Tennessee Titans thrilling offense sets tone against Detroit Lions

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) celebrates as he runs off the field after the win over the Detroit Lions at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.Gw44630
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) celebrates as he runs off the field after the win over the Detroit Lions at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.Gw44630 /

Titans win over Lions makes them the NFL’s top offense.

The Tenessee Titans started the game like they usually have when Arthur Smith is calling the plays on offense, and by that I mean they methodically moved down the field and scored a touchdown.

After the Tennessee Titans opened up with a 12-play, 6:20 touchdown drive that featured nearly every weapon in this offense besides Davis, the fourth-year receiver showed off his improved route running to heave in a Ryan Tannehill bomb for a 75-yard touchdown on the team’s thirteenth offensive play.

The first two drives were a microcosm of the Titans offense, as Art Smith showed off his knack for calling a balanced game that can either lull you to sleep or explode at any moment. They’ll chip away at you with their workhorse in Derrick Henry, but the most painful damage comes from when Tannehill gets the ball to a guy like Davis, AJ Brown, or Jonnu Smith in space.

The Tennessee Titans offense is on autopilot at this point. To the tune of averaging a league-leading 31.1 points per game.

And how sweet it is. As a fan who remembers the years of watching Vince Young and Jake Locker laboriously try to push the ball down the field to Brandon Jones and Justin Hunter, the difference in skill, physicality, and execution from this Titans group is palpable.

Ryan Tannehill is playing with franchise quarterback confidence. Corey Davis and AJ Brown are accounting for every wide receiver draft sin made by this team in the past 15 years. Jonnu Smith, dubbed a “mini” Delanie Walker, might be more physical and skilled than his predecessor. The offensive line is deep, disciplined, and stout. Derrick Henry is an all-time great.

And Art Smith finds himself pushing the right buttons at the right times. With the score 24-18 and the Titans offense cooled off from their hot start, they faced a 3rd-and-11 from their own 16. A punt would’ve given the Lions the ball with an opportunity to take the lead.

No worries. A familiar sight, Tannehill calmly hit Anthony Firkser in the seam for a 20-yard completion.


Even with all the fireworks and fanfare, the scariest part of the Titans offense is their ability to get production from anywhere and anyone. While Jonnu Smith and Adam Humphries (two important chain movers) have nursed injuries this year, players like Firkser, MyCole Pruitt, and Geoff Swaim have jumped in comfortable and confidently.

Rookie Darrynton Evans, finally returned from a hamstring injury that has cost him most of his season. He limited time as a kick returner and a rotational back, he showed off his soft hands, vision, and acceleration, and his quickness and receiving ability out of the backfield is one of the few things that this offense lacked.

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The Titans have historically benefitted from strong defenses carrying mediocre offenses. With the opposite being now true, I implore fans to sit back and enjoy the show.

Because this defense is bad. Bad like they still cannot rush the passer or get off the field on third-down, bad. Or, haven’t recorded a sack in 3 games, bad. Or even, it will likely — inevitably — cause this team from missing out on winning a Super Bowl, bad.

And it’s a shame. Because that’s how good this offense is. A clichéd well-oiled machine that can keep pace with any team in the league. Heck, they currently set the pace.

So for those that remember, supported, and watched guys like Rusty Smith, Paul Williams, and Taylor Thompson, this is what a real offense looks like. This is what proper play-calling and preparation can do for a team. This is what drafting for production and skill, rather than raw talent and measurables, brings to a team.

We’ve witnessed it elsewhere over the years, but certainly never in Nashville. It’s certainly not easy to build, but boy is it something to behold.