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Notebook: Replays Tough to Watch

Posted Oct 29, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans on Monday were still thinking about missed opportunities against the Colts in Sunday’s 19-13 overtime loss.

Tennessee went through its regularly scheduled film session like it does the day after every win or loss, but the footage of Sunday’s game was particularly tough because it had so many plays in which the Titans could have secured the victory and evened their footing at .500 at the season’s midpoint.

The Titans, who fell to 3-5 however, start the second half of their season by hosting Chicago (6-1) Sunday at LP Field in their only home game of November.

Players and coach Mike Munchak said they must move forward, prepare for the Bears and put more points on the board against a defense that is statistically stingier than the Colts’ defense. Munchak said he assumes that Matt Hasselbeck will make his fifth consecutive start in place of injured second-year QB Jake Locker.

“We only had the ball seven possessions, and we should have done something with the ball, regardless of how many possessions we got,” Britt said. “We only had about 65 plays, but we should have put more points on there.”

Of the 64 plays, only four occurred inside the Indianapolis 20-yard line and they resulted in minus-4 yards. The Titans had one play in the red zone in the first half, a loss of 1 on a run play that was followed by a false start penalty and settled for a field goal on its opening possession. It was a stark contrast to the previous week in which Tennessee scored touchdowns on all four of its red zone trips at Buffalo.

Tennessee drove to the Indianapolis 9 early in the fourth quarter, but the snap between Hasselbeck and Fernando Velasco didn’t happen cleanly. Hasselbeck recovered the ball, but took a four-yard loss on the play and suffered a sack on third down to force another field goal that gave Tennessee a 13-6 lead with 10:26 remaining.

The Colts scored on their next possession to tie the game with 3:24 left, and Tennessee moved 39 yards to the Indianapolis 41 before settling for a punt and trying to force a punt by the Colts.

Tennessee thought it did better than that after a short pass from Andrew Luck to Dwayne Allen. Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy grabbed Allen low and Akeem Ayers stripped the ball as Allen spun. Alterraun Verner recovered it for the Titans, sending their sideline into a brief frenzy until officials ruled that Allen was down because his forward progress had stopped.

The Titans said Monday that their film review of the play reinforced their belief that it was a fumble.

“We watched that play, and on the pass it looked like a fumble,” Jason McCourty said, “but for whatever reason, it wasn’t called that way, so it’s tough, especially if we get out there on the field as a defense and not make the plays necessary to get the ball back to the offense and allow them to go win the game for us.

“It looked like a normal, spin out of the first tackle, and Akeem comes over to finish the tackle and strips the ball,” McCourty continued. “To us it looked like a fumble, to the official it didn’t, so at the end of the day, his opinion is the only one that matters.”

Munchak said the Titans will submit the play to the NFL office to request further interpretation, but even if officials agree with Tennessee, nothing will change. Munchak was asked if he thinks the ending of forward progress is consistently applied.

“I would say that it’s an emotional game, and in live time it seemed like, I always think of forward progress is like four guys pulling a guy back and they blow the whistle,” Munchak said. “At that time, I just didn’t really hear a whistle and I thought the ball was out before anything was really ruled one way or the other.

“I don’t know if people thought the ball was out, actually,” Munchak continued. “It seemed like the other official, I don’t think he saw the ball from his angle, so I just thought it was a play we had made, and I think most teams are going to think, if you’re the one that recovered it, you made the play, so at that moment, obviously, our whole sideline was excited about what we saw happening and the fact that we felt we made a play and didn’t get credit. It didn’t work that way, and obviously we had to move on when we went into overtime, and we didn’t.”

Britt underwent an MRI Monday, as he does every week after a game, to monitor his right knee that suffered an ACL and MCL tear in 2011. He and Munchak said Britt does not expect to miss practice time or game action, but the Titans will continue to monitor the amount of plays Britt takes.

Britt had three receptions for 34 yards, but had offensive pass interference calls go against him that erased a 43-yard completion on the first play of the second quarter and a 22-yard TD catch nullified by a pass interference call made by the back judge later in the period.

Britt said he and the Titans, who had won their previous two games, look forward to returning to action and continuing their climb.

“Everybody’s just anxious to get back out there and go do their job and make this turnaround,” Britt said. “Like we said yesterday, we believe we should have had this game and a winning streak, and we’re just frustrated of losing a close game like that. All of our games that we’ve had so far have been overtime and close games, and we believed that we could have made it happen yesterday.”

HARRIS UNCERTAIN: Leroy Harris suffered a knee injury on the Titans’ opening possession against the Colts and was relieved by Kevin Matthews.

Munchak said they must “wait and see” how long Harris will be out. He said Matthews will get the nod if Harris can’t go against the Bears.

Munchak said Matthews did a solid job filling in for Harris, and Mike Otto did the same in starting for Michael Roos at left tackle.

“Like I said after the game, I wish we could have enjoyed that more or praised that more with a win,” Munchak said.

CONCERNED ABOUT FAMILY: Britt and McCourty, who are New Jersey natives, said they were concerned about family members in the path of Hurricane Sandy but managed to focus on football.

“I’m trying to pay attention to our job and what we need to do this week,” Britt said. “It’s kind of hard, but I know they’ll get through it. I’m praying about it, and I know God will get them through it.”

McCourty said he hadn’t followed the path of the gigantic storm, but he had faith his mom will be OK.

“My mom lives in Jersey, but she’s a lot tougher than me, so she’ll make it through the storm,” McCourty said.

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