FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — In the wake of a 59-0 loss to the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, the Tennessee Titans enter their bye week with major issues and questions in every facet of their organizational structure.
So many questions in fact that Coach Jeff Fisher declined to address any specific changes in his postgame press conference, especially regarding a change at the quarterback position.
“I’m not going to address the quarterback situation this evening,” Fisher offered without being prompted.
Asked if other roster changes were possible, he said, “I’m not go into changes now. We’re going to look at everything real hard. We’ve got to get back to doing something well in all three phases.”
At halftime, team senior executive vice president Steve Underwood and general manager Mike Reinfeldt huddled in a corner of the press box or most of the intermission, though the subject of their conversation was not known.
Starting quarterback Kerry Collins completed just 2 of 12 passes for minus-7 yards and a 4.9 passer rating , but had at least five catchable balls dropped by receivers in the first half. A fourth-down play, Colllins’ final play in the game, before Vince Young mopped up, went for minus-22 yards as the quarterback slipped, shoveled the ball to Nate Washington as the play completely malfunctioned.
Collins was asked if he thought he might be replaced by Vince Young, who threw two passes, including one that was picked off, he said he couldn’t be certain in an 0-6 start.
“I’m not gonna assume anything at this point. I still feel like I’m the quarterback of this team. This is my team, and I feel like I give us a chance to win when I go out there,” Collins said.
Young was asked about the situation, and did not know what would happen, he said.
“I don’t have the slightest idea. Whatever goes. I’m just here to do my job. Whatever Coach Fisher says, I’m going to do my job,” Young said. “I really feel like they know what I can do. All I can do is continue to wait and continue to prepare myself. That’s all I can do.”
Tom Brady hushed the critics who believed he and the Patriots had not been in sync this year, by throwing for a record five touchdown passes in the second quarter alone and six overall.
In all, Brady was 29 of 34 for 380 yards and the six scores. Recipients of Brady’s throws included Wes Welker, who caught 10 passes for a career high 150 yards and two scores, while Randy Moss had eight catches for 129 yards and three scores against a porous Titans defense that played rookies Jason McCourty, Ryan Mouton and second-year man Cary Williams at cornerback.
“Coach [Bill] Belichick was pretty tough on us,” Brady said, “being the only team not to hit a 40-yard pass play or have a 20-yard run all season. So hopefully, we kept him quiet for a week or two.”
Indeed, the Pats had six passes and Lawrence Maroney’s 45-yard touchdown run all over 20 yards on Sunday.
“We just didn’t execute. That’s as simple as it can get,” Mouton said of the Titans beleaguered secondary. “We’ve just got to keep going back to work. It can’t get any worse than this.”
Safety Michael Griffin, who allowed Moss to get behind him and score one of his TDs, said the players have to be accountable rather than just preaching such things.
“We all need to be held accountable. Sooner or later, we’ve all got to start taking action rather than just preaching,” Griffin said.
Gotta be the shoes?
The unexpected snowfall that hit Gillette Stadium didn’t seem to affect the Patriots, but seemed to contribute mightily to the Titans troubles. Several dropped passes early on killed Tennessee’s chances to move the chains, and the Titans fumbled six times losing three.
The footing was called into question as well for the Titans, who apparently did not pack long spikes for such an occasion.
“I am from Dayton, Ohio,” rookie running back Javon Ringer said. “I am used to it, but usually I would be more prepared, get some longer spikes or something.”
Chris Johnson, who managed 128 yards rushing in the fiasco, said it was his first time ever to play in snow.
“We practiced in the rain, but that was my first time ever in my life playing in the snow. I’m not used to it, but it’s still football, and you’ve got to go out thee and play football,” Johnson said. “Those guys are used to catching the ball, running the ball and holding on to the ball in that kind of weather. That’s not an excuse, but they’re more used to it.”
It certainly didn’t bother the Patriots on their way to a record-setting day.
“Some days out there when it’s snowy like that, it’s actually an advantage for the offense,” Brady said. “Today was one of those days, because we had good footing and it just fun to be a part of it.”
LenDale White was the only Titan to be injured in the game. He suffered a knee injury and was limping after the game. White was carted to the locker room in the first half. He finished with six carries for 15 yards with one lost fumble.
Running it up?
Despite the 45-0 halftime lead, the Patriots came out throwing after getting the second-half kickoff and scored on their opening march on Brady’s sixth TD pass.
Despite that, the Titans said the Patriots were not running up the score, despite cries in years past that New England has done so. Three years ago, the Patriots were comfortably ahead of the Titans late in the game and allowed Vinny Testaverde to throw a touchdown pass, drawing the ire of several Tennessee players.
“That was their plan going in. Why are they going to change their plan?” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
Linebacker Keith Bulluck said he doesn’t blame New England for continuing to score points in either.
“Honestly and truthfully, I wouldn’t expect anything else,” linebacker Keith Bulluck said. “I definitely wouldn’t have expected anything else. I’m a firm believe in that, too. If we’ve got a team on the ropes, it’s not their fault that we weren’t matching up today.”