It was great to see Julio Jones play a full game without any injury concerns popping up, but the big news was that the Tennessee Titans got their WR1 back on Thursday.
This is not an article disrespecting Julio Jones, but even before the season, it should have been clear that Jones was coming in to be the Robin to A.J. Brown’s Batman (or the Ned to his Spider-Man if you are a Marvel fan).
Everyone (even Tennessee Titans fans) seem to forget just how important A.J. Brown is to this team. However, after a series of “A.J. Brown is more important than Derrick Henry” articles popped up, people had all eyes on the third-year receiver from Ole Miss.
He didn’t disappoint.
His statline was impressive with 11 receptions for 145 receiving yards and a touchdown, but somehow that doesn’t accurately describe his impact on the game. You could see the change as soon as he caught his first pass, the offense just looked a little looser and a little less frantic.
After a boatload of 3rd down conversions from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown, the Tennessee Titans got the win and are now in a two-team race with the Kansas City Chiefs for the #1 seed in the AFC.
Tennessee Titans fans shouldn’t be surprised
In retrospect, it shouldn’t have been any surprise that Brown was a gamechanger. If you exclude the first Indianapolis Colts game where he only played 8 snaps, Brown has only really played in 10 games this season. That is why it is even more impressive that he went over 90 yards for the fourth time this season in the win vs the San Francisco 49ers.
Speaking of stacking incredible performances, against all odds there is a chance that A.J. Brown could post his third consecutive 1,000-yard season, continuing a streak that he started as a rookie.
He would need 120 yards per game in each of the last two contests, but he reminded everyone on Thursday Night that those numbers aren’t that difficult for him to post when he gets double-digit targets.
Not to look too far ahead, but if he does post a third consecutive 1,000-yard season, he will only be the 7th player since the merger, to do that to start his career. The other six names?
-Randy Moss (Hall of Fame)
-John Jefferson (2x All-Pro)
-Michael Thomas (2x All-Pro)
-A.J. Green (7x Pro-Bowl)
-Mike Evans (3x Pro-Bowl)
-Odell Beckham (3x Pro-Bowl)
That is an elite group of players to call your peers, especially when you consider how few receptions he has needed to get close to that mark.
In the next week or so, the Tennessee Titans could get Derrick Henry back into the fold. If this group can stay healthy and actually have their starters in place, this could be the same offense that was looking dangerous around the middle of the year.
Not only that, but they could play opposite a defense that looks hungrier and more talented than they have in a long time. Tennessee Titans fans should be very excited to see what is next.