Here’s some instant analysis of the Tennessee Titans’ hideous 27-23 Week 8 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Congratulations to the Tennessee Titans, as their Week 8 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was perhaps the ugliest victory in NFL history.
If you didn’t know the final score, you’d think this instant analysis would be the result of a losing effort. That’s how ugly this win was, but a win is a win so we’ll take it.
Let’s get this show on the road.
–Ryan Tannehill did not have a good game. His throws were not accurate and he held on to the ball for too long on multiple occasions. He did finish 21-of-33 for 193 yards and three touchdowns, but even those numbers don’t do justice for his poor showing. Two of those touchdown passes were gifts off of Bucs turnovers. I will say that Tannehill did come up big when the Titans needed him late, orchestrating a 90-yard drive that ended up resulting in the game-winning score.
–Jonnu Smith deserves all the credit in the world for his outstanding game. Smith was the only spark on offense for the Titans and consistently ripped off chunks of yards, even finding the end zone. He did a sensational job filling Delanie Walker’s shoes and deserves more looks moving forward, even when Walker returns.
-Derrick Henry averaged 4.7 yards per carry, but had a bad fumble after a solid gain that led to a go-ahead touchdown for the Bucs. He has to do a better job protecting the football.
-The biggest positive you can talk about with the Titans’ O-line was the run blocking, particularly with toss plays to Henry. The pass protection is still leaving a lot to be desired and Nate Davis is getting beat on the regular in both facets. The Titans dealt with some injuries upfront also, so we’ll have to monitor those as the week progresses. Rodger Saffold was one of those injuries and had to leave the game early and did not return.
-Mike Evans was roasting the Titans’ secondary all game long. Perhaps the most egregious blunder against him on the afternoon was when the Bucs had a third-and-17 and Evans got behind Tennessee’s defense for a big first down.
-Jameis Winston had way too much time to throw the football, which was part of the reason why Evans had such a big day. And, when the Titans did get pressure, they whiffed on multiple sacks to exacerbate their issues and allowed Winston to gain yards with his feet.
-The Titans defense did force four turnovers, but one was the result of a bad snap from the Bucs’ center, and two were on simply awful passes by Winston, and one of those passes was a desperation throw on the Bucs’ final drive. Thankfully for Tennessee, the offense was at least able to capitalize on two of those with touchdowns, and the third that happened late in the fourth quarter could have led to a field goal if not for a terrible decision by Mike Vrabel. More on that later.
-The Titans defense shined at the goal line. The Bucs were forced to kick two field goals from inside the Titans’ 10, which was huge considering how close the final score was. Tennessee’s defense also made an important stop on fourth-and-1 late in the fourth quarter with the Bucs in their territory.
-We got evil Arthur Smith back in Week 8. The Titans’ offensive coordinator fell back into predictable play-calling with the old, run, run, pass, and things of that nature. He is also criminally under-utilizing Corey Davis and A.J. Brown. It wasn’t until what turned out to be the Titans’ game-winning scoring drive in the fourth quarter did we see Tannehill use all of his weapons.
-The only thing worse than the predictability was some of the formations the Titans’ OC was using. On at least two occasions we saw this, as Smith ran a formation with Kalif Raymond and Anthony Firkser as the only pass-catchers on the field, and then later in the game ran an empty set with Derrick Henry and MyCole Pruitt as receivers. What the hell is this guy doing?
-Mike Vrabel made yet another blunder on fourth down. Late in the fourth quarter with the Titans clinging to a four-point lead and in field goal range, Vrabel decided to call for a FAKE FIELD GOAL RUN. WHY?! I could understand if Cody Parkey was having a rough day, but he wasn’t and had made both of his field goals, one of which was from 51 yards. That attempt would have been from about 46 yards out. Not to mention, Vrabel almost got Brett Kern killed. Awful, awful decision.
-Somehow, the Titans continuously allowed Mike Evans to beat them. Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees did not have a good game and allowed Evans to dominate the Titans’ corners one-on-one instead of doubling him. The Titans did do a good job adjusting late and finally held him in check down the stretch of the game.
-The Titans gave up the most points they have allowed in any game this season, although it didn’t help that the offense couldn’t sustain drives.