As the Tennessee Titans prepared to live life, again, without quarterback Jake Locker, they came into Thursday night’s matchup with the Indianapolis Colts as a relatively huge underdog. To the shock of everybody, the Titans got out to a 14-0 lead behind a phenomenal first quarter by running back Chris Johnson. Delighting his fantasy owners everywhere, Johnson exploded early on.
Johnson’s first quarter was a glimpse into what he used to do on a weekly basis. Having ran for 70 yards and two touchdowns, including a 30-yard dash, Johnson looked like he was in for a special night. The problem was, after his eight carries for 70 yards, Johnson’s carries weren’t exactly increased throughout the game.
It wasn’t necessarily his fault, but the Titans just couldn’t get him the ball like they did in the first quarter. Johnson ran the ball four times in the second quarter and just two carries in the third. The third quarter was dominated by the Colts as they held the ball for what seemed like the entire period, as the Titans couldn’t get anything going offensively and handed the ball right back to the Colts after a fumbled kickoff.
The problem with this game is somewhat the problem we’ve seen all year long. There are times where Johnson looks like a stud. There are also times where the Titans’ offense can’t get going and Johnson is the victim of that fact. However, Johnson does deserve some blame. He hasn’t looked the same at times and, quite frankly, has lost a little bit of what he had a couple of years ago.
Going forward, Johnson remains a risky play. He’s someone you just can’t force yourself to bench, simply because of nights like this. That is assuming, though, that your roster is not loaded at running back and you’re in a highly competitive league. It will be interesting to see how the offense runs down the wire, especially with Ryan Fitzpatrick running the show. Johnson may give his owners another game or two like this, but he won’t be the one to consistently score double-digits points each week.