At the conclusion of the first half of Thursday night’s Week 11 primetime game, the Tennessee Titans looked to be in complete control on the scoreboard. A big part of their early dominance had to do with Chris Johnson‘s ability to move the chains and drain the clock, putting up six points twice in the process.
In the first half alone, Johnson had 13 carries for 80 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In the second half, however, that all changed. Johnson received only four second half carries for six yards despite his effectiveness carrying the football earlier in the game and large lead in the game at that point.
The second half play-calling certainly was a head scratcher from my point of view. One of the most basic things every football fan should know is that you are supposed to run the ball to kill clock when you are safely in the lead and throw when you are behind. Instead, the Titans were content to do the exact opposite.
Unfortunately, that strategy backfired for them and it resulted in them getting the loss putting them in serious danger of missing the playoffs this year. While the lack of running in the second half played a large role in the loss, a special teams fumble, recovered by the Indianapolis Colts on the Tennessee 20-yard line, proved to be just as costly.
In reality, though, if Johnson had been allowed to run the ball in the second half the defense and special teams would have been off the field for the majority of the game and the Titans could have milked the clock down for a victory. Instead, they lost and will have to wonder what might have been.
Mike Munchak and the entire Tennessee organization will have to look themselves in the mirror and wonder why a guy with as much talent as Johnson, who rushed for 80 yards in the first half alone on Thursday, was not worthy of more than four carries in the second half of the game.
Surely, Titans’ fans will be upset over this loss. This is one that will sting as they really should have won in hindsight.