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Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016

No 'rush' apparent in Titans' running game

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Running back Chris Johnson and the Titan running game struggled against New England on Sunday.
(T-G Photo by Gary Johnson)
When it comes to rushing, the Tennessee Titans struggled on both sides of the ball in their loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Offensively, the Titans only rushed for 20 yards with Chris Johnson turning in the worst performance of his career with only four yards on 11 carries.

Lousy day

In the postgame interview room he was at the podium for less than a minute and was only asked two questions -- that's two less than the total yards he rushed for, if you're counting.

"Yes, tough day, especially after the first week of the season. We were trying to make some plays and trying to get a victory. We had some nice catches and things like that, but overall, a tough day," Johnson said.

"I can't say what they were doing, but we didn't execute as a team. On the chances earlier in the game where we tried to run the ball, we just didn't execute basically."

Where's the line?

The total blame for the lack of success the Titans had in the running game can't solely be placed on Johnson. The offensive line is at fault as well.

The Patriot defense was on Johnson as soon as he touched the football on most of his carries.

This was a problem last year as well and one would think that the team would have addressed the problem in the offseason.

Maybe they did, but if the results from Sunday's game was any indication, they didn't do much to improve the situation.

Defense struggles

As bad as Tennessee look attempting to run the football, the Titan defense looked just as bad trying to stop it.

New England rushed for 162 yards with running back Steven Ridley leading the way with 125 yards on 21 carries.

With all due respect, Steven Ridley is not a name that comes to mind in a discussion about the top running backs in the National Football League.

Missing tackles

"I think it was missed tackles. They ran the ball better than they should've been able to. That usually is all we talk about them running the football and made (Tom) Brady's job obviously a lot easier when they were having success running the ball on the edges and making plays when they needed to," Titan coach Mike Munchak said.

"It was disappointing to see that, there's no doubt and I know the players are disappointed, you want to play better in key spots,

"We got some stops, but when we tried to get back in the game in the second half, we couldn't get stops where we needed them. They played well, better than we did and you saw the outcome."

Locker does well

Titan quarterback Jake Locker got his first regular season start and looked pretty good before suffering a shoulder in the second half. He made a few mistakes but overall made good decisions and threw the ball pretty well but a number of his passes seemed to be a little high.

I know that one game doesn't make a season but it's going to be a very long season if the Titans don't do a better job of running the football and stopping the run on defense.

Gary Johnson is a sports writer for the Times-Gazette. Email him at gjohnson@t-g.com.

Gary Johnson
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