That’s a little more like it. The Titans seem to have cleaned up the miscues from a couple weeks ago, putting together a strong showing in all facets of the offense. The run game looked clean all day, especially on plays that did not look to gain much. Those 3-6 yard gains are not exciting, but they help keep the Titans offense on schedule. They are dangerous when they can accomplish this
The pass game needs some love as well. Ryan Tannehill was sharp and decisive on the day. The routes were clean and tough, as well. A.J. Brown and Corey Davis are a strong duo that any team should count themselves lucky to have. When this line gives Tannehill time, this group can shred defenses.
I would also like to mention the contributions of Geoff Swaim. In the passing game, Swaim chipped in with 3 catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. Where he has been the most effective has been in the run game. Used as a blocker in multiple ways, the free agent pick-up is a consistent source of positive plays when he is in the game. Nothing flashy, but just does his job. Great addition this year by the Titans that should not be overlooked.
While the offense was rolling, a continuing theme seems to be that when they get stopped, it is largely thanks to their own errors. For example, on the third drive of the game, the Titans were rolling, averaging 5-6 yards a rush and completing passes for first downs. The drive that started on their own 25 seemed to stall out once they got to Jacksonville’s 9-yard line. The Titans came away with no points even though it was an impressive drive. So what happened? It was 3 bad plays out of 4 in the red zone.
- On the first play, David Quessenberry gets walked back straight into Tannehill for an easy sack, losing seven yards.
- The next play is a completed pass, but Tannehill was rushed due to Quessenberry slipping while trying to cut down the defensive end. Tannehill also took a hit during the play, never a good thing.
- The third play was successful, finding a 10-yard gain to Corey Davis, but the only problem was that he was stopped two yards short of the first down. The Titans go for it on 4th and 2 but Jeremy McNichols can’t convert. McNichols? Why not Henry? The answer is simple, the Titans were in 3rd and long (a common situation for McNichols to be in the game for) and then went hurry up to try and catch the Jaguars off-guard. Blocking was not great, so I am not sure if Henry makes it either, but I would have liked to see him try.
I do not hate the 4th down attempt. I don’t love the play call, but I am all for the Titans going for it and trying to put extra pressure on other defenses. It is very frustrating to see it when other offenses do the same thing to the Titans defense. This pointless trip is only magnified by Corey Davis’s fumble on the very next drive. Titans are a playoff team, but the goal is the Super Bowl. These back-to-back duds can not continue.
Last thought before getting into the notes and whiteboard reviews. Aaron Brewer got in for a few series at the end of this game. I like what I am seeing from the scrappy rookie in his limited time. Good to know that apparently there are plenty of competent backups along the line for the Titans.
Lets take a closer look at some of the plays that contributed to the Titans runaway win. But first, a look at some of my other notes outside of the review section (once again, these notes might be on my twitter feed @RyanOnBroadway).
- 9:08 1Q – Not a breakdown worthy play but I absolutely love the mindset and savvy on the first Titans offensive snap of the game. Hard count by Tannehill to draw the defender into the neutral zone. Ben Jones being the smart and savvy vet that he is just reaches out and taps the defender to draw the flag. Minimal effort for the penalty.
- 5:46 1Q – Toss play has been working well for the Titans recently. Titans line up in a bunch set with even numbers on both sides, Swaim motions over from right to left to give Titans numbers on the left side. Lots of good blocks here on this play, but wanted to highlight three. Brown gets a great down-block, flattening out and setting the edge for this play. Swaim has a one-on-one with a defensive back, but he does a great job of maintaining the block at the point of attack, then drives the defender 10 yards out of the play. Quessenberry shows some athleticism by getting out on the edge and attacks the first defender to show up outside of the box, throwing a cut block at the feet of the linebacker and knocking him down and out of the play.
- 1:43 1Q – Screen pay that worked, sort of. Great play timing on first down after change of possession. Jacksonville bites on the play action and are deep covering wide receivers. Jonnu Smith does a good job of releasing hard to the route then breaking down to block on the edge. The line is suppose to sell the run/pass blocking then release into the alley (area where the screen is suppose to hit and blocking targets appear). Rodger Saffold sells the double-team look, then releases up to backer, he was called for holding on this play and I was not able to find an angle that showed the holding (I also did not look too hard). Henry is able to get clear, then makes a clean catch before getting upfield for a nice gain. Jones gets upfield to throw a cut block at a defender. Quessenberry is staying home to give Tannehill time and clear the area for Henry to be open. It’s been a rough season for the Titans’ screen game, hopefully this is a sign of things turning the corner.
- 13:19 2Q – Brown is running a deep comeback on the outside and is one-on-one with the corner. Brown is special in these moments when you break down how he uses his body. With his right arm at the top of the route, he knocks away the arm of the defender, at the same time he is also rounding off his route in a way to cut off the corner and get him on his back. Brown knows where this ball is going and is giving his quarterback natural space to deliver the pass. With the defender now on his back, Brown sharply cuts his route towards the ball, eliminating any chance for the corner to break up the pass. The line gives Tannehill ample time and pocket space — when they do that, it is hard to beat this quarterback and these receivers. Side note, I love finding Daren Bates after plays and seeing him either hyping up his teammates or giving opposing teams the business. He brings some extra spice that fits in well on this team.
- 10:28 3Q – After dominating the Jaguars on the ground, the Titans went back to the air, using play action again to their advantage. Two-man route where both options were wide open thanks to the play action fake. Brown however uses the action to his advantage. Brown stalls at the top of the route before his break and flashes like he is blocking. As soon as the corner settles his feet, Brown then accelerates through his break on an in route and is wide open. Great example of how smart Brown is in his route mechanics and using speed variations to his advantage.
White Board Reviews:
- 8:07 1Q – Let’s talk about flea flickers. The intention of this play is pretty obvious, it is a shot play meant to catch the defense off-guard. Lets take a look at the subtleties that made it work perfectly.
- First the Titans motion MyCole Pruitt from the right side of the line to the left
- This gives the Titans an unbalanced look that the Jaguars adjust to
- It also frees up Brown to be matched up one-on-one on the right side
- Second, Davis motions in to the tight look that the Titans have done a good job running and throwing out of
- This brings the Jaguars in tight as well and really alerts the defense to the left side of the line, further singling Brown on the backside.
- Davis then runs his route at the single high safety making sure to grab his attention and not get involved in the route with Brown (he is also an option in case the Jaguars are over the top of all other routes)
- Batson is also running a delayed release seam but is well covered (the intention was to get this ball near the end zone)
- Third, the window dressing…
- Henry takes the hand off and gets far enough into the line to pull the backers and stall coverage a hair
- This allows Brown to gain a step on the corner as attention was drawn into the backfield
- Tannehill puts the throw out in front of Brown in a perfect spot, Brown slows up a bit and then has to accelerate to catch up to the throw but makes a fantastic one handed grab for the touchdown
- Tannehill looks at Batson first, he is well covered but the look off helps create extra space for Brown on the backside
- Not complaining but this would have been an easy catch if Brown did not stall slightly after restacking the corner
- First the Titans motion MyCole Pruitt from the right side of the line to the left
- 3:24 1Q – Pressure from the Jaguars