The Tennessee Titans defense had a field day this past Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Titans came out victorious in the game, 16-9. Their defense only gave up a late score with around a minute-and-a-half left.
It’s worth noting that the Steelers scoring drive was mostly the Titans playing prevent defense. It took Pittsburgh four attempts to punch it in from around the five-yard-line. The Titans defense came away with two turnovers and five sacks. Ben Roethlisberger had nowhere to go with the football.
Almost every Titans defender played well. But was this because of a terrible offense with a depleted offensive line? Or did the Titans just make the Steelers look like a terrible offensive team?
The answer is the Steelers just are not a good offensive team. They were missing their top tight end in Heath Miller and played without running back Le’Veon Bell. More importantly, Maurkice Pouncey went down early. It’s safe to say Pouncey is their best offensive lineman.
But you must give credit when it’s due. The Titans beat up on the offense all game, shut down the run game and came away with a victory.
But now it’s time for a true test: the Houston Texans.
The Texans feature one of the NFL’s most dangerous offenses, possibly the best running back tandem in Arian Foster and Ben Tate, and arguably the best offensive line in football. The Texans thrive off running the football successfully, controlling the clock and putting points on the board via play-action passes.
The Titans are a team that wants to shape their offense into the Texans’ style. Run first, throw the ball to keep the chains moving and keep the clock ticking. Unfortunately, the Titans defense and quarterback situation has not proven it can transform into the Texans. The Titans will have to deal with two tight ends in this game. Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham caught all three of Matt Schaub‘s touchdown passes against the San Diego Chargers this past Monday.
The Titans must prove they can cover the tight ends and contain them. The Texans have one of the best screen-game attacks in the league. If the Titans can shut down the run and contain the screen game, it will be up to Schaub to beat them with his arm. The key thing in this game is stopping the third-down attempts by the Texans as they will be looking to throw to the flats and to the running backs when Schaub is under pressure.
If the Titans win, the league must take notice and start giving this team some attention. This is a very important game and the Texans will be playing full of momentum at Reliant Stadium in their home-opener. Let’s see how aggressive Jerry Gray and Gregg Williams will be against this team. The defense played much more physical against the Steelers. It’s time to play even more physical against the rival Texans.
Keys to winning this game will be getting turnovers and capitalizing on them. It’s time for Jake Locker to put points on the board in clutch situations. They will not win this game with field goals. Hopefully, Dowell Loggains has some stuff in the playbook he didn’t showcase in Pittsburgh. The Titans must score at least 21 points to win this game.
Let’s hope this defense can frustrate Schaub into making bad decisions and taking some interceptions to the house. The Titans may need some luck to win this game but we will have an idea of what this defense is truly made of after the clock hits zero.