The Tennessee Titans’ offense isn’t where it needs to be yet, but they were dominant in the first half of their win against the Las Vegas Raiders.
While they turtled in the second half of that game, it is important to remember what they did well in the first half that made them so effective. How effective were they? Well, in the first half they put up more points than the Arizona Cardinals offense did in five quarters of football, and as many points as the L.A. Chargers did in their game against the Raiders.
So the big question is, can the Tennessee Titans do it again?
Like everything with this team, it isn’t a question of whether or not it can be replicated it is whether the coaching staff is paying attention and realizes what is working.
Tennessee Titans fed the right players early
Simply put, the Tennessee Titans were successful early because they were aggressive and focused on getting the ball to the right players.
Derrick Henry is a lightning rod right now because some fans are completely done with the team’s run-first identity and he is the face of that. After a 1.5-yard-per-attempt average against the Buffalo Bills, the idea of feeding him 30 times a game was a legitimate concern.
That was until the Titans proved that they could feed him intelligently. In the first half, the Titans pulled Nate Davis and used Tory Carter to create a numbers advantage and rushing lanes for the future Hall of Famer.
While he didn’t rip off any 40+ yard touchdowns, he was much more consistent and he started to run behind his pads with confidence again which is huge.
Another player who showed out in the first half was Robert Woods who finished the first two quarters with 4 receptions for 85 yards. Woods had a 40+ yard catch and run early in the game and later followed it up with a 20+ yard catch on the sideline.
The chemistry between Woods and Tannehill is clearly there and even though there are some things they need to clean up (like the miscommunication on the interception later in the game), this should be a tandem that puts up an explosive play or two in every single game.
Two other players made subtle contributions that need to be talked about. On a 3rd and 10 on the first drive, Austin Hooper helped chip Chandler Jones before leaking to the flat and moving the chains.
Treylon Burks also had a 12-yard reception and a 9-yard run that set up big plays. The catch set up Derrick Henry’s first touchdown of the season and the run set up another big run from El Tractorcito.
I’m sure they are nice guys, but Cody Hollister and Geoff Swaim wouldn’t see the field in an ideal world. They tip off defenses that it is going to be a run, and if it isn’t a run they don’t really have the athletic ability to punish the defense for cheating the play.
Lean into play action, deceptive formations, “transcontinental” deep passes, and having your best weapons on the field will always be what drives an offense that is so run-heavy. The more they stray from that, the worse they will be and it is up to Todd Downing and Tim Kelly to make sure that they remember who they are.