The Turning Point: Tennessee Titans Vs. Detroit Lions – Play Breakdown


Welcome to The Turning Point, where we’ll analyze the play that had the most impact on the course of the Tennessee Titans game. It may be a good play or bad play on any given week; either way we will break it down and see why it succeeded or failed, as well as the ramifications it had on the game moving forward. In case you’d like to revisit last week’s Turning Point, you may do so here.

The game against the Lions was a close one the whole way through. While we took an early lead, Detroit steadily mounted a comeback, eventually overtaking the lead in the fourth quarter. After a kick return for a touchdown to give the Titans a seven point lead late in the fourth, the following play happened.

You can see Detroit lined up in a basic 3 WR/1 TE Shotgun formation. Tennessee is playing a standard 4-3 defense (seemingly one of the only holdovers from the Jeff Fisher days), and as we did all game, our safeties are lined up literally 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

After a couple seconds of solid protection from the Lions offensive line, protection has started to break down, except for Wimbley who is getting beat. Derrick Morgan (who really is blossoming into quite a solid player this year) has made a move past the tackle and is a second or less away from a sack. Stafford, knowing he needs to get rid of the ball and seeing an opening, let’s it fly to Tight End Brandon Pettigrew.

As you can see, the pass is successful, putting Pettigrew past the 30, and putting the Lions in position to potentially tie this thing back up before the clock expires.

Verner, playing his position well and in line for the tackle, wraps up the offensive player and wrestles with him for the football, all while making sure the player is not going to escape for a first down or more.

Lo and behold, suddenly Pettigrew is on the ground and Verner is off to the races, ball in tact.

Verner would go into the end zone practically untouched, and this would put the Titans up by 14 with under 1:20 left to go. Now of course, we all know that Detroit through a series of great plays and great fortune managed to tie it on the very last play of regulation, but you have to know that the teams ability to score dramatically and make big plays when they needed to gave them the confidence to play with the heart and tenacity necessary to finish out the game with a win.

The Tennessee Titans won the game 44 – 41

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