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Titans hanging around playoff race

Chris Johnson AP

The Titans beat the Panthers 30-3 in a humbling game for Cam Newton. Here’s what we learned:

1. The Titans haven’t really played well since starting 3-1, but they remain in the AFC playoff picture at 5-4.

They are only one loss behind the Texans in the AFC South. They are only one loss behind a possible wild card spot.  We don’t think Tennessee will make it, but they are remaining relevant far later than anyone expected.

Rookie head coach Mike Munchak deserves some credit.

2. Chris Johnson is starting to turn his season around. He rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Last week he topped 100 yards from scrimmage.

We saw Johnson get caught from behind by a defensive lineman and get tackled in the open field too much in this game, but things are getting better. Tennessee’s offensive line dominated up front.

3. Newton had his worst day as a pro coming off the team’s bye. He threw 40 times for only 212 yards and an interception. Carolina gave up on the running game too quickly. They averaged 5.9 yards-per-carry, but only tried to run 19 times.

4. Cortland Finnegan is having a Pro Bowl season. He and Jason McCourty did a great job holding Steve Smith to only 33 yards. Finnegan also had a sack and a pass defensed.  The Titans line Finnegan up everywhere, and he creates havoc.

5. Matt Hasselbeck averaged over eight yards-per-attempt in this game. Tennessee does not have many weapons, so Hasselbeck’s season has been highly impressive.

6. We thought Carolina was past this type of performance. They are unlucky to only have two wins because of all their close losses, but this was easily their worst performance of the year.

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11 Responses to “Titans hanging around playoff race”
  1. phadedwun says: Nov 13, 2011 5:51 PM

    Glad I picked up CJ for someone who wanted to dump him for an average back.

  2. linvillegorge says: Nov 13, 2011 6:04 PM

    I’m really starting to doubt Ron Rivera. This team has all the tale tell signs of a poorly coached team – undisciplined, penalty prone, mistake prone, and turnover prone. The special teams gaffes are inexcusable. We had our worst performance by a long shot coming off of a bye. Another sign that coaching may be lacking. Cam Newton has exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations and without him, we are winless with a lot more games with scores like this one.

  3. goatcheez says: Nov 13, 2011 6:06 PM

    I’d say Newton’s worst game was against the Falcons actually. 21-35 237 0 tds 3 ints. or maybe against Jacksonville 18-34 158 yards (lowest of his career) 1td 0 int but they won that game so definitely the Falcons game. Although of all teams Jacksonville surprisingly held him in check the most.

  4. lilrob10201 says: Nov 13, 2011 6:07 PM

    Titans wont win the division.Have you seen how good my Texans have been playing ?Its amazing how Wade Phillips turned this D around.

  5. panthers34 says: Nov 13, 2011 6:34 PM

    Most penalized team in the league. Coeach em up Ron.

  6. trbowman says: Nov 13, 2011 7:19 PM

    If CJ does something against Atlanta’s run defense next week, then he’ll have my attention. The Panthers run “defense” is beyond pathetic.

  7. trbowman says: Nov 13, 2011 7:20 PM

    DeAngelo Williams has no business playing over Stewart. Awful contract.

  8. nflfan877 says: Nov 13, 2011 7:21 PM

    If Hasselbeck is around with Britt next year, I think they have a chance to be real good.

  9. Nikhil Balakumar says: Nov 13, 2011 7:53 PM

    look for damian williams to become a bigger part of this offense as the season goes on. afc is too crowded for titans to sneak into the playoffs, maybe next year

  10. dlmcc1010 says: Nov 13, 2011 7:54 PM

    the Titans won this game because Cam Newton cannot always carry the Panthers. the Panthers play horrible defense. Finnegan did a nice job on Steve Smith.

    Chris Johnson wasnt fooling me. Like you pointed out, his speed is not there at all. This is not a playoff team.

  11. bullethead527 says: Nov 13, 2011 10:51 PM

    I thought I entered the twilight zone, and went back into 2010!!!!! two cats duel it out next week in Detroit… Go Panthers…………..

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