Titans vs Browns: Monday Game 2 Takeaways


If I had to describe the kind of day the Tennessee Titans had in the Dawg Pound on Sunday afternoon during their 28-14 week two loss to the Cleveland Browns, I would have to say too many turnovers, too many penalties, and too much Travis Benjamin.

But if I had to pick on one thing in this game that the Titans need to fix, it would be the running game. On both sides of the ball.

Early in the contest on offense, Marcus Mariota had to throw against a defense he was unsure of because the running game could not create friendly late down and distance situations, and the defense couldn’t stop the Browns from moving the chains.

What I was impressed with, was Marcus Mariota’s toughness.

The rookie quarterback was sacked seven times and hobbling on an obvious sore ankle after a first quarter sack where he lost his helmet and the football, and brought this team back to within one score of catching the Browns later in the game.

This is something that you didn’t see during the 2014, 2-14 season.

Marcus Mariota is the true leader on this team, and when he continued to come back like the “Energizer Bunny”, his team responded to move the ball on offense, and stopped the Browns until Johnny Manziel got loose and thew a second bomb to Travis Benjamin.

After seven sacks, three turnovers and nine penalties for 85 yards, the Tennessee Titans had a chance to tie the game up in the fourth quarter.

If you are a Titans fan, you had to like the fight to the end mentality and you can credit that to your franchise quarterback.

In the Around the NFL report at NFL.com, the analysts pointed out that after Mariota took advantage of the Buccaneers “Soft Zone” scheme last week, he couldn’t solve the “man to man” scheme he saw in Cleveland that included a bump-and-run coverage.

I’m not sure I totally agree with the report, but think if the offensive line and the run-game could have bought him some more time, he might have figured it out.

I do agree with their assessment that Marcus Mariota does need more talent around him and he does need to learn how to protect the football while he runs for his life.

Although Mariota threw a pick , it was called back because of a penalty. That leaves him with six touchdowns on the new season with no interceptions.

Even in defeat, there were some real positive things that came out of this game:

  • Dexter McCluster stepped up when the running game was going nowhere and tacked up 10 carries for 98 yards and a 9.8 YPC average.
  • Marcus Mariota hit eleven different receivers for 257 yards for two touchdowns and finished the game with a 96.3 passer rating after a 62.2 half-time rating.
  • Ken Whisenhunt found out what kind of Red-Zone monster he has in Dorial Green-Beckham when the rookie snagged his first NFL touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

When the Indianapolis Colts come to town next Sunday, they are not going to find the lay-down Titans of the past, but will need to prepare for a dog-fight in Nissan Stadium.

After the performance yesterday, you know they will be prepared to protect their home turf, and you can bet the farm on a couple of things. The Titans will give fans a good game to watch, and they won’t quit!

Next: Tennessee Titans Fall in the Dawg Pound 28-14

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