For a divisional game, the contest between the Titans and the Jaguars was an extremely flat affair.
Whether it was the injuries to both starting quarterbacks or just a disappointing home team performance it wasn’t the kind of display we’ve become accustomed to on Monday Night Football. The Jaguars looked like the team we expected before the season and not the team who looked so good in winning the past two games.
As for the Titans they never really seemed to get into a groove, but they moved the ball effectively (after an excellent first drive) and may be the best team nobody is talking about right now.
Titans: Three performances of note
It was another excellent day for the Titans’ defense, with the pick of the litter being rookie Alterraun Verner (+3.6). We’ll heap more praise on Verner later on in the week when we release our Rookie of the Year update, because he’s bound to move up after this display. From the seven balls thrown at him, just three were completed for 21 yards with the icing on the cake being a nice break on the ball to intercept Trent Edwards. Verner looked anything but a rookie in this one.
He wasn’t the only one to excel in the secondary. We gave Michael Griffin (+2.2) a hard time (justifiably, it must be added) for his 2009 performance, so it’s good to see him showing signs of performing to the Pro Bowl standard he was at in 2008. His interception was opportunistic but he was where he needed to be, and seemed to have cured some of the problems that plagued him last year, when he was a complete liability most of the time.
If there was one performer who was particularly poor, then that guy was Nate Washington (-3.0). He struggled to gain any separation, but more annoyingly (for the Titans) gave up two penalties — never good for a wide receiver. With Kenny Britt (+1.0) looking more and more the real deal and Justin Gage returning from injury, we’re looking to see how this battle turns out.
Jaguars: Three performances of note
While the Jaguars’ linebackers haven’t played to the level we perhaps expected of them, this was a move in the right direction for Kirk Morrison (+4.0). Assuming the role of every-down linebacker, Morrison was at his best in run defense with seven defensive stops, continually knifing through to make tackles for loss or short gains. He provides real value for what he cost the Jags and is doing something to make up for the disappointing 2010 Daryl Smith (-0.2) has cooking.
While he is on the field for too many snaps, it’s easy to see why the Jags don’t want DT Terrence Knighton (+4.0) to come off the field. He dominated Eugene Amano (-3.1) for most of the game, making three defensive stops and continually collapsing running lanes. It would be a stretch to call Knighton consistent, but in spurts he’s showing some top-level talent.
There was a lot not to like about the Jags’ offensive performance. Both quarterbacks were poor, they dropped too many passes and the run blocking was far from dominant. We’ll focus on Trent Edwards (-1.4), who made some decent throws when he had time, but also made a couple of really bad ones including a pick, a ball that should have been picked and some under- and overthrown balls. Edwards hasn’t had much time with his new receivers but this wasn’t a performance to instill any confidence in him.
Damian Williams (+0.4) didn’t hurt his chances of more playing time as the third receiver. He caught all four balls thrown his way. … Marc Mariani (-0.3) wasn’t overly impressive in his return role.
Tyson Alualu (-1.4) got hurt and came back but didn’t look like his usual nonstop self. … We got a longer look at Deji Karim (-1.1) and he didn’t help himself by dropping a pass. He looked useful as a returner, though.
Knighton was in on 98 percent of defensive plays. … The Titans’ offensive line gave up four pressures on 25 dropbacks.