instead of 9-7. Even if they did finish 9-7, wouldn't have lost the tie breakers to both the Steelers and the Texans?