After scoring 44 points the last three games combined, the Tennessee Titans nearly matched that total when they hung a fortyburger on the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium Sunday. The thrilling 42-39 victory entertained the fans and ended a string of embarrassing streaks.
Most importantly, the victory offered a glimpse of what the future holds.
Tennessee had a strategic plan this offseason by loading up the defense with veteran free agents, and drafting young talent on offense to build around their rookie qb. With a plan like that, the Titans had to expect some ugly games and close losses.
And we’ve seen plenty of both this season.
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Sunday was the first time all season that Tennessee had their full compliment of rookie skill players healthy and active on offense, and not only did they not disappoint….they shined.
Marcus Mariota added to his Rookie of the Year resume by turning in a 380 yard, 4 touchdown performance. His electrifying 87 yard touchdown run gave him 112 on the day, making him the first qb in the history of the franchise to rush for over 100 yards in a game. Not Vince Young. Not the late great Steve McNair.
And yes, I triple checked because I couldn’t believe it myself.
Not to be outdone, rookie wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham made his own bit of history with 119 receiving yards…a career high for this year’s second round pick. DGB’s career long 47 yard touchdown reception showed the freakish size, strength, and athleticism that had scouts salivating, but it wasn’t the most impressive thing that he did Sunday.
A few drives earlier, Green-Beckham let a catchable ball go right through his hands, and it led to a momentum-stopping interception. A play like that would’ve caused DGB to mentally check out of the game early in the season, an encouraging sign of maturity.
Fifth round rookie running back David Cobb was brought in to supplant Bishop Sankey as the Titans’ lead back, but a myriad of injuries kept him out of action for the first nine games of the regular season. Cobb saw his most extensive action of the year Sunday, and looks to have regained his explosiveness. He ran with power and conviction, and showed flashes of what he can do when healthy.
Tennessee’s defense has been their calling card all season, but the team’s success is predicated on their offense. In their nine losses, the offense is averaging 14 points a game. In their three wins, the offense is averaging a whopping 39 points a game.
The key is consistency, something that the offense should develop over time. Sunday showed a glimpse of what this year’s rookie class can do when they are clicking on all cylinders together.
And it should have Titans fans excited for the future.