NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans might have been subconsciously rushing Jake Locker back into action out of desperation, I thought when the news broke Saturday that he’d play against the 49ers.
The quarterback came though the game fine, it appears. He just couldn’t help the Titans end their skid as they dropped one to San Francisco, 31-17. They head to the bye with three consecutive losses and sit 3-4.
Locker made some big plays late, but late was too late. Through three quarters the Titans trailed 24-0 and had gained 160 net yards. They then amassed 208 in the final quarter when San Francisco was understandably more susceptible.
“I thought he came out and threw the ball pretty good,” Mike Munchak said of his quarterback. “Again, you can’t have what the story of the offense has been, drops and penalties.”
Locker ran three times for 29 yards. He didn’t look to pass up any clear opportunities to take off. He went down headfirst twice and put his shoulder into a defensive back as he went out of bounds another time.
“I thought I was able to do everything I needed to,” Locker said. “I felt comfortable in the pocket, felt good throwing the ball. Overall I felt good. I thought I saw things well. Overall I felt very comfortable.”
His second quarter interception to cornerback Tramaine Brock looked to be on the same play Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception on in Seattle. The target was Nate Washington up the sideline, and the throw was not long enough and not enough to the outside.
San Francisco turned that takeaway into a touchdown drive.
Locker’s two touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter. Chris Johnson took a short screen 66 yards on the first. Locker made a strong throw across his body to Delanie Walker in the end zone for a 26-yard score on the other.
“He was doing his best and we couldn’t help him out," said Walker, who was critical of two missed blocks and a holding penalty he committed. “On that touchdown throw, he put zip on it. I swear it went through two defenders' hands to get it back there. It was probably 40 yards on the run, it was a beautiful throw.
“At the end of the day, that touchdown, doesn’t matter, right?"
Going forward, the Titans have their primary piece on offense back in place.
They’ve got to find a way to be consistently more productive with him or their struggles will continue, easier defenses on the schedule or not.