The Tennessee Freaking Titans

Titans 28 Ravens 12

Jim Rome
January 13, 2020 - 10:25 am
Derrick Henry

USA Today

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As stunning as Houston getting up on Kansas City was, and as stunning as Kansas City’s comeback was, don’t let it erase what happened in Baltimore on Saturday night.

Because the Ravens choked. Yeah I said. Well actually I didn’t. But Ravens pro bowl corner Marlon Humprhey did. He said it in the locker room after Baltimore got smoked by Tennessee 28-12. 

"I think you have to look at yourself in the mirror, and I think this team's identity right now is to get in the playoffs and choke. It is what it is. This is just the hard truth."

And I know what you’re thinking, it’s the heat of the moment after a gutting loss. And in the morning, when the emotions aren’t as raw, maybe after someone from the team had spoken to him or he had a night to sleep on it, he would walk it back. He did not.

This was Humphrey yesterday: "I stand by that. It actually was what I was thinking on the sideline. It's crazy. You are what you show on paper, and you are what you show on the field. That's what we've shown on the field."

Bam!!.That is the coldest self-assessment ever. And this might be the rare time when I’m actually going to disagree with a guy who is killing is own team. Because choker is such a hard word. And honestly, I don’t look at Baltimore like chokers right now. The Texans yes. But not the Ravens.

Yes, it’s two straight seasons when they got to the playoffs and were bounced immediately. And I know both of those losses came at home. And that they got manhandled and beaten at their own game by the Titans on Saturday night. And that was a truly terrible no-show by the Ravens. But you’ve got to do it more than just twice for it to be your identity.

That doesn’t mean either of those losses were good or that they won’t leave a mark. I’m not saying it’s ok, or it’s all good. It’s not. Last year, they ran into a Chargers buzz saw and this year they ran into a Derrick Henry-shaped buzz saw. 

Brutal losses, both of them. And horrible ways to end the season. Especially this year when they had put themselves in position to win it all, only to get wrecked by the Titans. 

As Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon said after the game: "You don't ever expect to get into a car crash until you get in a car crash. And I feel like that's what it is."

That wasn’t a car they got hit by, that was a tractor. That was Tractorcito. 

Because Derrick Henry just put an absolute beating on anyone and everyone in his path. Including Earl Thomas.

I like Earl Thomas and have nothing but respect for his game. But I have never see a defensive player get turned around and used as a blocker the way Henry did that to Thomas. 

And that is after Thomas said before the game that New England players "didn’t seem too interested in tackling him. I think our mindset is a little different. We’re gonna try to tackle him, try to swarm and see how it plays out.”

It did not play out well at all for Earl. He got turned inside out. Almost literally.

After the game, Henry was asked what he said to Thomas and his answer was perfect: “'Good to see you, Earl. Good to see you, man. Hopefully we can do this again.'"

And I’m not really interested in hearing a rest v. Rust argument. Rest is a privilege at this time of year and if you can’t manage it or handle it, that’s your fault and nobody else’s. And it sure seemed like the Ravens receivers couldn’t handle the ball and their defense couldn’t handle Derrick Henry. Because when he wasn’t trucking fools, he was throwing over them.

And as long as we’re talking respect, how about a little love for Ryan Tannehill? The guy was run out of Miami and he’s now sixty minutes from going to the Super Bowl in Miami. That is awesome. About as awesome as the game plan that Mike Vrabel and his staff drew up.

Who had the better game: Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith or Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees? Answer: it’s a tie. They both coached their asses off and had that team ready to not just win, but to dominate.

And one more thing on that game. As I mentioned, I appreciate Marlon Humphrey’s self-reflection and the willingness to really ask the tough questions of himself and his team. It was one of the all-time worst no-shows by Baltimore. 

But people trying to make that out like Lamar Jackson is a bust or a playoff failure are so desperate and so transparent. Don’t even come in here with that bullcrap That’s the dumbest and worst take ever. 

Right, the best player in the league, the guy who just turned the league inside out is a bust because he had a bad game in the playoffs. A bad game against a great team, with a great scheme, and receivers just putting the ball on the ground. 

But some fools want to say this proves the doubters were right all along. It sure as hell does not. You know what it proves? It proves that you’ve got some ax to grind with Jackson and you’re doing whatever you can to try to make that point. You making that point is about you, not him.

Brett Favre once threw six picks in a playoff game, so get out of here with that trash that one playoff game proves anything.  

I’m not going to come in here and say that Jackson had a great game. He didn’t. Even if he did have more than 500 total yards. Most of those came when it didn’t really matter. He did not have a good game and he’d be the first to tell you. A terrible time for a terrible game. 

But he damn near dragged them back into that game in the second half. That showed me a lot. And if you’re trying to trash Jackson after that game and say he’s overrated or no good, that shows me a lot too. That says everything about you and nothing about him.