After the Buffalo Bills throttled the Kansas City Chiefs in front of a national audience, the world has taken notice of Josh Allen’s team. Now the Tennessee Titans are tasked with proving that they aren’t just a speed bump on the way to the playoffs.
Luckily, there does seem to be a trick up Shane Bowen’s sleeve. The Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator briefly showed a defense that could be especially helpful against the Bills.
Early in the Jacksonville Jaguars game, the Tennessee Titans used a dime defense that didn’t look familiar.
It was 3rd and 10 and the Jacksonville Jaguars lined up with Trevor Lawrence flanked by a running back and with a tight end split out to the right (so basically a four-wide receiver set). The Titans countered this by having a traditional four-man front and David Long behind them.
On the outside, the Titans had Jackrabbit Jenkins and Kristian Fulton, and safeties Cruikshank and Kevin Byard were playing deep behind them.
The creative change was that the Titans chose to line up Chris Jackson against the slot receiver, while rookie Elijah Molden splitting the difference between the right tackle and the tight end. Molden acted as an overhang defender on the play and basically filled the role of a coverage linebacker.
This was the play where Molden forced the fumble and Kevin Byard returned it for a Titans’ touchdown.
Why this is key for the Tennessee Titans this week.
This is crucial for the Titans’ Week 6 matchup against Buffalo because of what the Bills like to do on offense.
So far this year, the Buffalo Bills have run more offensive plays with five wide receivers, than anyone else in the NFL. On top of that, only the Arizona Cardinals have run more plays with four wide receivers.
That means that the Bills are going to force you to put your defensive backs on the field as often as they can.
Buffalo is filled with dynamic weapons, but if Elijah Molden can make Dawson Knox’s day difficult with tight coverage and heavy hits, then it would be a great first step in stopping that offense. This grouping also gets Chris Jackson on the field and he is someone with the athletic ability to contend with the quick-twitch movements that Cole Beasley brings to the table.
Now, this defense may only be on the field for a dozen plays, but those are a dozen plays that the Tennessee Titans couldn’t contend with last year. This keeps Avery Williamson/Rashaan Evans out of situations where they are schemed into covering guys like Dawson Knox or Cole Beasley.
If the Titans can score points like they have all season, then they can hang with any team in the NFL, including the Buffalo Bills. In tight games, 10-12 plays can make all the difference and a forced fumble by Molden could mean a Titans’ win just like a blown coverage by Rashaan Evans could mean another strong win for the Bills.