This past weekend the Tennessee Titans soundly defeated the Indianapolis Colts for the second time in three weeks and have a firm grip on the AFC South. Here is everything you need to know before the team heads into their third AFC South matchup.
If there is one thing we can count on, it’s consistency from Mike Vrabel’s Titans. The calling card of this team has been great defense and fundamentally sound offense, both were on display against the Colts.
The formula remains the same for the Titans, run the ball hard, increase the turnover differential, and play some of the meanest defense possible. They did all three last Sunday which led to their largest margin of victory of the season.
There is a culture of hard-nosed, win-at-all-costs football that Mike Vrabel and others within the organization have fostered and it works. The players know it, the fans know it, the Colts certainly know it, and Mike Vrabel has remained pointedly clear that this is who the Titans are and that the formula will remain the same.
There were highs, lows, and scary moments where fans had to hold their breath and see if cornerstone players Jeffery Simmons, Ben Jones, and Ryan Tannehill would be able to continue. All three key players fought through pain (Simmons and Tannehill: ankle; Jones: knee) and made big plays for the team when they needed to step up.
The Tennessee Titans offense was back to its bread and butter. Derrick Henry had 30 carries for 128 yards and finished the game with a 21-yard run to shut the door on the Colts. Henry not only looks a little stronger every time we see him play, but he also looks more confident with every carry.
Something to keep in mind: as the weather gets colder, Henry gets harder to tackle and that is huge for the Tennessee Titans offense.
Another group that can take pride in their game is the offensive line. They still do not look great, don’t get me wrong. They occasionally miss blocks or get completely steamrolled, but they have made some steps in the right direction.
Watch this play and tell me that you don’t feel at least a little better about what they can do.
Look, there are pass protection issues, but the offensive line carried Henry an extra five yards to a first down at the end of the game. Earlier in the season, they did not even look like they knew their assignments at times, if that is not progressing I don’t know what is.
Also, Austin Hooper emerged in the passing game and had three huge plays. There were rumblings in the last two weeks over the potential to trade Hooper but after this game, it is unlikely Hooper will be going anywhere.
Not much else to report on the offense, except this interesting stat: The Titans have been out-gained in all 6 of their games this season. Is this a trend that is sustainable?
There is a lot to celebrate for the defense. Bud Dupree made his return which sparked the defense into a huge day. Three sacks, three turnovers, a touchdown of their own, holding Taylor to less than 60 yards rushing, and a place in Matt Ryan’s nightmares for years to come.
Andrew Adams, the recent acquisition from Tamp Bay, and the perennial practice squad call-up, Terrance Mitchell, both created huge turnovers. Adams scored the Titan’s only touchdown on the day with his pick-six, and Mitchell effectively ended the game by punching the ball out of Michael Pittman’s hands.
There is not much more you can ask for. It was a terrific day all around for the defense, albeit, against a Colts offense that is searching for answers and who has just made the decision to bench Ryan in favor of Rookie Sam Ehlinger.
With the win, the Tennessee Titans move to 4-2 and are 2-0 in the division. They will play the Houston Texans on Sunday and see if they can extend their division win streak to five games including last season.