The Titans beat the Colts 31-17 after scoring 14 points in the 4th quarter. The game was tied 17-17 going into the fourth and it seemed that the Titans were not playing their best. The Titans special teams scored on what I consider one of the best plays of the season. Adam Vinatieri came on for a 46 yard field goal attempt but it was blocked by safety and special teamer, Dane Cruikshank. After the block, it was recovered by CB Tye Smith and returned for a 63 yard touchdown.
Some key stats from the game:
QB Ryan Tannehill: 17/22 182 yards 2 TD 1 FUM
RB Derrick Henry: 26 CAR 149 yards 1 TD 1 FUM
WR Kalif Raymond: 1 REC 40 yards 1 TD
WR A.J. Brown: 3 REC 4 TGTS 45 yards
WR Adam Humphries: 1 REC 13 yards 1 TD
LB Jayon Brown: 9 TOT 5 SOLO
CB Kareem Orr: 8 TOT 8 SOLO
Rushing yards: 154
Passing yards: 138
Total yards: 292
Interceptions (thrown): 0
Time of Possession: 27:29
QB Jacoby Brissett: 25/40 319 yards 1 TD 2 INT
RB Jordan Wilkins: 11 CAR 47 yards
WR Zach Pascal: 7 REC 10 TGTS 109 yards
TE Jack Doyle: 6 REC 63 yards 1 TD
LB Anthony Walker: 12 TOT 8 SOLO 1 SACK
LB Darius Leonard: 11 TOT 5 SOLO 2 SACK 1 TFL
Rushing yards: 82
Passing yards: 309
Total yards: 391
Interceptions (thrown): 2
Time of Possession: 32:31
For most of the game, it appeared that the Colts dominated both offensively and defensively despite never taking a big lead. Amazingly, the Titans trailed by more than 3 only once and it lasted just 5 minutes. Luckily, the Titans began to play better in the second half as they almost always do.
Things that went well during the game:
1. Running the Ball
Derrick Henry ran for 149 yards and he was dominant. Henry became just the 5th player in NFL history to rush for 145 or more yards and score one touchdown in 3 consecutive games. When I previewed this game, my biggest key was running the ball with Henry. Henry ran very well and it was good to see that the Titans did not abandon the run despite their slow offensive start. On Henry's touchdown, he made a great effort to get away from the defender and did well to get outside on 4th an 1.
2. Special Teams
The Titans Special Teams were extremely important against the Colts. Ryan Succop was 1/1 on Field Goals and 4/4 on Extra points and newly acquired kicker, Ryan Santoso, did well on kickoffs. Brett Kern had another outstanding game but the most important part of the Special Teams' performance on Sunday was the defensive field goal unit. Just prior to the end of the first quarter, Austin Johnson blocked a 53 yard field goal attempt by Adam Vinatieri. The biggest play was made by Dane Cruikshank and Tye Smith. As I mentioned earlier, Cruikshank blocked a Field Goal attempt that would've given the Colts the lead with 5 minutes left. Tye Smith made a great play to catch the blocked field goal and return it for a touchdown.
Things that did not go well:
1. Injuries and Secondary
Injuries aren't something that anyone can control but the Titans lost Adoree Jackson to a knee injury in the first half of Sunday's game. The Titans were already thin at CB after the replacement for Malcom Butler, LeShaun Sims, was ruled OUT for the game. Tye Smith got the start at CB in place of Sims but the Titans were forced to play undrafted rookie Kareem Orr at CB. As a result of the injuries, the secondary had a pretty rough first half. Brissett was not pressured enough in the first half which gave him far too much time to throw. Smith and Orr played well enough against the Colts but they will need to step up when they play Deshaun Watson, Deandre Hopkins, and Will Fuller.
2. Offensive Line Through the first couple weeks of the season, up until Tannehill took over at QB, many people were very upset about the offensive line. The line has greatly improved their play since then but they did not play great against the Colts. The Colts totaled 6 sacks and many more QB pressures. Center, Ben Jones, appeared to struggle against the inside blitz in the first half. Both tackles had a pretty decent game but the line as a whole didn't play well enough. Tannehill did not really help the line out either, holding the ball too long on many occasions.
Early in the first quarter, it looked like the Titans were going to get blown out. The first play of the game was a pitch to Derrick Henry which he fumbled after running a few yards. The Colts scored a touchdown and on the next offensive drive, the Titans fumbled the ball again.
Tannehill had a good game but nearly made some very costly mistakes. Tannehill now has 6 fumbles in 6 games for the Titans which is a bit concerning, but he has done well not throwing interceptions. There were 2 throws that come to mind where Tannehill put the receiver in a bad situation where they would likely be hit right after catching the ball. I did not like that the Titans took no deep shots and I can think of no passes that traveled over 20 yards. The worst part about Tannehill's performance was his indecision with the ball. There were too many occasions where Tannehill did not let go of the ball, even when he had an open receiver. This hesitation was the cause of a few of the sacks. Despite mistakes, Tannehill played another solid game and finished it off with a fantastic touchdown pass to Kalif Raymond.
At 7-5 (2-2), the Titans are in a good position. Next week's opponent is the Raiders who were embarrassed by the Jets in Week 12 and lost to the Chiefs badly on Sunday. After the Raiders, the Titans play the Texans at home, the Saints at home, and the Texans away. The end of the season is pretty tough and a win over the Raiders would obviously be very helpful. The most important games will be against the Texans games but any win is helpful at this point.
Since Ryan Tannehill took over at Quarterback, this team has looked completely different. Derrick Henry has shown why he is one of the best players in the league and the offense has begun to click. I feel good about the Titans heading into the final weeks of the season and it will be interesting to see how everything unfolds.