He has continued to show just how good he is as well as his rapport with JaMarcus Russell. He caught four passes in the first half including a 23 yarder as well as that spectacular diving fingertip TD catch which was the highlight of the night.
Yeah I know "Tell me something I don't know" right? He was so shutdown that you have to check the tape just to know he was in the game. NO balls went anywhere in his vicinity.
He was the other starting corner with DeAngelo Hall being out. He also stayed in long after Nnamdi went out and didn't give up a single catch. In fact, he only had one ball even thrown his way and he batted it down no problem. He also had a nice blitz and pressure on the Titans QB that resulted in an incompletion. At one point, he had two odd penalties in a row but those are forgivable and fixable because this is preseason.
He had SIX tackles for low or no gain as well as a few more tackles. He was seen flying around the field making tackles including running down the Titans speedster Chris Johnson from behind.
Was he telling Andrew Walter to throw the ball where he could barely catch it? Because he had three straight catches that were true highlight reel material. The first of those was the most eye popping and was even more of an extension than Zach Millers TD catch. The next one was a 24 yarder in which he took a pretty viscious hit. He definitely has a some great hands as well as leaping ability and savvy. Can you say gem?
Sacked Vince Young once and chased him down another time for a very short gain. He also stuffed a Titans running back at the line for no gain at one point.
He had nearly double his yards per carry average from last week. He carried the ball 6 times for 44 yards including his first carry which was an 11 yarder straight up the middle (which sceptics have questioned). His big run was a 25 yarder just before the half that made every Raider fan watching lick their chops in anticipation for the coming season. It also set us up for a long field goal that put us up at the half.
He looked confident and accurate. Most notably though he was pressured 4 times and was able to escape it EVERY time. He is very crafty and fleet of foot when he needs to be and has no wasted movement. He always has his eyes looking downfield in case someone gets open. Especially when he rolled out of the pocket and stuck the ball where only Zach Miller could get it in the end zone. The skeptics will shut their mouths for a while on whether he can manage this offense.
His first mention was making the tackle on special teams (of course!) But he was always in the picture making his usual hard hits and had two tackles for no gain.
He is like a bigger, faster, more powerful Zack Crockett for this team. He ALWAYS makes something out of nothing. He ran for three first downs and two of those were hard fought runs. The other showed his instict for finding the hole and bursting through it. He had 14 carries for 60 yards.
He made the tackle on a kick return. Which may not be a big deal except it was Chris Carr he tackled for no gain and afterward he was all in his ear. Nice work Sam.
He was ineffective in the run game (3 rush for 3 yards) but he gets in here because he blocked Albert Haynsworth just enough to let JaMarcus get the TD pass off to Zach Miller. It is about the little things.
Pressured Vince Young twice causing incompletions.
Only had one catch but he caught it in the flat and faked the defender so bad that I think he literally broke his ankles. It was just silly.
He shed a block on a run and tackled the back for a short gain and had a tipped pass that nearly resulted in an interception by Kirk Morrison.
He is very good at finding holes to run through. He doesn't wow you but in a zone blocking scheme, finding the hole is the important thing. He still is the favorite to be the 4th back on this team.
Looked very composed and had no interceptions. But then again he always looks that way in the preseason.
I was a little torn here because he did break off that 72 yard run. But he was caught from behind by Marquis Cole (who was cut from the Raiders last year). And then he had two chances to make it in the end zone and couldn't get in (first time he was stopped by Cole AGAIN). Then the third play was Oren O'Neal fumbling so we got no points to show for it all.
Had two punts. One for 71 yards and another for 53. I think it was Lechler in diguise. What is it about strapping on that Silver helmet that turns guys into great punters? (don't bother listing off the bad punters we have had. I am well versed. It was in reference to Guy and Lechler only)
Hit all three field goals attempts including a 56 yarder just before half time. In case you didn't know; that is one yard better than the Raiders record of 55 which Janikowski did twice. Aaron Elling may have found himself a job with another team after this performance. Thank you Nedney...er...Elling.
Jonnie Lee Higgins
You knew he was going to be at the top of this list. I just told Rob yesterday that Jonnie Lee Higgins could just come back down to earth and prove that last week was a fluke. Not only did he come back down to earth but he went subterranean. He of course had the fumble in the end zone to give the Titans a touchdown. But he never should have caught that kick in the first place. He caught it on the 6 yard line when he should have let it go and then he ran backwards with it trying to get tricky and failed miserably. That wasn't even where his problems began. Prior to the fumble he ran an in route on what was supposed to be an out route and Russell threw the pass where he was supposed to have been. Every time he was the return man he was tackled for little or no gain. He fair caught another punt on the 8 yard line! The 2nd time they tried an end around with him he looked sluggish and stiff and was tackled for no gain. I really feel for the guy because this has to be the worst game of his young career. I hope he finds an AFL team that wants to sign him.
Another guy who came down to earth. Last week he forced two fumbles and recovered one of them himself. I saw quite a bit of him in this game as well. He was the guy getting beaten badly by LaVelle Hawkins twice including a 51 yarder for the Titans only offensive TD. He was beaten badly a third time as well. Then when he was given a chance to return a kick he stepped out of bounds accidentally. You gotta be aware of where you are on the field. And knowing where your receiver is might help too.
His first pass was a short pass that was right in his hands and he couldn't catch it. The next pass was not in his hands but he didn't look crisp in his break and his defender was all over him because of it. He was not heard from again after that.
He was beaten by a third string DE who hit Andrew Walter so hard from behind that Walter got a nose bleed and played the rest of the day with a bloody reminder across the front of his jersey. Mario that is how you get your QB killed and yourself cut.
Was blocked out of the way on a 23 yard run by LenDale White in the first quarter. He also was called for offsides at one point.
Chris Johnson (not the Titans RB)
Gave up a long catch in the 2nd quarter and despite staying with his receiver in pretty good coverage most of the time, his man always seemed to catch the ball. Hey Chris, the stats and the score doesn't care if you were close by when your receiver caught the ball. He also fumbled the ball on a kick return because he was holding the ball out in his hand like we were all taught never to do.
Was beaten BADLY twice on the final drive that resulted in the Titans field goal for the win. Keep in mind that this is the 3rd team that he was going against and everyone knew that the Titans had to pass to move the ball down the field. Well perhaps everyone except Hiram Eugene.
He was not beaten badly like Eugene but he was on the hook for 3 other catches two of which moved the Titans down the field on that last drive. He was always right there to make the tackle but like I told Chris Johnson "the stats and the score doesn't care if you were close by when your receiver caught the ball". See you on the flip side Nick (if the flip side is the waiver wire)