Chris Johnson Can't Save Titans
In the end Johnson's individual accomplishments pale in comparison to the hole the 0-2 Tennessee Titans -- last year 13-3 -- now find themselves in as the third week of the NFL regular season looms. And things aren't getting easier for the Titans. In the next four weeks the Titans play three road games: at the New York Jets, at the Jacksonville Jaguars and then at the New England Patriots. Spliced in the midst of those three road games is a lone home contest against the Indianapolis Colts. Future schedule fears aside, for one day at least, Johnson showed why he is among the most dangerous playmakers in the NFL today. Let's recap his big plays.
Johnson's first score, a 57-yard scamper down the sideline, came on a 3rd and 19 shotgun draw. Johnson, who pronounced his new nickname "A Coach's Dream" during the offseason, made one Texans defender miss in the backfield, cut outside and picked up a nice block before he was off to the races. Just once, it would be a nice feeling to be in the open field in the NFL game and know that defenders taking the correct angle on you still have no shot at bringing you down. Johnson slowed down before he scored and the Titans took a 7-0 lead.
Evidently hewing to the -- don't even line up a defender against the most explosive playmaker in the game today theory just two plays after he gouged you for nearly 60 yards -- the Texans didn't adjust when the Titans sent Johnson out wide. At the snap of the ball, Johnson threw up his arms in a gesture of complete surprise, Kerry Collins saw him, tossed a short pass to his left and Johnson took off up the sideline for a 69-yard touchdown pass that probably stands as the easiest big play of Collins' career. That score, Johnson's second touchdown, put the Titans up 14-7 and sent NFL fantasy players scurrying to their computer in hopes that they weren't matched up against Johnson in Sunday's game.
But Johnson's big game wasn't finished yet. On third and 9 from the Titans 9-yard line, Tennessee once more handed off to Johnson from the shotgun. Johnson made two men miss at the line, executed a shifty move on the Texans safety that left him gaping at air, and hit the open field in a flash. The final twenty yards of his 91-yard romp was a leisurely jog. That score gave the Titans their final lead of the game, 31-24, and set the stage for an epic fourth-quarter tilt, one that the Texans would win 34-31 by scoring the final ten points of the game.