No guts, no glory.
I tried to make a proclamation yesterday, and fell short. I'm fine with any trash talk that should ensue, but I'm still glad I wrote that post. Many of the things I said actually came true and the Bears were in this game the whole way.
The Titans won a hard-fought football game by controlling field position and protecting their quarterback.
The Bears lost by not controlling field position, having an inaccurate quarterback, and by failing to pressure Kerry Collins.
It all started out perfectly scripted for the Bears. They won the coin toss, deferred their choice to the second half, stopped the Titans on a three-and-out, then marched 75 yards for a touchdown. Things were looking up.
They wouldn't score again until there was only 3:17 left on the clock ... in the fourth quarter. In between those scores, the efficient Titans totally dominated in every aspect except their ability to run the football. Just as I suspected he would, safety Mike Brown played every non-passing situation (which for the Titans is anything but third-and-long) in the box and the run was totally taken away from the Titans. They finished with only 20 yards on the ground.
They didn't need more than that, though, because Kerry Collins threw for 289 yards after hitting on 30 of 41 passes. The story here was the offensive line of the Titans. As much as the Bears' front dominated them on running plays, they were equally dominant when Collins dropped back. He routinely had upwards of six seconds to find the open receiver.
On the other side of the ball, the Bears ran quite easily early in the game, but were clamped down in the second half by Albert Haynesworth and company. Rex Grossman's numbers didn't end up looking horrible because of the two scoring drives. On those two touchdown drives, he was 11-of-14 for 120 yards, scoring once himself on the ground and throwing for the other.
Of course, there were a boatload of other possessions. On those eleven possessions the Bears didn't score on, Grossman completed only nine of 23 passes for 53 yards. He was picked off once.
The Titans move to 9-0 and will do no worse than retain the lofty division lead. They could yawn their way to home field throughout the playoffs at this point.
The Bears fall into a first place tie with the Vikings, and have the task of visiting division rival Green Bay next week. I can't see them winning on the road with Grossman's inaccuracy issues. My hope is that he was either just really rusty this week and will gain some precision before next week's game, or that Kyle Orton comes back healthy before the trip.
Titans 21, Bears 14: Titans Win Field Position Battle, Improve to 9-0 originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Sun, 09 Nov 2008 16:49:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.