The Tennessee Titans moved to 4-14 in their last 18 games on Sunday with a win over the lowly Carolina Panthers. While the result of the game probably hurts the Titans more than it helps them, there was some long-term good that came out of this win.
As we have talked about before, the only thing that matters this season is Will Levis and getting the best idea of how to support him and turn him into a franchise quarterback. I expected my first post-game article to be about Jaelyn Duncan and his day at left tackle, but after rewatching the game a few times I still don't know what to make of him.
Duncan was sloppy with his hands and his feet, but because of the level of talent he was facing he got away with it aside from a handful of rough snaps against Brian Burns. He needs to play faster and clean things up, but those things can get better with more experience and a better offensive line coach.
Instead of focusing on someone who is still a complete wildcard like Duncan, let's talk about Chig Okonkwo.
Chig is starting to make the most of his opportunities with the Tennessee Titans
In the last year, fans have gone from thinking that Okonkwo was going to be a Pro Bowl candidate this year to thinking that he might be quickly heading for the bench. In reality, Sunday's game against the Panthers was a great example of what the Tennessee Titans should hope that Chig eventually is.
While he didn't have 8 catches for 100 yards or anything crazy like that, he had a really nice day without a single drop. He had an explosive play down the sideline on a ball that Levis threw as he was getting hit by Burns (one of Duncan's rough snaps), and he nearly had a touchdown but the officials spotted it at the 1-yard line.
Later in the game, the Tennessee Titans knocked in a field goal after a quick two-minute drill. One of the crucial plays in that drive was Levis throwing the ball to Okonkwo who took the ball from the middle of the field to the sideline and got out of bounds, which kept the drive alive considering the Titans were out of time-outs.
Interestingly enough, 3 of Chig Okonkwo's 4 catches came almost immediately before points. The explosive play led to a touchdown two plays later, the catch and run happened two plays before a field goal, and he caught a shovel pass on a two-play drive where Derrick Henry ran it in on the next play.
Considering that the Titans only scored 17 points, that means that Chig had a reception on every scoring drive of the game.
While Chig's future has been in flux for the fan base, it seems like the Titans coaching staff still have a lot of confidence in him and it is starting to pay off. The opportunity has been there for Chig all season, and since Will Levis took over at quarterback, DeAndre Hopkins has been the only Titans player with more targets than Chig.
Even though it has been a disappointing season for Chig, he still has a chance to finish the season strong. Let's see if the Tennessee Titans can build on this because right now every job is up for grabs in 2024 from head coach to long snapper.
Offensively, DeAndre Hopkins is the clear star of the group next season and Levis has to be the starter at quarterback, but if you can see consistency from guys like Chig Okonkwo, Kyle Philips (check the numbers), and Tyjae Spears, it eases the offseason burden on whoever is making the moves for the Titans after this year.