The Week 9 action in the AFC South made one thing perfectly clear: this division has two teams with legitimate playoff aspirations and two that clearly do not. While the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts were making their cases for playoff berths, the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars were on the field, but what they were doing wasn't close to NFL-caliber football.
The Tennessee Titans, coming off their overtime loss the previous week to the Colts, were little more than scrimmage competition for the visiting Chicago Bears. By the time the first quarter was finished, so were the Titans as they trailed Chicago 28-2. The Titans turned the ball over five times against the Bears and that doesn't include a blocked punt which the Bears converted into a touchdown to start the game. Chris Johnson ran for 141 yards (80 of it on a meaningless fourth quarter score when they trailed 51-12), but he also contributed two fumbles to the cause.
On the defensive side, the Titans didn't mount much resistance, allowing Matt Forte to average eight yards per carry himself and Jay Cutler to complete 73 per cent of his passes for three scores. Owner Bud Adams was furious following the game, stating that everyone in the organization should be on notice regarding their job security. The Titans will travel to Miami this weekend in a battle of the last two Colts' victims.
Jacksonville returned home, where they've been dismal this season. The Detroit Lions jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 31-14 victory. Detroit's two pronged running attack of Joique Bell and Mikel LeShoure combined for 143 yards and all four of the Lions' scores. Blaine Gabbert looked good enough, completing 70 per cent of his passes and throwing for two scores, but without Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jaguars' offense is stagnant.
The Jags host the Colts Thursday night and will still be without MJD. The Colts are no doubt hungry to avenge their earlier loss at home to Jacksonville who snatched the game away in the waning seconds to earn their only win thus far.
Meanwhile (ho-hum) the Houston Texans continued to roll merrily along, dispatching the Buffalo Bills 21-9. The Bills kept it a game for a half, trailing only 7-6 at the break, but the Texans rode Arian Foster's 111 yards to pull away in the second half. The only thing the Texans did poorly in the game was get penalties, racking up seven flags that prevented the score from being worse.
This week the Texans travel to Chicago to take on the Bears in what many are calling a Super Bowl preview.
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