If the Tennessee Titans were going to beat the San Francisco 49ers in their Week 7 encounter on Sunday, they were going to need to be able to do several things effectively, and one of those things was to run the football. In particular, Chris Johnson needed to have a big game rushing for the Titans. In the Titans 31-17 loss to the 49ers on Sunday, he was held in check by a 49ers defense.
Entering the game, Johnson had not been having a good time running the football. In the previous three games, he had 71 yards rushing and the Titans went 1-2 as a result. Contrast that the first three games of the season where Johnson averaged 85.3 yards rushing per game in a stretch where the Titans went 2-1, it is clear what the formula for success is for the Titans.
While Johnson did score on a 66-yard touchdown pass in which he took a five-yard screen pass used his speed to score, he failed to have such a big play moment running as he only rushed for 39 yards on nine carries. Once again, Johnson’s ineffectiveness was due to a lack of quality quarterback play.
While Jake Locker, who was making his return from injury, played well in the fourth quarter, he struggled during the first three quarters. When looking at the numbers, it is clear that if the Titans do not get good quality quarterback play, Johnson is a very ineffective runner given that opposition defenses are able to stack the box and focus on shutting him down.