Week Ten Morning Aftermath: Titans 41, Bills 17

Three weeks ago, it would have been crazy to suggest that a player on the Tennessee Titans could be the league’s most valuable player.  But Titans running back Chris Johnson is putting up MVP numbers, and Tennessee is on a three-game winning streak.

On Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, Johnson carried 26 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns.  He added nine catches for 100 yards through the air.

Johnson said after the game that he thinks he’s made a big statement that he’s the best running back in football — but he’d prefer if others would say it for him.

“I’ve got great confidence so I would say I’m the best back in the league,” Johnson said.  “But that’s not my situation to argue about that.  I have to go out on the field and prove that and let other people say who’s the best back.”
With 1,091 yards through nine games, Johnson is the league’s leading rusher, ahead of the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson by nearly 200 yards.  With Johnson on pace to rush for 1,940 yards this season and averaging a gaudy 6.4 yards a carry, just about everyone will give Johnson his wish and say he’s the best back.

He’s probably not the league MVP — Drew Brees and Peyton Manning would have something to say about that — but Johnson and Vince Young are combining to make the Titans relevant again.

Young wasn’t spectacular passing against the Bills, and he relied in large part on Johnson and other receivers making big runs after the catch.  But he was efficient, completing 17 of 25 passes for 210 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.  He also added 29 rushing yards on five carries.

The bottom line is this:  The Titans were 0-6 with Kerry Collins starting at quarterback and are now 3-0 with Young at the helm.

The decision to start Young over Collins was widely viewed as a decision ordered — or at least strongly suggested — by Titans owner Bud Adams. Most of the time, an owner who thinks he knows more than his coach is dead wrong, but in this case the big question is why Titans coach Jeff Fisher needed any pressure to go to Young, who has clearly provided the Titans with a much-needed spark.

Adams is clearly fired up by the way his team has played with his favored quarterback — so fired up that he flipped a double-bird at the Bills’ sideline on Sunday.

For everything that Johnson and Young did on Sunday, the Bills were very much in the game most of the way, and they had a real chance to win even after Johnson’s second touchdown broke a 17-17 tie early in the fourth quarter.  It only turned into a blowout in the final minutes, when Buffalo decided to throw the game away.

With less than three minutes to play and the Bills trying to mount a comeback, Bills quarterback Trent Edwards threw an interception that Vincent Fuller returned 26-yard for a game sealing touchdown.  For good measure, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick then came in and threw another interception, this one returned 31 yards for a score by Roderick Hood.

The Bills’ best pass of the game was actually thrown by a running back, Fred Jackson, who hit Lee Evans for a 27-yard touchdown on a trick play.  But when a running back looks like a better passer than either quarterback, that’s a problem, and Edwards said after the game that he fully understands he’s going to get a whole lot of criticism for his play.

“That’s the situation we’re in right now,” Edwards said. “We’re 3-6 and we’re not winning football games.  The first person you got to look at is the quarterback.  I’m coming back from an injury.  It’s tough to say right now, just in terms of not watching the film. . . .  So it’s tough.”

It’ll be tough watching the Bills the rest of the season — unless you’re watching because you want to see Terrell Owens blow up.  On Sunday, T.O. had three catches for 85 yards, but he still appeared to be angry on the sidelines at one point in the game, and he glared at someone whose cell phone rang at his post-game press conference.

It may just be a matter of time before T.O. becomes T.O. again.

But even though the Titans aren’t playoff contenders, either, it won’t be tough watching them the rest of the year.  As long as they have Johnson in the backfield, the Titans have the most exciting player in football.

And as long as Bud Adams strays periodically into the viewer of amateur videographers, well, that can be considered a bonus.

24 responses to “Week Ten Morning Aftermath: Titans 41, Bills 17

  1. Come on…
    Titans are 3-0 since Fisher put on Peyton’s jersey….
    Is everyone ignoring this on purpose? Maybe Fisher got a winning touch through osmosis.

  2. Seriously, bring Bledsoe out of retirement, so we can actually attempt to throw the ball downfield once in a while.

  3. I’m not usually a TO apologist, but whoever made a big deal of the glare he gave the owner of the cell phone is grasping at straws. TO looked pissed at first, but by the time he said “Pardon you” he looked like he was trying not to laugh at the guy. The reporter is a douchebag for leaving his phone’s ringer turned on anyway. Maybe the people around him wanted to actually hear what was being said at the press conference…

  4. Big deal about the cell phone. Owens is a NObody anymore. And he wont win a thing. The only reason people will sign him is to draw double coverage to get their good recievers open. And that wont last to many more years either. He is a hasbeen. Why does he even have a press confrence? He doesn’t matter.

  5. Chris Johnson isn’t even in the same ballpark as Adrian Peterson. The only reason Johnson has more yards is because the Vikes have gone away from Peterson due to the defensive schemes opposing defenses have implemented to try and stop him. They now have the option of burning teams with their passing attack, and have largely gone that route.
    I’m surprised opposing defenses haven’t implemented a similar strategy to stop Johnson, but I’m guessing they will eventually, especially since Tennessee doesn’t have much of a passing attack.
    A Johnson/Peterson comparison is like a Vince Young/Brett Favre comparison.

  6. The difference between Peterson and Johnson is that if AP gets an opening, he COULD be gone and if he doesn’t have an opening he’s very hard to bring down, whereas if Johnson gets an opening, he IS gone and it’s very hard to bring him down when he’s in the end zone.
    It seems like there’s AP, CJ, SJ and MJD and then all the other RB’s in the league are miles behind.

  7. @mancowpig
    “Chris Johnson isn’t even in the same ballpark as Adrian Peterson.”
    You’re an idiot bro. We have no passing attack and he’s still ahead of AP by 200 yards. You guys have Brett Farve who opens up the running game. We had Kerry Collins and Vince Young. Next time you decide to open your dumb yapper, try to say something less dumb.
    You re.tard.

  8. Your right mancowpig hes not in the same ballpark. CJ is in his own league right now. Averaging 6.4 yards per carry when teams don’t respect our passing game and only try to stop Johnson is phenomenal. You act as if Brett Favre throwing the deep ball and opening up the running lanes doesn’t help AP at all. The other thing that makes CJ better is the fact that he rarely fumbles. And there is no way that he would have been caught by Buchannon from behind like that.

  9. manbearpigs a dumb@ss
    chris johnson beats adrian peterson in every stat except in the number of fumbles.
    they are completely different backs, but cj has almost 200 more yards on fewer attempts. he’s also a much more relevant receiving threat.
    and he’ll probably have a better and longer career because he’s not taking the physical abuse that peterson does every week because of their running styles. adrian will burn out in 3 years. even if cj loses a step he’s still the fastest player on the field in most games.

  10. Mike, we know that you are a Packers fan and that you don’t like Adrian Peteron, Brett Favre, Brad Childress and pretty much everyone else associated with the Vikings organization.
    However, nobody but the most homeristic of Pack fans would claim that Chris Johnson is a better running back than Adrian Peterson.
    The fact of the matter remains that right now, every defense that the Vikings face are stacking the box with 8-9 guys on all but the longest of downs. This has allowed the 40 year old Brett Favre of 2009 to look better than the Super Bowl winning Brett Favre of 1996. It has also made Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe look like Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson and Dallas Clark.
    Yet opposing defenses are still selling out to stop AD because they haven’t figured out that the Viking passing game is now almost as deadly as Adrian Peterson’s running game. Almost.

  11. LOL! The Bills are getting those #7 Vick jerseys ready.
    Seriously, what would you rather have… Edwards, Fitzpatrick, or Vick?
    If they don’t get Vick, they’re going to get some other mobile QB. Tebow, perhaps?

  12. Absolutely Chris Johnson isn’t in the same league as Adrian Petersen. Johnson is a better receiver, doesn’t fumble and doesn’t get hurt. Add that he has Kerry Collins and Vince Young at quarterback and a group of receivers with even less recognition than the Viking receivers and absolutely he is not in the same league as Petersen. He’s better.

  13. Don’t go patting Young on the back so quickly, he’s playing no better than Collins had been. It certainly wasn’t Kerry’s fault the defense was terrible and Young certainly doesn’t deserve credit for the defense playing better. 17 for 25 for 210 yards is hardly impressive, especially when 9 of those completions and 100 of those yards were a result of short dump offs to the best running back in the game. If anything the offensive turn around is due to simplifying and pulling the offense back to meet Young’s limitations rather than Young having profound performances that have carried the team to 3 straight wins.
    The 3 wins by the way were against Jacksonville at home, San Francisco on the road and Buffalo at home. Those are a far cry from going on the road against the defending Super Bowl Champs and taking them to OT, keeping the game within 3 of the high powered Texans offense, going on the road to face a Jets team still flying high from beating the Patriots on the road in week 2, losing to the Jags on the road in a game where Johnson only rushed for 83 yards and the defense gave up over 400 yards, then losing to the still undefeated Colts and finally the Patriots on the road in the snow, a game no one on the entire team showed up for.
    The Titans success is more a product of going back to the basics and hitting a lighter portion of their schedule than the change from Collins to Young. While Young has won games as a starter, though very few because of his personal performances rather than a superb running game and defensive performances, he will never be a championship level quarterback and how can anyone defend an NFL quarterback who cannot throw the ball as well as some of the better high school quarterbacks in the country?

  14. Z,
    Yes, teams are stacking the box against Petersen, but what do you think they are doing the Titans? – Staying in dime or nickel? Petersen is a great back, but the stats don’t lie – fewer carries more yards for Johnson.

  15. Playoffs, your talking about playoffs.
    Tennessee has a good chance to make the playoffs. Houston, Cardinals, rams dolphins, Seahawks, thats eight. then beat the old chargers and colts like we usually bring the kitchen sink while playing them. Go Vince, call kerry collins what you want just dont call him late for a drink

  16. Wow, easy Titans fans. Vince Young is playing ok. He’s playing mistake free football through a watered down offensive scheme that has been put together for him. He still can’t throw the deep ball and he is barely now starting to progress through his reads a little. Is that really what you want in a franchise QB.
    As a Jag fan I hope he does stick around for the near years to come. Just means one less team fighting for the division. Now if only we can figure out Peyton!!!!!!

  17. You’re an idiot bro. We have no passing attack and he’s still ahead of AP by 200 yards. You guys have Brett Farve who opens up the running game. We had Kerry Collins and Vince Young. Next time you decide to open your dumb yapper, try to say something less dumb.
    You re.tard.
    Oh, where to start. You “had” Kerry Collins and Vince Young? Did the Titans trade those two qb’s since Sunday? You must be ahead of the Florio and the rest of the football world on that one. “You re.tard”? I didn’t use my “yapper” to write my post, I transcribed the words from my brain to the computer screen, a basic skill you apparently have yet to learn.
    Peterson has opened up the passing game this year, not the other way around, and the Vikings have played the situation accordingly. Defenses have learned how to scheme against Peterson by throwing nearly their entire defense at him and are paying for it finally because of Favre. They will continue to learn how to do the same against Johnson, especially if the Titans continue the quarterbacking ineptitude they have experienced as of late.
    Z, you’re on the money, as usual.
    Also, Johnson has a few long runs to thank for his gaudy YPC.
    When he goes for 296, let me know.

  18. Chris Johnson is a machine, it was hard for me to watch him tear up the Bills D all day, he soo smmoth and elusive.
    Fred Jackson should be the Bills number 1 RB, he’s a workhores, great extra yardage after tackles and he’s great in the screen/passing game, oh and he doesnt get busted with guns and weed.
    undrafted former indoor leauge player, how they lucked out!

  19. Sorry, but Johnson isn’t half of the back that Peterson is. Peterson is explosive, he breaks most tackels and he plays harder than anyone else in football, almost never going down at first contact.
    Then you have Johnson who is explosive, and he can run for hundreds of yards against hapless and hopeless defenses. However, he usually folds like a lawn chair as soon as the first defender puts a hand on him, and usually he disappears when facing a good defense.
    Need proof?
    57 yards vs PIT
    34 yards vs IND
    Then you have him exploding with monster numbers on mediocre to piss-poor defenses like…
    228 yards vs JAC
    197 yards vs HOU
    132 vs BUF
    135 @ SF
    So, what I see right now is a guy who has taken advantage of soft run defenses, and who only has to face off against two more decent defenses all season…
    vs MIA
    @ IND
    I’ll be shocked if he manages more than 50 yards against either of them.
    The rest are mostly a joke.
    @ HOU
    vs ARI
    vs STL
    vs SD
    @ SEA
    I expect 100+ yards against each of these… as I would from almost every other back in the NFL.

  20. Young is a winner, pure and simple. Anyone who doesn’t realize that by now is either blind, not paying any attention, or just dislikes the guy for their own nonsensical reasons.
    And whoever said “he’s playing no better than Collins had been” is an idiot.
    Collins was a disaster. He kept the Titans defense on the field for marathon duty every time they played, which is why their defense couldn’t keep up with any of the opposing offenses, no matter how lame they were.

  21. Z speaking of people who disappear in games……..
    Adrian Peterson
    85 yards against sf
    55 against gb (the first game)
    63 against st. louis
    69 against pitt
    and he got to play the browns once and the lions twice.
    if you’re going to apply your harsh standards to cj, might as well apply them to your hero as well.
    180 against cleveland
    92 against detroit (first time)
    97 at gb (second time)
    133 against detroit (second time); also had 2 fumbles
    143 against baltimore is the only legitimate defense he has had a big game against.
    so before you condemn cj for running against soft defenses, look at who “all day” has played against.
    and btw san francisco is actually ranked pretty decently against the run.

  22. Minnesota has one of the most “patty cake” schedules in the league. I live in Minnesota and love to watch AP play, but to say that Chris Johnson “is’nt even in the same ball park as Adrian Peterson” is ridiculous! I’m sure we could rationalize and argue stats all dayabout who is better but who the hell cares? They’re both fun as hell to watch. This whole AP better than CJ/CJ bettter than AP thing is stupid. They’re both better than any other backs in the league, and light years better than any of us bozos giving our opinions!!!
    In the spirit of full disclosure… I am a TITANS fan.
    Also…ManBearPig, when SFTitan replied to your post and called you a “re.tard” he had to “transcribe” those words from his brain to the computer screen. He “apparantly” had that skill already. I would think that would have been obvious to you as you were reading his post.

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