- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- On two giant plays near the end of regulation in what turned into a 19-13 overtime loss to the Colts, the Titans defense had 10 men on the field.
On third-and-10 from the Tennessee 17-yard line with 4:54 remaining, Andrew Luck threw to LaVon Brazill for a 9-yard gain. Then on fourth-and-1, as the Colts substituted in their heavy package to go for it, the Titans still didn’t get things right.
The CBS telecast showed middle linebacker Colin McCarthy before the second play counting up his teammates. But he either didn’t get a correct count or didn’t think a timeout was needed to correct the issue before Delone Carter went up the middle for a 7-yard gain.
Titans coach Mike Munchak couldn’t get the officials’ attention to call a timeout before the fourth-down play.
He said he hopes a defender is conscious of such things and calls a timeout.
He didn’t mention another guy who’s got to know how many people are on the field and alert his boss of the need for an earlier attempt at a timeout: Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray.
Coach’s film is not yet available and the CBS broadcast doesn’t show who came off the field the play before leaving the Titans short. That guy wouldn’t necessarily be at fault, though it would give us a chance to guess and who might have been in line to come on.
“You have so many packages,” Munchak said. “… So you have to be on top of that and to compound that they were doing some no huddle there, doing some hurry up to make it harder to substitute. On the play before the fourth-and-1, we kind of got caught in between. We thought we had the substitution right and wound up not having it.
“So yes, you wish if we’d recognized that as a defense we would have called timeout or brought attention to it. Guys are coming both ways, a lot of times you’re not sure what you have. … We didn’t get a chance to get the timeout to give us a chance to fix that.”
In a tight game like that one, a good share of 11-on-11 plays were awfully close. It’s hardly a surprise the Titans wound up giving up 16 crucial yards on two plays of 11-on-10.
2hEric D. Williams