Titans' RB -- and Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate -- Chris Johnson had been a fantasy stud coming into this week. Over the past three weeks he had totaled 334 rushing yards with a rushing touchdown in each of those three games. This week's result:
Fourteen carries for eight yards. Ewwww.
An initial look makes it seem as though the Bears focused on shutting down the run and decided to let Kerry Collins try to beat them - which he did, to the tune of 289 passing yards and two touchdowns. If the Titans are successfully throwing on a team, that team must have heavily committed to defending the run, right?
No, not really. These are the Bears we're talking about. They had previously given up 289+ passing yards to such opposing QBs as Matt Ryan, Gus Frerotte and Dan Orlovsky. Brian Griese threw for over 400 yards on them earlier this year. The Bears can't stop anybody through the air. They're also outstanding against the run, allowing less than 75 yards per game. So it may not have been a plan to focus on Johnson over Collins, it may have just worked out that way.
The Titans' next opponent is Jacksonville, a team with a slightly below average rushing (allowing 113 rush yds/gm) and passing (allowing 212 pass yd/gm) defense. Jacksonville couldn't stop the run back in Week 1 when Johnson and White combined for 123 yards and a touchdown but they've had time to make adjustments.
The Jags aren't as defensively unbalanced as the Bears, so it will be interesting to see if Johnson's performance this week was just the result of him facing a great rushing defense or the result of a focused effort to stop him. Personally I think the combination of the Bears' terrible pass D and outstanding run D was the reason, but the upcoming game should give us a better idea. If the Jags do stop him, the following game against the excellent run defense of the Jets will be that much more difficult for him.