Up until his hip injury with 11:14 to play in the third quarter, Jake Locker was doing everything the Tennessee Titans could have hoped for and more as a quarterback.
Locker, who struggled when the Titans hosted the New York Jets last December, was spot on for most of the day Sunday, completing 18 of 24 passes for 149 yard and three scores before a pinball hit from Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples on an incompletion knocked him out for the remainder of Sunday likely for multiple games.
Last year, it was a separated left shoulder that cost Locker five games. This year, it remains to be seen how long Locker could be out.
“He was doing exactly what he hoped he would do,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “He got the ball in the first half and converted all three turnovers into touchdown passes. We haven't turned the ball over yet in four games, and that's pretty much unheard of in this league. … He was playing about as good as I think he could play in this game.”
“Jake was playing awesome, probably one of his best games,” said tight end Delanie Walker, who caught the first of Locker's three scores Sunday.
For the season, Locker is 69 of 111 with six touchdown passes and no interceptions.
While a full evaluation of Locker's injury will come most likely on Monday, the torch looks like it will passed for the time being to Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The former Buffalo Bills starter was signed as a free agent in the off-season for just this type of situation.
“I think we will stay pretty similar. Dowell's (Loggains) offense is Dowell's offfense and I was able to run it during the preseason and get comfortable with it. I'm sure there's a few things I'll suggest in terms of my strengths or maybe hiding some of my weaknesses and just doing some of that stuff,” Fitzpatrick said.
Safety George Wilson, who was Fitzpatrick's teammate with the Bills, professed confidence in the quarterback.
“I spent a lot of time with Ryan playing together in Buffalo. We saw Jake go down, and sometimes that can be an emotional shift in the game. While Jake was down and they were getting ready to cart him off, we talked about not allowing this to affect us,” Wilson said. We go against Ryan every day in practice. He brings a veteran presence to the field and guys believe he can move the ball … There was no drop-off in our faith in our game plan and our belief that we were gonna get the job done today.”
Walker said the Titans will carry on if Locker is out for any period of time.
“That's why they brought in Ryan, just in case something like this happened. He's a good quarterback, he's won games. He's gonna have the opportunity to be a starter, and he can got to practice and get the looks that he needs to see and give us an opportunity to win games,” Walker said.