Titans-Jets: What we learned

Bucky Dent, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE -- The good news for the Tennessee Titans: They improved to 3-1 and tied Indianapolis for the AFC South lead Sunday with a 38-13 beating of the mistake-prone New York Jets at LP Field.
The bad news: Quarterback Jake Locker was carted off the field with a hip injury, putting his availability for next week's unlikely showdown with 4-0 Kansas City into question.
Locker, who was 18-of-24 for 149 yards and three first-half touchdowns, left with 11:14 remaining in the third quarter. While throwing an incomplete pass, he was drilled by Muhammad Wilkerson and then hit by Quinton Coples.
Locker went down, clutching his hip, and barely moved. Most of his teammates surrounded him by the time he was loaded on the cart, and the crowd of 69,143 gave him a warm ovation.
Before the game was over, Locker was on his way to a local hospital to get checked out. Coach Mike Munchak didn't have an update as to the extent of Locker's injury after the game.
Locker has become more accurate while eliminating mistakes through the first four games. The third-year pro from Washington has completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 721 yards and six touchdowns. More importantly, he hasn't thrown an interception.
New York rookie Geno Smith continued to cough up the ball with regularity, tossing two interceptions and losing two fumbles which led to 28 Titans points.
Smith's final numbers -- 23 of 34, 289 yards and a garbage-time 34-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland -- seemed an outlier in light of his critical mistakes. He's turned the ball over 11 times (eight interceptions, three fumbles) in four games.

What the Titans said
"It's unfortunate what happened to Jake, but we're very confident in Ryan and the things he can bring to the table. We'll make sure he's ready for next Sunday." - WR Nate Washington on the injury to QB Jake Locker and the ability of backup Ryan Fitzpatrick to fill in if Locker can't play against Kansas City.

What the Jets said
"How many times are we going to make that excuse? One of these days we are going to have to learn from them and it better be soon." - Coach Rex Ryan on the growing pains of QB Geno Smith.

What we learned about the Titans
1. Their defense has gone from bad to above-average. Taking advantage of mistake-prone Geno Smith for four turnovers Sunday, Tennessee has forced nine in four games. It's also notched 14 sacks, including five against the Jets, and hasn't allowed a pass play of more than 36 yards. They consistently got beat by big plays last year and they are consistently making big plays this season.

2. The offense doesn't make mistakes. The Titans played turnover-free ball for the fourth straight game, the only NFL team to do that at the quarter-pole. Much of that has to do with the improved decision-making of Jake Locker, who's thrown 111 passes without an interception. But the offense could be hurt significantly if Locker (hip) has to miss next week's game with 4-0 Kansas City.

What we learned about the Jets
1. At some point, Geno Smith has to quit giving the ball away. He threw two interceptions and coughed up two fumbles Sunday, giving him an absurd 11 (eight picks, three fumbles) in four games. While Smith throws a pretty deep ball and has shown above-average mobility, you simply can't average almost three turnovers per game and expect to have a long shelf life in today's NFL. Especially in New York.

2. Penalties continue to kill them. The Jets committed 10 for 66 yards, giving them a league-high 44 in four games. While the optimists can say they at least cut the flags in half (they had 20 last week against Buffalo), 11 per game is Raider-esque. The number of pre-snap fouls illustrates a lack of discipline, something this team can't afford with a talent base that doesn't match up to most opponents.

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