Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Members of the United States Colored Troops to be commemorated in dedication ceremony October 19

 I’ve said it before and now I’m saying it again.  People and events linked to Nashville history can almost always be connected to people and events associated with a set of railroad tracks once known as Dutchman’s Curve.  Movements of the 13th US Colored Troops are no exception. 

 The Thirteenth U.S. Colored Infantry was formed in 1863.    Troops from the 13th were stationed along the tracks of Nashville and Northwestern Railroad line to protect the line from raiding confederates.  At that time the tracks at Dutchman’s Curve were part of the Nashville and Northwestern line. 

Connected!  See how that works?

This weekend certain members of the 13th US Colored Troops are getting some well-deserved attention.  The African American Heritage Society of Maury County announced that a dedication ceremony to commemorate the placement of the names of 54 members of the United States Colored Troops from Maury County and 4 white Maury Countians who fought and died for the union in the Civil War will be conducted on Oct 19th, 2013 at 10 AM at the Maury County War Memorial Monument located outside the Maury County Court House. 
The program includes an honor guard from the black Civil War re-enactors of the 13th U.S.C. T. Regiment who will present and post arms to honor these men, as their names are read into Maury County’s place of history.   
The Key Note speakers include, Mr. Patrick McIntyre, Director of the Tennessee Historical commission; Mr. John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Foundation, and Dr. Bobby LovettFor further information on the event: 
Jo Ann McClellan                931-682-3755   or   931-698-4765



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Life Is Like A Bicycle Ride

My Bike
My Ride
My Schwinn

This  morning I struggled to pedal my bike up a steep incline. I’m really out of shape. I haven’t ridden since last fall and I almost didn't make it to the top of the hill. Years ago, when I first started riding on the Mill Creek Greenway, I mapped out the course that I followed today. The first half of the course is mostly uphill. I have to work hard to get through it. The second half is easy. A downhill glide most of the way home. I designed the course that way on purpose. Every time I huff and puff up the hill I’m inspired to continue knowing that once I reach the top the worst of the ride is behind me. This morning, as I raced down the hill, the thought came to me. My life is like a bicycle ride. I worked hard for many years; it’s been an uphill struggle much of the time, but the pinnacle is in sight. I'll retire in a few years and I plan to take life easy then. I plan to enjoy the ride.

My life is like a bicycle ride.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

This week the hosts at Wordpress challenged bloggers to find and write about a photo that represents change. I accepted their challenge.

The wrecking ball came to Hillsboro Village today.  The building that once housed Cotton Music is coming down and my old neighborhood will never look the same. It will take me a while to get used to seeing a gaping hole where the building once stood.  Later,  after construction begins, the sights, sounds and inconveniences of a construction site will greet me every time I walk by. I hope that when the new building goes up that it doesn't diminish the character of the area, but  even if it looks exactly like the old buildings  nearby the new structure will only mimic the character and history of Hillsboro Village
I knew this change was coming.
I just wasn't prepared for it to really happen.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CASTING CALL: Genealogy Roadshow, National PBS Documentary Series, Calling Nashville Genealogists

Our Dawson Kin tells the history
of one branch of my family tree.  

One thing I learned researching The Blunder at Dutchman's Curve, the book I am writing, is that every family has an interesting past. For more than three years I talked to the descendants of people who were either witness to or victims of the worst train wreck in U.S. history and the descendants all shared their fascinating family histories with me.
  One  descendant I interviewed is the great grandson of a man once known as “Hickman County’s youngest Confederate veteran”, the grandson of a man whose name was once listed among Tennessee’s most politically powerful men, and the son of a U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel who presided over the Dachau Trials, a military tribunal, held for Nazi war criminals inside the Dachau Concentration Camp. His family history is just one of dozens that I learned.
Have you wondered about your family history?  Do you think you are connected in some way to our nation’s rich history and folk lore? Do you have reason to believe that you are related to one of our founding fathers or a famous, or infamous, person? Is there a missing person on your family tree that you would like to find? If so, the casting directors for Genealogy Roadshow want to hear from you.
Genealogy Roadshow is an upcoming PBS documentary series. They will be in Nashville soon to reunite local families with their past and to answer their questions about their history and their lineage.
 Like the popular series Antiques Roadshow this series will have a team of experts traveling all over the country. Instead of helping people learn the history of their family heirlooms, these experts will help people learn their own family history.
 They are looking for people in Nashville and surrounding areas that have interesting family histories and want help in reuniting with long lost relatives.  For your chance to be on the show email with your family story by April 18th and someone from the casting department will get back with you.







Tuesday, March 26, 2013

TESTING.  testing. 1-2

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Tennessee Titan's Commentary from the archives of sports writer Chris Lambos

The following excerpt was taken from a December 15, 2009 post.

"How bad is it being a St. Louis Rams fan these days? Well, it wasn't too long ago the Titans found themselves at 0-6, so we probably have an idea of what 1-12 feels like. But by watching this game, I decided that Titans fans really have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season! For those who feel less than blessed, consider this timeless adage handed down through the generations:

'Enjoy your entire football season! There are
starving fans in Missouri!'

Check back here on Friday to read another commentary gleaned from the sports archives of columnist Chris Lambos.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sports Writer Chris Lambos Ready For The New Season and To Cover The Tennessee Titans

Our favorite sports writer, Nashville's own Chris Lambos, is sharpening his pen and honing his wit as he prepares to cover the Tennessee Titan's this year.

On September 11 the Titans will open their new season when they face the Jaguars in Jacksonville in what promises to be an exciting match up. Following the game Chris Lambos will report to us and post his thoughts on the game here. Until that time Nashville Past and Present will be sharing excerpts taken from some of his most memorable commentaries. We know you will enjoy them.

Titans Week 12 November 28, 2010 Houston 20 Titans 0

"The Titans are doing everything well accept playing football. After the past two games, I wondered if I should be writing team recaps for this blog or team scripts for Reality TV. I mean, there is so much drama around this team, I hear TMZ now has a beat writer. "

Check back on Monday to read another quote gleaned from the sports archives of columnist Chris Lambos

Monday, April 4, 2011

Recalling The Legacy Of Dr. Martin Luther King

Today, on the anniversary of his assassination, many will recall the words and deeds of Dr. Martin Luther King. He will be especially remembered in cities like Nashville where his presence was real and the results of his sacrifices are still evident. Today I will honor his legacy by taking time to notice how culture and values have changed and how many of the changes he struggled for have come to pass. I will also give thanks for the movement he lead and for the inspiration he brought to a divided nation.

Hellhound On His Trail, The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin

April 2, Author Hampton Sides reads a passage of his book, "Hellhound On His Trail The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin" " in the Courtyard of the Nashville Public Library. Sides was the first guest Author in this years 615 Salon author series. .

"Hellhound On His Trail; The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr.and the International Hunt for His Assassin" is a 2010 best selling historical narrative by Hampton Sides. In "Hellhound On His Trail" Sides offers a bold look at the events leading up to and following the assassination of Dr.King. Dispelling the conspiracy theories that abounded following Dr. Kings murder Sides traces the steps of James Earl Ray as he plans and executes the assassination and gives a detailed account of the police investigation that eventually led to his arrest. In "Hellhound On His Trail" Sides paints a portrait of characters who are complex and the story he tells is riveting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Dutchman's Curve book is still untitled but it now has a storyline!

I am making progress. Finally!

The first time I heard the story of the Great Nashville Rail Disaster, my imagination was captured by the tragic tale. Now, four years and hundreds of research hours later, the events surrounding the incident still captivate me and I am compelled to tell the following story.
Betsy Thorpe
March 21, 2011

Shortly after 7 am on July 9, 1918, Mary Daugherty Kennedy’s quiet life was shattered when news arrived that two powerful steam locomotives on the Nashville Chattanooga & St Louis Railway line had crashed in a corn field less than five miles from her Nashville home. The head-on collision caused the deadliest rail disaster in U.S. history and claimed the life of Mary’s beloved husband, veteran engineer David Kennedy. A hasty investigation conducted by government and railroad officials soon determined that engineman Kennedy was responsible for the calamity. Despite being “stone deaf,” and disregarding the nervous depression she suffered following the shock of her losing her husband, Mary Kennedy set out to restore his name. She spent the next two years in a legal battle that eventually landed her in front of the Tennessee State Supreme Court.

This tragic tale, set against a backdrop of wartime urgency and human error, unfolds in the midst of the racial and societal divisions of the early twentieth century, when segregation and cultural mores helped decide who would perish and who would survive this cataclysmic event.

To receive notification of the books publishing date email

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jaguars ‘Run’ in 17-6 Victory over Tennessee Titans

By Chris Lambos

Trying to snap a four-game losing streak and stay alive in the AFC South standings, the Tennessee Titans fell short to it’s divisional rival Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 17-6 before a less-than-capacity crowd at LP Field.

Jacksonville set the tone early in the first half with a relentless running attack that found the visitors gaining 146 yards on the ground by halftime. For every 17 plays called by the Jaguars, 15 of them were runs – and the Titans D was clueless on how to stop them.

In his post-game press conference, Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher gave a succinct summary of today’s outing:

“Yeah, this Jaguar-Titan matchup over the years comes down to who runs it and who doesn’t. Today, they ran it and we didn’t. They ran it and we didn’t stop it…and they stopped our run and that’s the difference in the ball game”.

Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew had the best day of his five year career, compiling 186 yards on 31 carries.

By looking close at the halftime stats, one could say that things could have been a lot worse on this cold and cloudy afternoon. I mean, it could have been a paralyzing blizzard for both the offense and defense. Case in point, the Jaguars produced 219 yards compared to just 74 yards by the Titans. They controlled the ball for 21 mins. 29 seconds vs. our 8 mins. 31 seconds of ownership. In the First Downs category, the Titans could only manage 2 while the Jags accumulated 15.

That was one nasty half of football!

The team made a few adjustments at the half, not only to avoid another loss, but to spare the organization and the city of Nashville from further embarrassment after they laid the proverbial ‘goose egg’ against the Houston Texans and their 31st ranked defense the previous weekend.

Though at times the offense seemed to rally in the second half, any hint of a comeback fell short as dropped balls and a rusty quarterback (no, not Rusty Smith) doomed the now 5-7 Titans.

Speaking of rust, Kerry Collins started for the first time in 4 week and it showed, throwing 14 of 32 for 169 yards and 2 interceptions – obviously not one of his more productive days under Center.

Chris Johnson was held to just 5 yards in the first half but finished the afternoon with 53 yards on 13 carries.

On defense, then Titans welcomed back a few players from injuries including DT Jason Jones but you would have never guessed they were back from today’s performance. The Jags had 15 first-half runs that went for 5 yards or more (8 in the second-half). QB David Garrard added insult to injury by throwing 14 of 19 (73.6% completion rate) for 125 yards and running for a TD.

When the dust cleared, Jacksonville produced 377 yards of total offense.

What’s next for the Titans? Well, it’s hard to imagine things getting any worse but Indianapolis is coming to town in 4 days and they just lost to Dallas today (Peyton Manning usually regroups after a 4-interception Sunday). With the season winding down and Jacksonville now atop of the AFC South standings, you can expect Peyton to come out slinging it Thursday evening.

First order of business for the Titans come Monday practice is to figure out some way of crossing the goal line – not in practice, but in games. For those of you who are not counting, Tennessee has gone 13 quarters of football without an offensive TD. That leaves some Titans fans feeling worrisome - including this Titans fan!

What Did We Learn From This Game?
That there is no refund policy stated on the back of the Titans tickets.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tennessee Titans Lay Goose Egg for Houston Texans in 20-0 Loss

Tennessee Titans quarterback Rusty Smith (11) is sacked by Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams.

By Chris Lambos

Some London sorts might refer to it as a ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’ after a scoreless Rugby match…but when the home team at Reliant Stadium pitches one to a visiting football team known as the Tennessee Titans, the Harris County translation may very well be ‘Sweet Buddy Adams’.

This is ugly and absolutely no fun to write about. The Titans were held scoreless. I repeat, “Scoreless”. You know, NFL players train, condition and get paid to score points on a football field and our guys make it seem impossible. Makes you now sympathize with the neutered dog next door.

The last time this happened to a Tennessee Titans football team, we have to go way back to… No, not 1969…not ’79 or ’89. No, we must journey all the way back to 2009. That’s right - just when you thought that last season’s Foxborough Massacre changed the course of Tennessee football history for the better, the dreaded goose egg rears it’s ugly head. The fact that it was handed to us by a 4-6 team reminds us all that we are closer to mediocrity than denial allows us to ascertain.

“Injuries on defense…insult on offense”. I heard that after the game and it’s sticking with me, folks!

I’m not here to complain about injuries…that’s part of the game. But somebody has got to give me a halfway reasonable excuse as to why we stuck with Rusty Smith for four quarters of football? The rookie out of Florida Atlantic generated a whopping 26.7 passer rating for the game, completing 17 of 31 passes for 138 yards and 3 interceptions. Don’t you think Simms could have done better? A hobbling Collins surely could have done better. This wasn’t the Purple People Eaters or the Steel Curtain we were facing today – this Texan unit was ranked 31 in the NFL going into today’s contest. Every offensive unit that has lined up across from them this season has scored 24 points of more.

We managed only 54 yards of total offense by halftime. For the game, the Titans tallied 162 total yards versus the Texan’s 346.

Chris Johnson had his worst performance of his career rushing for negative yards (7 rushes for 5 yards).

For the Texans, Tennessee Vol standout Arian Foster rushed for 143 yards on 30 carries. He also led all Texans receivers with 9 catches for 75 yards.

The low point of the game came when Titans S Courtland Finnegan and Texans WR Andre Johnson began to rip each other’s helmets off and exchange blows resulting with both players being ejected.

Stop there!

What Have We Learned From This Game?

1) I write 30% less when the Titans lose games they should win, but I write 50% less when they get shut out by 4-6 teams.

2) The Titans are doing everything well accept playing football. After the past two games, I wondered if I should be writing team recaps for this blog or team scripts for Reality TV. I mean, there is so much drama around this team, I hear TMZ now has a Titans beat writer.

One day (if not today), this organization is going to get serious about football. It starts at the top and works itself down to the players on the bench. Change comes after shutouts…will it be lasting change? Or do we need to start bracing ourselves for next season’s ‘Sweet Buddy’?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Next Stop On Grandpa's Road, new book by Terry L Coats

Author, Terry L Coats

“‘From the trains, onto the station platform stepped the backbone of American culture: the teacher and the students, the minister and the sinner, the farmers and the construction worker, the accountant and the drummer with his wares. Each person had his or her own story, each one using the train as transport to the next great adventure or maybe even the next phase of life.”
Excerpt from "Next Stop on Grandpa’s Road"
By Terry L Coats

Boundless paths of steel move across the landscape of America, they pass through cities, towns and farm lands; they wind around imposing mountains and stretch through wide open spaces. At one time they formed the roads that helped build the nation, as trains transporting agriculture and manufactured goods thundered over their tracks, delivering freight and passengers to the countless depots and terminals spread along their lines.

For more than a century railroads ruled supreme and throughout the country scattered depots and terminals bustled with activity as both railroad operators and customers conducted business inside. Many of the structures have been razed; in many instances overgrown tracks and crumbling platforms are the only reminders that a railroad station ever existed. Many have just disappeared; leaving no evidence of the status they held in their community or of the trains that once rumbled past their doors.

Nashville historian Terry L Coats has a keen understanding of how the early railroads helped develop communities and of the significant position stations and depots held in their communities. In his book, “Next Stop On Grandpa’s Road” Coats relates many aspects of Tennessee’s colorful history as he takes his readers on a journey through the past by visiting more than three hundred stops on the state’s first operating railroad, the historic Nashville Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway line.

“Next Stop on Grandpa’s Road,” starts with the founding of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, as Coats expounds on the impact railroads had on the antebellum south. The book then explores the railroad’s commercial development and place in local society, as Coats ably uses the history of the N&C to relate contemporary events. “Next Stop on Grandpa’s Road” gives the reader a candid look at a world gone by. It contains over five hundred historic photographs, illustrations and drawings. The images include photographs of railroad workers, locomotives, trains and trackage as well as photos and illustrations of the architecture and locales of the various depots and terminals on the N&C line.

Coats writes with the authority and confidence that comes from years of research and a passion to know his subject. He is known as the “go to guy” for those interested in Tennessee railroad history and is involved in several historical research projects. He is a popular public speaker. In addition to speaking on the history of the N&C, Coats is also sought as an expert speaker on railroad activity during the Civil War, on the famous story of “The General” (the notorious locomotive chase), and on the 1918 Nashville train wreck,( the worst rail disaster in U.S. history). He is the president of the Nashville Chattanooga Preservation Society, a group he helped found in the interest of promoting and preserving history and information related to the NC&StL Railway.

I recommend "Next Stop On Grandpa's Road" to anyone interested in history or in railroads. Readers will definitely find it a substantial and fascinating book.

Go here to learn more about author Terry L Coats and his book "Next Stop on Grandpa's Road."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tennessee Titans Lose to Redskins in OT (But Vince Young Loses More than Game)

Vince Young-- Before The Drama
By Chris Lambos

The 5-Year Vince Young experiment might be coming to an end. The so-called Titans ‘quarterback of the future’ gambled with his NFL future in today’s 19-16 OT loss to the Washington Redskins in Nashville.

What happened?

Take one less than mature QB – Add a more than peevish crowd; a first possession turnover; a thumb with a torn flexor tendon and you have all the makings of a ‘Mid-Fall Meltdown’ the size of Texas:

First, Young addressed the onslaught of ‘booing’ fans by motioning with his hands to them as to ‘bring it on!’…then there was supposedly some gesture to the ear hole of the helmet encouraging them to boo with more volume.

Secondly, Young injured his thumb at the 3:55 mark of the third quarter on a pass play to Nate Washington for 37 yards. He was replaced by third stringer Rusty Smith, a rookie out of Florida Atlantic University (Kerry Collins is still nursing a strained calf muscle and was unavailable)

Then, Young was expecting to come back in the OT but Fisher stuck with the rookie Smith. It is reported that Young became angered with the Coach’s decision. But according to Coach Fisher, Young never came up to him to say that he was good to go in.

But whether it be miscommunication or something deeper, there is absolutely no excuse that justifies what Vince Young is guilty of doing at the end of the game: Slinging his jersey and shoulder pads into the crowd.

Fisher was not happy about Young’s display when asked to comment on it during the post-game press conference. “I am very disappointed. I think his teammates are disappointed. You know, there is going to be frustration in losses. There is going to be, you know, there are times when you have to dig deep and fight and turn to one another. I don’t think you run and so I am disappointed.” said Fisher

Fisher also made it known that Vince Young was not the starting quarterback, whether he requires surgery on his thumb or not.

The Titans (5-5) have now lost two games that they were expected to win. Considering Washington was plagued with eight injuries during the game (I saw a water boy warming up on the sidelines). This game should have never been close.

For the record, Young posted typical VY numbers with his completion rate a little better than usual. His final tally was 12 of 16 for 165 yards, 0 TDs and 0 Ints. His best pass might have been his last one.

Rusty Smith threw 3 of 9 for 62 yards and 1 Int. He did heave a nice long ball to Randy Moss that appeared to be a touchdown but Moss was flagged for pushing off.

Randy Moss was quiet again (0 catches) in his second week as Titans QBs looked at other targets. Nate Washington led all receivers with 5 catches for 117 yards.

Chris Johnson rushed for over 100 yards as the presence of Moss continues to give a boost his running game. CJ finished with 130 yards on 21 carries and 0 TDs.

The defense struggled to put any consistent pressure on Donovan McNabb. It seemed like they were one step or a half-step away from making big plays in the backfield. McNabb was usually able to find an open tight end for 20 yards here and 30 yards there – especially on third downs. Veteran TE Chris Cooley made 7 catches for 91 yards but Santana Moss led all Redskin receivers with 6 receptions for 106 yards and a first quarter TD.

Like I said, this game could have been won but the defense committed some real bonehead penalties during OT that all but put the Redskins in FG range. First of the penalties was an unnecessary roughness call on Jason Babin on the Washington 27 yard line. The second was a roughing the passer call on Will Witherspoon on the Washington 42 yard line which made it 1st and 10 Washington on the Titans 43 yard line.

After missing a game winning 47-yard FG in regulation, Washington K Graham Gano booted a 48 yarder to finish off the Titans.

Next week, we will most likely see some drama…hopefully no Police calls to the Young household. But as the week unwinds, you can probably expect some changes other than the QB position…maybe some changes on the defensive side of the ball will be made. Let’s hope Rusty Smith catches on to the speed of the NFL game fairly quickly as the team prepares for a visit to Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas to play an important Divisional game with the (4-6) Texans.

What Did We Learn From This Game?There is one thing Bud Adams likes more than Texas Orange – Tennessee Green.
Expect a change before Titans Boos create Fiscal Blues.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Turnovers Costly in 29-17 Loss to 'Fins

Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young prepares to pass against the Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Miami, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010. Miami won 29-17.
By Chris Lambos

Wasn't there supposed to be a ‘Welcome to the Titans, Randy!’ victory party in honor of newcomer WR Randy Moss? Well, there was no victory…and there was no Randy Moss (unless you categorize 1 catch for 26 yards at the 4:42 mark of the fourth quarter a ‘will attend’ RSVP.

The Tennessee Titans were physically on the field at Sun Life Stadium this afternoon to take on the (4-4) Miami Dolphins, but mentally, they might as well have been at Sea World with Flipper.

Though Tennessee was leading at the end of the first quarter 10-7, it was actually the their first possession that might have served as a clue as to how the final three quarters were to play out. In that first possession, Bo Scaife fumbled the ball shortly after making his first reception of the game. The turnover gave Miami the ball 1st and 10 at the Titans 31 yard line, setting up the home team’s first score of the day.

For the day, the Titans were guilty of two turnovers – both deep in Titans territory – all leading to Dolphin scores. As Jeff Fisher put it after the game, “When you give them the ball twice inside the 30-yard line or thereabouts…. I think really sums up our day”.

Kerry Collins started at QB but pulled a leg muscle near the end of the first half and was replaced by Vince Young. Collins pre-injury performance was less than mediocre as he completed 9 of 20 passes for 51 yards, 0 TDs 0 Ints. Young passed the ball a bit better (9 of 18 for 92 yards and 1 TD) but lost a costly fumble at the Titans 10 and threw and Int. late in the game. Young’s lone TD pass was to Nate Washington for 14 yards at the 1:20 mark of the third quarter.

Today was Game 1 for Randy Moss as a Tennessee Titan after being cut by the Minnesota Vikings on November 2nd. Moss was covered fairly well most of the afternoon, but when he wasn’t, the Titans QBs threw elsewhere.

Not only did the Titans have a quarterback leave the game with an injury, the Dolphins had two quarterbacks that sustained injuries. ‘Fins starter Chad Pennington, getting the nod for the first time in 18 months, went down after the first play of the game. Chad Henne lasted longer but finally had to hand over the reigns to third stringer Tyler Thigpen who was effective in the final quarter leading his team on an 85 yard scoring drive to seal the victory.

But there is no doubt that TE Anthony Fasano was given the game ball in the Dolphins locker room after the game. Fasano posted a career best 107 yards on 5 receptions and scored a TD.

On a positive note, Chris Johnson rushed over the century mark. His final tally was 117 yards on 17 carries and a TD.

The Titans fall to 5-4 and are now a full game behind the Indianapolis Colts, who lead the AFC South. Next week, the Washington Redskins (4-4) visit LP Field to take on the Titans at 12 Noon.

What did we learn from this game?We learned that I will write 30% less words when the Titans lose to teams they should beat. Sorry, folks!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Free Admission To Cheekwood November 2, Chihuly Exhibit Extended

Photo Courtesy Paula Underwood Winters and Lori Massaro

CHIHULY AT CHEEKWOOD**EXTENDED** Through November 7, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, FREE Community Day 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Wednesday - Saturday, November 3 - 6, 9:30 am - 10:00 pm
Sunday, 11:00 am - 4:30 pm

Injuries/ Mistakes 'Haunt' Titans

Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young throws a touchdown-pass while rolling out in the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010, in San Diego.

By Chris Lambos

The San Diego Chargers broke a spell on this Halloween edition of Sunday NFL action, proving that their many team strengths and talents are no trick – even on ‘special teams’. Unfortunately for the Tennessee Titans, this game was no treat.

Titans fans watched a few injuries and a host of mistakes take the Pacific winds out of the team’s 5-2 sales at Qualcomm Stadium this afternoon. They also watched an underachieving AFC West team perform an on-field exorcism of ‘blundering spirits’ in order to regroup from a 19-7 second quarter deficit. Fighting off a late Titans rally in the fourth quarter, the Chargers went on to post a 33-25 victory, breaking the teams three game losing streak.

The now 3-5 Chargers had lost five of their first seven games, mostly due to special teams gaffes. The team as well as their coach, Norv Turner, has been under intense pressure by fans and local media to come up with one reasonable explanation as to why a franchise with so much talent could have such a poor record (this side of Dallas, Texas). After all, this team led the NFL in offense and defense going into today’s matchup. But most thought it was just a matter of time before the team would win again. With so many assets on offense and defense, they really don’t have to rely on the Halloween holiday to ‘spook’ the opponent into the loss column.

San Diego beat the Titans two ways today: 1) A punishing physical running game. Mike Tolbert is a human bowling ball. Darren Sproles is as fast as a CAT and as strong as a CAT BULLDOZER. Ryan Mathews, the Rookie out of Fresno State is averaging 4.4 yards per carry. This might be the best trio of running backs in professional football. 2) Antonio Gates The Titans did not have answer on how to contain one of the league’s best tight ends as he generated 123 yards on 5 catches and scored on a 48-yard TD.

Worth noting here that Philip Rivers threw for over 300 yards today – his fifth 300 yard game of the season. Rivers also passed Dan Fouts in the NFL record books for the most yards passed in 8 seasons

For Tennessee, it was the Tale of Two Titans: The cast members are naturally the ones that play great football, and the ones that don’t. After scoring a safety by blocking a Chargers punt out of the their end zone on the games first series, the Titans went to work on offense, scoring points on three of their first four possessions. But dropped balls and penalties would dictate the outcome for the Titans.

Vince Young was putting together one of his best passing games in recent memory. He ended the day going 10 of 21 for 253 yards and 2 TDs. Yes, he completed less than 50% but this was a game of multiple dropped passes (last I counted was ‘six’). Vince was on-th- money most of the time, and should have posted a better passer rating than the 123.7 he finished with. One of his most beautiful passes of the day was a deep ball intended for Kenny Britt on the Titans second possession of the day. The pass seemed catchable but Britt pulled a hamstring muscle on the play and never returned to the game. The pass that will make the highlight reel was a deep 71-yard TD strike to a streaking Nate Washington at the 11:53 mark in the fourth quarter. The score put the Titans within the 2 points of the Chargers. Coach Fisher went for two points but came up short on a poorly thrown ball to Chris Johnson outside the left hash marks. Washington led all Titans receivers with 117 yards.

Chris Johnson was relatively quiet today rushing 15 times for 59 yards. He did score a TD on a nifty 29-yard change-of-direction run where he weaved against the grain and navigated into the end zone at the 4:58 mark of the second quarter.

Young injured his foot in the fourth quarter while sliding to avoid a hit after a short scramble. He was replaced by Kerry Collins who’s sporting an injured finger on his throwing hand. Like Young, Collins had to deal with drop passes. One dropped pass on a critical fourth down pass to Chris Johnson at the San Diego 15 yard line proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Titans this Halloween – denying them any chance of a score and possible 2-point conversion to send the game into OT.

The Titans have a bye week coming up which will give them some time to heal from mid-season injuries. The following week finds them on the road at Miami (4-3)

What did we learn from this game?The Titans helped Norv Turner save his job!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Titans Turn the Tables

Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin (33) runs back an intercepted pass that was intended for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (18) in the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, in Nashville, Tenn.

By Chris Lambos

"Whosoever thou art that dost another wrong, do but turn the tables ...”
- Robert Sanderson, The XII Sermons, 1634

“What goes up must come down…”
- Blood, Sweat & Tears, Spinning Wheel, 1969

“Tennessee comes from behind to beat Philadelphia…”
- Chris Lambos, Titans Week 7 Recap, 2010

Alright, humanity will most likely forget this article through the ages, but this game will prove to be as relevant as the season unwinds. How relevant? Well, let’s just say that the following words are as profound as any you will come across in 2010:

The Titans just beat the NFC Champions of the 2010 season and will meet them again in the Super Bowl.

Tall order? Maybe not! But hey, that’s February - let’s get back to October:

At home against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Titans got off to a slow start against the league’s #4 offense and #11 defense (now #5 and #10 respectively after Week 7), but like an automobile transmission, the Titans had to ‘downshift’ to get up the hill. They switched to the passing lane just over the top and hit ‘overdrive’ on the way to a 37-19 come-from-behind victory.

Backup QB Kerry Collins got the starting job this week as Vince Young is still bothered with a sprained knee injury he sustained in last week’s game. As mentioned, there are really not a lot of first half stats to talk about other than he hit Kenny Britt on a 26-yard touchdown strike at the 6:35 mark of the second quarter. Britt, who did not start this week as punishment from Coach Jeff Fisher for being involved in some bar room altercation, scored his first of three touchdowns on his very first play upon entering the game. It turned out to be a career day for our 2009 first-round draft pick out of Rutgers. He’s the first WR to top 150 or more yards since Drew Bennett did so in 2003. Britt finished the day with 225 yards. Collins churned out respectable numbers going 17 of 31 for 276 yards, 3TDs and 2 Ints.

RB Chris Johnson was shut down this afternoon, gaining only 66 yards on 24 carries.

For the Eagles, it was just another day of football in the first half. QB Kevin Kolb was making some plays through the air – spreading the ball around among WRs Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper as well as RB LeSean McCoy out of the backfield (WR standout DeSean Jackson was placed on IR with a concussion from last week’s jarring helmet-to helmet hit from Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Dunta Robinson).

The Eagle Defense was causing problems for the Titans other than shutting down the running game. They logged two sacks, two interceptions and recovered a forced fumble.

At the 5:58 mark of the third quarter, many of Titans fans were thinking about changing the TV channel. The Eagles had just picked up a first down at the Titans 3-yard line. Leading 16-7, the Eagles go to the run but the play was disrupted on the handoff by DT Jason Jones, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Titans Rookie CB Alterraun Verner.
This was the turning point of the game. The Titans took over at their own 4-yard line and marched down the field far enough for Rob Bironas to kick a 41-yard FG to close the gap to six points.

By the end of the third quarter, the Titans had compiled 144 yards of total offense. They put on an unbelievable offensive display in the fourth quarter. They scored on 4 of their 5 possessions, setting a franchise record for 27 unanswered points in a quarter of play. The quarter’s highlight came on a 1st and 10 when Collins connected with Kenny Britt for 80 yards – Britt’s second score of the afternoon (he later logged an 18-yard TD for his third and final score).

When the final second ticked off the clock, the Titans had generated 184 yards of fourth quarter offense and finished with a game total of 328.

The Titans (5-2) go on the road next week to face QB Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers. We know Dallas in the best 1-4 team in the NFL, right? Well, the Chargers are the best 2-5 team as they have lost their past 3 games to above average competition by a combined total of 14 points. Look for another tough test as the Titans try to extend their undefeated road record to 4-0

What did we learn from this game?At 5-2 and with Indy limping, there isn’t a table that can’t be turned by determined Titans in 2010!