Franchise quarterback or fluke, breaking down Will Levis's debut

Atlanta Falcons v Tennessee Titans
Atlanta Falcons v Tennessee Titans / Justin Ford/GettyImages
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1st half breakdown

After not passing the ball at all on his first drive, Tennessee eased Levis into the passing game on drive two, giving him a designed dump-off to Tyjae Spears for minimal gain, and a three-yard connection with Chig Okonkwo that fell just short of the chains on 3rd and 4.

Although Levis faced some criticism from fans for checking down short of the sticks on third down, it was actually a great play from the rookie. With Hopkins not open initially, Levis patiently hitched up in the pocket and moved to his second read on the play, giving one of his playmakers a chance to make a play. This kind of poise is great to see from such an inexperienced player.

After the fake punt was converted for a first down, Levis immediately fired a strike downfield to Treylon Burks on the right sideline that was knocked away by the defender at the last minute. It was easily one of the most impressive plays of the day by Levis and demonstrated his ability to throw passes while off-platform which made him so successful in college.

On just the fourth play of the very next drive, Levis uncorked a 47-yard bomb to Deandre Hopkins for his first career touchdown and Hopkins’ first of the season. Most of the controversy on this play came from Hopkins’ hand-fighting with Falcons’ star corner A.J. Terrell, which did not result in an OPI call.

Levis perfectly led Hopkins upfield while giving his best receiver a chance to come down with a contested ball. It's also notable that Levis again pump-faked while looking over the middle, causing the corner to bite on the underneath play. Another great play by Levis to show chemistry and trust with his best weapon despite such a limited amount of reps.

Facing 3rd and 3 on the subsequent drive, Levis dialed up another deep pass, this time down the left sideline that was hauled in by Burks, but he couldn’t get his feet in bounds. Despite the fact that this was possibly catchable by Burks, this is probably Levis’s first miss of the day considering just how open Burks was on the play.

When Levis threw the ball, though, he likely didn’t expect Burks to get by his defender so easily and still showed good anticipation leading him ahead toward the sideline. Even though this one wasn’t caught, still not a bad play by the rookie.

After a fumble set up the Titans in Falcons territory, Levis hit Hopkins perfectly in stride who spun past a defender for the 16-yard score. Levis correctly identified zone coverage after the motion and got the ball to Hopkins who was being tailed by a linebacker over the middle. The ability to effectively recognize and execute off of matchup advantages is a skill that all high-level quarterbacks possess, so it's great to see Levis already using this in his game.