Sunday, November 20, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Falcons 23, Titans 17
By Paul Kuharsky
ATLANTA -- Thoughts on the Tennessee Titans' 23-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome:
What it means: The Titans fell to 5-5, continuing their up-and-down season. Some will call them inconsistent. But beyond their first two games -- a loss at Jacksonville, a win over Baltimore -- they’ve simply beaten bad teams and lost to good ones.
What I didn’t like: The Titans allowed the Falcons too many big plays. Matt Ryan found Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez too often and too easily. The Titans didn’t find enough big plays. Outside of Nate Washington's 40-yard touchdown catch, a forced fumble by Colin McCarthy that Will Witherspoon recovered and a couple of big Jake Locker throws on a late drive, the Titans didn’t make a lot happen.
Will there be a quarterback controversy? Locker gave the Titans a nice, immediate jolt when he entered the game late in the third quarter, hitting Washington, who stiff-armed a defender off him and ran to the end zone for a 40-yard score that made it 23-10. Later, the rookie made a couple of big throws, then found Washington again for a 4-yard score. Locker entered the game after Matt Hasselbeck strained his throwing elbow. I feel certain that if Hasselbeck is OK, the Titans will stick with him. Locker can add something with his ability to move around but is likely to make more mistakes.
Disappearance: A week after Chris Johnson broke through with a big game, he was a nonfactor. He carried 12 times for 13 yards.
What’s next: The Titans host Tampa Bay in the third of three games in a row against the NFC South.