Defense Is The New Offense
It’s entirely possible that the fable of Arthur doesn’t reach the ultimate happy ending. In the cruelest twist of fate, just as the Tennessee Titans offense has unlocked all new potential, the defense has regressed past the point of recognition. It could be the difference between Tennessee being a fun playoff team and a real-deal Super Bowl contender.
The two groups have swapped roles. The Titans’ offense, long the liability of the franchise, is now the side of the ball dragging their lagging defense to success. It’s a Tennessee defense that can’t get opposing offenses off the field, ranking dead last in third-down defense and allowing teams to convert on over half of their attempts. It’s a defense that can’t for the life of them get to the opposing quarterback, also ranking last in total sacks with just 15 in as many games.
The more you dig, the worse it gets for Tennessee. Giving up the second-most passing touchdowns, the ninth highest quarterback rating, the tenth most points allowed, and are a bottom-five group in defensive DVOA. They’re a team with numbers that look an awful lot like, well, like the Titans offense from any year between 2005 and 2018. Bottomed out, being carried by a much stronger group.
And that is where the Tennessee Titans find themselves in 2020, with just one game left to go in the regular season. One group performing at an elite level, the other often failing to hold up their end of the bargain. Only this time around, the roles have been reversed. In the span of one offseason, the Titans offense has managed to hit new heights– while the defense has collapsed entirely.
The Titans find themselves in uncharted territory, but even still, in a situation that feels all too familiar. A disappointing effort from one side of the ball could be the downfall of the team as a whole, despite an offense that props up the trouble spots that line the roster. With potentially just one final year of Arthur’s magic on offense– the Tennessee Titans might have put themselves on a fast track to throw it all away.