AFC South Roundup: Titans fire Munchak foy his loyalty?


Even though only one team, the Indianapolis Colts, are in the postseason, the AFC South continues to generate NFL headlines. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars have flown under the news radar, as they prepare for free agency and the NFL draft. Jacksonville is in dire need of a quarterback and figure to evaluate all of the talented college passers, hoping to have the opportunity to choose the right one in May.

The Tennessee Titans were a bit behind the “Black Monday” axe day, but in the end decided to fire Mike Munchak after three seasons running the Titans. It is a sad move for Munchak who spent every season with the organization since being drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1982. Reports have surfaced that Munchak was let go after refusing to fire some of his assistants, proving loyalty in the NFL is a double edge sword. Tennessee has now begun a coaching search, looking for the right man to lead them back to the playoffs.

A coronation was held in Houston, introducing former Pats assistant and Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien. O’Brien didn’t take long to get to work, letting all but one of the former staff assistants go the next day. O’Brien comes into a situation that many see as positive, taking over a team that had been to the postseason in 2011 and 2012. His track record with quarterbacks may have been his largest appeal to owner Bob McNair, as the Texans quarterbacks were by and large terrible all season.

Indianapolis completed the second largest comeback in NFL playoff history on Saturday, overcoming a 28-point deficit to defeat Kansas City. Andrew Luck made up for his uncharacteristic turnovers, with over 400 yards passing and a fumble recovery that he turned into six points. Lost in the excitement of the win was the Colts terrible defensive play, allowing 44 points. Injuries and poor play both contributed to the lack luster performance, but a win is a win and a new day dawns on Saturday in New England.

Big Winner

Andrew Luck

Luck battled, kept his team together and led them in the end to a huge comeback victory. The second year quarterback out of Stanford looked lost at times early in the game, but was able to turn it around in route to the 45-44 victory. Luck tossed four touchdowns, none bigger than the 64-yarder to T.Y. Hilton in the fourth quarter, a touchdown that proved to be the game winner. Despite his three turnovers, Luck was also Johnny-on-the-spot. Donald Brown took handoff near the goal line, only to fumble it as he attempted to score. A fortuitous bounce brought the ball back to Luck, who picked it up and advanced it into the endzone for a key turning point in the game. Luck won his first playoff game, one that will forever live in NFL lore.

Big Loser

Mike Munchak

Mike Munchak was fired on Saturday after only three seasons as the head coach in Tennessee. Munchak had been with the franchise since he was drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1982. Reports began to surface that Munchak was let go for his unwillingness to fire some of his assistants. While it may be difficult to argue for Munchak staying on as head coach due to performance, it’s a touch pill to swallow when you are let go for being loyal to your staff.

Key Injuries

The Colts were the beneficiaries of injuries to some key Chiefs on Sunday, including Jammal Charles and Brandon Flowers. On the other hand, the Colts got out the game pretty healthy overall. Greg Tolar struggled on the field coming back from injury, placing his participation for Saturday in doubt.

What it all Means

The Texans are ready to move on under Bill O’Brien…the Titans are hoping for a good hire that can lead them back to the postseason…the Jaguars are in quarterback evaluation mode…the Colts, well they might be still scoring on Kansas City’s vaunted defense.

The Colts have another tall order on Saturday as they will take on the Tom Brady and Patriots in New England. Andrew Luck will need to take care of the football, control the clock and help out the defense if they are to move on to the AFC Championship game.

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What’s Next

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots – Saturday, January 11, 2014 7:15 CST – Gillette Stadium

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