JOE BIDDLE: Texans leave Titans for road kill - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Texans leave Titans for road kill

Posted: Updated: Sep 30, 2012 6:54 PM CDT
HOUSTON -

Not only did the AFC South leading Texans rough up the visiting Titans on the scoreboard, they may have knocked quarterback Jake Locker out of action for some time.

They turned the Titans into road kill, with a 38-14 loss at Reliant Stadium.

Whatever could go wrong for Coach Mike Munchak's team, did.

Locker was injured when he landed hard on his left shoulder on the Titans second possession. Texans safety Glover Quin planted the second-year player in the ground and Locker would not return. He will have an MRI Monday to determine the damage.

"They brought a blitz I didn't see,'' Locker said after the game. "They covered both our routes on the backside and (Quin) got to me.''

With offensive threats Jared Cook and Kenny Britt out with injuries, the offense struggled to put points up. They got down 14-7, before surrendering 24 unanswered points. They failed to score until there was just under a minute left in the game.

Houston is good. Nothing fancy. There are no holes. Their secondary outscored the Titans, taking two interceptions to the house.

Many of the wounds were self-inflicted. Veteran Matt Hasselbeck came on in relief of Locker and threw both touchdown passes. But he also owned the two interceptions and fumbled the ball away on a sack.

"We got hurt by turnovers and penalties,'' Hasselbeck said. "Three of those turnovers were mine.''
You can add a plethora of missed tackles. At times you thought the Titans defensive players were playing flag football. You don't beat teams like Texas by waving at their running backs as they blow by you.

About the only bright spot for the Titans was a rare Chris Johnson sighting.

The former 2,000-yard running back who has struggled to find running room, came into the game having been held to a mere total of 45 yards rushing in the previous three games.

Against the Texans, Johnson picked up 141 yards on 25 carries, averaging 5.6 yards a trip.

That was about it. Houston's defense would not allow the Titans to make lengthy drives.

So the Titans did pretty much what was expected when you looked at their first four games. They were underdogs in all four games and escaped last Sunday with a improbable win in overtime against Detroit at LP Field.

Just when it appeared the schedule would soften after the first four games, this week's trip to Minnesota find the Vikings with a 3-1 record and atop the NFC North.

That game will be followed by a Thursday night game against longtime rival Pittsburgh.

No one said it would be easy, and it hasn't been.

"It's very hard to come out of that hole in the NFL,'' Chris Johnson said.

The Titans are not talented enough to have Britt and Cook on the shelf. They can't afford to miss tackles like they did in key situations Sunday. They can't give up two touchdowns on interception returns. Undisciplined penalties made their task even more difficult.

Their margin of error is razor thin, even more so against such a sound team as the Texans.

So we'll learn a lot more during these next four games that will take the Titans to the half-way mark.
"We're 1-3 and it's our own doing,'' Munchak said.

"There's a lot of football to be played. Things can happen. We get to write the end of the story.''

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

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