Matt Hasselbeck and Kenny Britt have enjoyed a productive connection so far in 2011. (Jim Brown/US Presswire)
Three games into season, Tennessee finds itself at 2-1, tied for first place in the AFC South ... and suddenly in need of help at wide receiver. The Titans may have lost Kenny Britt for the remainder of the season to a right knee injury.
Late in the second quarter of Tennessee's 17-10 win over Denver, Britt caught a pass, tried to spin away from a tackle, then crumpled to the turf as his leg buckled. He was in so much pain that he simply dropped the football, resulting in a fumble and turnover, and had to be carted off the field.
According to multiple reports, the Titans believe Britt tore his ACL and MCL -- he'll have an MRI Monday.
If that's the case, Britt would land on injured reserve and miss Tennessee's final 13 games. It's a potentially huge blow to a team that might have an unexpected chance to compete in an AFC South weakened by Peyton Manning's extended absence. Britt currently leads the Titans in receiving yards (289) and touchdowns (3). He was also Tennessee's leading receiver across the board in 2010, despite missing four games with a hamstring injury.
Tennessee was 5-3 when Britt suffered his injury last season. The Titans lost all four games without him and had less than 150 yards passing in two of those games.
The in-house options to replace Britt, opposite Nate Washington in the starting lineup, are Lavelle Hawkins, Damien Williams and possibly return specialist Marc Mariani. None of those players have ever had more than 16 catches in a season -- Williams hit that mark last year during his rookie campaign -- and that trio has just 10 catches combined in 2011.
Veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck is off to a surprisingly strong start with Tennessee. His two-TD effort Sunday puts him at five touchdowns and just two interceptions through three games. He's also carrying a QB rating of 102.2, which is ninth-best in the league.
His ability to keep that pace up was already in doubt because of the Titans' utter inability to run the ball -- superstar RB Chris Johnson has just 98 yards rushing this season. Now, Britt's injury adds another obstacle.
There are a bunch of intriguing free agent receiver options sitting out there, including, to name a few, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Terrell Owens, Chris Chambers and others.
That list of "others" also features, if anyone dares to go there, Randy Moss, who was a bust for the Titans last season after Tennessee claimed him off waivers.