Tuesday, December 8, 2009
How I See It: AFC South Stock Watch
By Paul Kuharsky
1) Nate Washington, Titans WR: It was the injured Justin Gage, not Washington, who was the Titan in the bottom 10 of the league in catch percentage (44.9) heading into the weekend. But Washington’s hands-to-helmet reaction showed he knew full well how much of a killer his dropped 65-yard touchdown pass from Young was in Indianapolis.
Washington was targeted a team-high 10 times, but had only four catches for 44 yards. He was signed as a free agent from Pittsburgh to be the team’s deep threat, and while he leads the team with five touchdown receptions, his average is just 10.9 yards.
2) Gary Kubiak, Texans coach: On Nov. 1 after a win at Buffalo, his team was 5-3. It has flat-lined since, dropping four in a row, all in the division. His job security is the chief topic of conversation in Houston.
And the halfback option pass called for Chris Brown at a crucial spot late in the loss in Jacksonville was a desperate attempt by a team with plenty of firepower when the quarterback has the ball in his hands.
3) Titans’ fourth-down and short-yardage offense: Young threw fourth-down incompletions aimed for Kenny Britt (an ill-advised fade from the 2) and Lavelle Hawkins in the red zone in the second half against the Colts.
The throw for Britt concluded a disastrous stretch that started as a first-and-goal from the 1 with a chance to pull within 24-17. Young fumbled a snap on a sneak but recovered, saw LenDale White’s run for no gain turn into a 10-yard loss thanks to a hold by guard Eugene Amano and got only two yards on a pass to Bo Scaife before the failed fade.
Pierre Garcon had a career day against the Titans.
1) Pierre Garcon, Colts WR: As the Titans worked hard, and effectively, to limit Reggie Wayne, it was Garcon who took advantage of a matchup with Nick Harper. Garcon had 99 yards receiving in the first quarter.
He finished with six catches for a game- and career-high 136 yards. That was half of the Colts' receiving yardage in the win over the Titans.
2) Adam Podlesh, Jaguars P: He dropped two of three punts inside the Texans’ 20 yard line, averaging a 45-yard net on three punts and playing a big part in a very good field position day for the Jaguars.
His coverage team chipped in too, limiting Houston’s Glenn Martinez to 13 return yards on three chances.
3) Colts' run defense: They gave up 113 yards to Chris Johnson, so what is it doing here? Well, Johnson entered the game averaging 6.4 yards a carry and got only 4.2 a carry in this game.
And he had one run of at least 30 yards in all but two games. The Colts, who didn’t let him break off anything longer than eight yards on Oct. 11, kept him at 11 yards or fewer on every carry this time around with linebacker Clint Session leading the charge.