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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Korked Bats

That Funny Sports Blog

The Titans Losing To The Texans Was A Good Thing (Just Roll With Me Here, Ok??)

The good news about Sunday’s game against the Texans: it couldn’t have gone any worse.

Terrible weather? Check.

Multiple turnovers? Check.

Star player gets injured? Check.

Me watching Requiem For A Dream immediately after the game for some kind of pick-me-up: Check.

And while many people will spend this week telling you why the Tennessee Titans are fake contenders and that Ryan Tannehill has somehow always been bad (despite being one of the NFL’s top-rated passers for the last two years), there is some good to take away from that brutal loss. And it’s not the fact that Ryan Tannehill couldn’t have played a worse game, and yet, they still had a chance to win with less than 4 minutes left. No, rather, it’s the fact that losing that game, when they did, was perfect. That may sound crazy, which is fine because you have to be crazy to be a Titans fan. So I’m staying on brand. But let me explain the reasons why this loss was good.

First off, if your first thought is “SEE! I told you this team is nothing without Derrick Henry!” You’re about three weeks late here, bud. Where were you after the Titans beat two BETTER teams in their previous two games? Lions in the Serengeti don’t sit in the weeds and wait to jump on their prey near as long as you sat waiting to jump on that take. Sure, you can shout that take from the rooftops this week all you want, but you’ll just look like a doofus. Is this team as good without Derrick Henry? Not in the least. But to use that take now is like Skip Bayless waiting to clown LeBron for missing a shot in the NBA Finals to claim he’s the worst. This team is literally the most injured team in NFL history, and yet they’re still the #1 seed in the AFC.

Second, this team needed a “screw your head on straight” game. Does every franchise need one of these? No. But the Titans do. And honestly, I’m ok with it for a couple of reasons. “Screw your head on straight” games benefit teams more than you probably realize. They usually happen late November or early December. I think back a lot to the ’85 Bears – super timely reference, I know – but they had a “screw your head on straight” game against the Dolphins on Monday Night Football late in their season, and many players from that team attribute it to the reason why they won the Super Bowl. Now, am I seriously comparing the 2021 Tennessee Titans to the 15-1, Super Bowl champion 1985 Chicago Bears with a straight face? No. I’m smirking a little bit. But the point remains. Sometimes when a team gets too much hype, they need a game to put their feet back on earth. Plus, if you’re going to lose a bad game, it’s best to do it to a non-contender rather than a team nipping at your heels.

But this also leads me to my third point. Look, the Tennessee Titans aren’t the Kansas City Chiefs. They’re not last year’s Tampa Bay Bucs. They’re not the Green Bay Packers. They are their own beast. They’re gritty. They’re ugly. They rarely win pretty and never win flashy. But they’ll battle you for four quarters. (Have I filled my quota of overly used football cliches for one blog yet?) And they’ll do it mostly when no one thinks they will. The Titans thrive as underdogs. They suuuuuck as favorites. It’s always been this way. Ever since their first year as the Titans.

They underdog’d their way to a playoff berth. They underdog’d their way past the Bills, past the Indianapolis Colts, and ultimately past the AFC Central (remember the Central?!) champion Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, obviously, they met their underdog match in the Super Bowl with ultimate underdog Kurt Warner. But that’s why it came down to the final play and finished with only one-yard difference. It was the underdog of undog matchups. Kurt Warner just slightly underdog’d harder than the Titans. But the Titans continued to underdog since then. (Minus that near-decade of misery in the 2010’s) But for real think about it:

Mariota’s touchdown pass to himself in the playoffs: underdogs

Tennessee putting the nail in the Patriots dynasty coffin: underdogs

Derrick Henry double-tapping Earl Thomas in the back: underdogs

2003 Wild Card game in Baltimore: underdogs

2018 season until Taylor Lewan demanded national respect after beating the Eagles: underdogs

What about the entire 2009 season? You guessed it…

Underdog GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Underdog is engrained in this franchise’s DNA. They play better as dogs. Always have, always will. (I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d be ok if they wanted to dominate every now and then – but for now, them’s the rules.) So losing to the Texans in Week 11 was perfect. It will get many to doubt this team, much as they did throughout the 6-game win streak. And then they’ll play with a chip on their shoulder, unlike they did on Sunday.

Now that leads us to Sunday. The Titans are coming in as 5.5 point dogs. Remember the last time the Titans went to Gillette as big underdogs? I do.

Now obviously the Titans won’t have their human yeti in the backfield, but they will be carrying the weight of a chip the size of him on their shoulder. So if every former pro sitting at the network TV pregame show desks pick the Patriots in between laughing way too loud and too much, then good… good… let the hate flow through them.

Personally, I prefer the Titans to be doubted. Because it makes it that much funnier and more enjoyable when they rip off the W.

Sunday Night Football Picks for Titans vs. Rams - NBC Analysts All Go Rams  Except for One
Let the record state that Mike Tirico only chose the Titans because he didn’t want the entire screen be a Rams logo, so he took them as a joke.

Is this blog written based on any analytics or metrics? Hell no. Is it based on merely anything other than my hope for this team? Not really, no. Am I grasping at straws looking for anything hopeful to cling onto after my team lost to the 1-8 Texans? Probably. But you’d be hard-pressed to pick out anything that I’ve written in this blog to be wrong. The Titans thrive as underdogs. And they have the rest of the league right where they want them.

Chess, not checkers.

P.S. They’re still the Tickle Monsters

Austin

Austin hosts a country music morning radio show in Chicago after nearly a decade in sports talk radio (The Jim Rome Show, Steve Gorman SPORTS!) Colin Cowherd and Smash Mouth follow him on Twitter and he wears pants every day.

Austin

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