Over before it had Bearly begun
It was over before it had Bearly even begun Sunday.
Two weeks ago the word around the Titans was that the worst was over, the storm had been weathered and a much brighter second half of the season loomed with words like “contender” muttered and “playoffs” whispered.
The only words heard Sunday at LP Field was the unchallenged chant of “Let’s go Bears!” from the hordes of Chicago faithful who stood in all sections and corners of the stadium celebrating the 51-20 Bears’ victory.
It wouldn’t have been fair to blame the Titans fans for the lack of answering Baby Blue to the Bears’ Navy and Orange. The social Titans fans never appeared, having sold out online to Chicago offers topping $150 a seat and the true blues — for what there were and what there were of them — could be excused not having much to offer in reply.
On a day where nothing went right for the Titans, from Kenny Britt’s 20-yard reception immediately fumbled away on the game’s first play all the way to the Bears kneeling out the final three plays after sacking quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on fourth-and-four and four scores to go, there very little for Titan fans to cheer or say.
Thoughts on “contender” were replaced with words like “contract” and “buyout.”
“Obviously, I didn’t have them ready to play. It starts with me,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said.
“Playoffs” was talk for the other sideline, It was words like “draft position” being mentioned on the Titans’ side.
It was just how far the season has fallen in two weeks.
The low of being so completely overrun from the outset was made even worse because the Titans had fought back from that dreadful 1-4 start. Back-to-back wins and the Titans offered hope of better days, that-three touchdown losses were done. But then the Colts spoiled all that in overtime, and the Bears stomped on any remaining slivers in the first quarter Sunday.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler could have pulled the mother of all bad pregame decisions — stayed out all night visiting every Vandy dive he’d ever seen or heard of, taken the entire front seven with him and staggered in red-eyed and blistered 10 minutes before kickoff — and it wouldn’t have helped the Titans in the first quarter. A first quarter where the Bears defense outscored the Titans 14-2 and Cutler & Co. only had to manage 24 yards of offense to tack on two more scores.
It was already eight more than Tennessee could manage the rest of the game.
“We didn’t coach well, we didn’t play well and obviously we got beat by a very good football team,” Munchak said.
So if the Titans faithful somberly left LP Field early and ceded the ground to the Bears, it was understandable.
After all, their team had ceded the scoreboard to the Bears long before.
Marcus Fitzsimmons is sports editor at The Daily Times, who enjoys reading comments posted to this column at http://thedailytimes.com . He wrote from Nashville.