Titans’ woeful defensive performance casts doubt on just how good this team can be

By John Glennon

Was it all just a holiday dream, one that came to an awful end with Sunday's nasty dose of reality?

Over the past few weeks, the Titans' defense had offered fans cause for belief -- not that the unit could miraculously transform into one of the league's best, but simply that it could be good enough. Good enough not to lose games when the offense was putting up nearly 30 points per contest. Good enough to occasionally pressure the passer, to occasionally get off the field on third downs.

Just a week ago, we saw the Titans' defense finally figure out a way to conquer a pair of the team's arch-nemeses – Philip Rivers and the Indianapolis Colts. In that one-sided Tennessee win, the Titans' defense hit Rivers six times, sacked him twice, and forced Indy to punt on five straight possessions.

Just two weeks ago, the Titans' defense came up with some huge stops against Baltimore, holding the Ravens to a one-for-four showing in the red zone and forcing an overtime punt that led to Tennessee's game-winning drive.

Sure, the Titans still surrendered a combined 50 points in those two big road victories. But again, there was a sense of optimism that – after playing some truly horrendous football for the better part of the season – the team's defense was at long last finding a sense of stability . . .

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