Titans running back Chris Johnson did something he has done far too infrequently this year in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Bengals: He actually made some big plays.
Johnson had a 12-yard run, an 18-yard run, a 20-yard run and a 21-yard catch in the first half of a game that was, by his 2011 standards, great. He didn’t do much in the second half and finished the game with 64 rushing yards and 46 receiving yards, but the big plays in the first half give Titans coach Mike Munchak reason for optimism.
“What you saw in the first half is what we hope will continue the rest of the year,” Munchak said, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.
It’s understandable that Munchak is looking for reasons to be optimistic: The Titans rewarded Johnson’s holdout by giving him an enormous contract prior to the season, and his play has been so bad this season that there’s now talk he might get cut in 2012. Munchak wants to point to anything positive he can about Johnson.
Frankly, Munchak’s comments demonstrate just how much the bar has been lowered for Johnson during his disastrous first half of the season. Even after Sunday’s game, Johnson is 28th in the league in rushing, with 366 yards this season, and his average of 3.02 yards a carry is dead last in the league among the 51 players who have at least 50 carries this season. Johnson has reached the point where one pretty good half is cause for celebration.