With the start of a new work week comes the healing from the Titans brutal loss to the Shaun Hill-led Minnesota Vikings. While we will begin to focus on the Detroit Lions, our week two opponents, closure for week one is needed before we can move on. Here are a few things to consider about our week one loss.
The defense was really good
Two Titans made the Pro Football Focus “team of the week”, and it’s no surprise that they happen to be our two best defensive players. Jurrell Casey and Derrick Morgan were stellar on Sunday, limiting Adrian Peterson to 31 yards on 19 carries while providing pressure on Hill. The defense, as a whole, was very good. The “big” plays that they gave up through the air were due to Stefon Diggs’ playmaking ability.
The Vikings didn’t score an offensive touchdown and were it not for our offense’s ineptitude, they would have only scored twelve points. I understand they played against Hill, but I was impressed with the defense and hope they can get another solid performance against a much tougher opponent next week.
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Marcus Mariota was not really good
I won’t act like PFF is the be-all, end-all for performance analysis, but their grading process is legitimate and it is a good tool to use in addition to our own eyes. Mariota did not have a good game, and PFF actually had him on their “worst team of the week“. I wouldn’t say he was dreadful, but his interception that led to a Vikings defensive touchdown should never have been thrown (or at least thrown out in front of the receiver) and he also had a different interception offset by a penalty. In addition, a botched exchange with DeMarco Murray led to another turnover.
Stalled drives by the offense were killer for the Titans in this game, and a lot of that can be attributed to Mariota’s inconsistent performance. There will be much better days, so don’t lose hope on our budding star quarterback just yet Titans fans.
Exotic smashmouth was not the answer
I don’t want to be too reactionary after just one week, but I wasn’t totally on board with the Titans offensive gameplan (at least for this game). The Vikings front seven was always going to be tough to penetrate. Although Murray had some success, the running game dominance that we saw in the preseason was nowhere to be found. Derrick Henry racked up just three yards on five carries as the Titans line couldn’t open up many holes. Regardless of that fact, Mike Mularkey kept trying the running game in short yardage situations.
Tajae Sharpe and Delanie Walker have proven to be very dependable third-down options and should have been targeted in those situations instead. About Walker, I have no idea why he wasn’t a bigger part of the game plan. Same goes with Rishard Matthews, considering the Vikings were missing top cornerback Xavier Rhodes.