Happy turkey week to you and yours! There is a lot to be thankful for even in bad times, one of those things might be a recent Tennessee Titans win. Once again I’ve taken on the All 22 offense review from the esteemed Mike Herndon and combined it with my usual In the Trenches column.
The Titans were able to avoid falling to 6-4 and improved to 7-3 with their overtime win over the Ravens. Getting back on the winning track helps keep pace with the Indianapolis Colts, who beat Green Bay to maintain their status at the top of the division. This sets up quite an important game on Sunday.
Reviewing the Offense
Last week’s game started out chippy, and the Titans made it clear that they were not in Baltimore to play games. With Malcolm Butler leading the charge, the Titans made it clear from the Ravens shield that they packed their attitude for this road trip. Anyone else wanting to see a Mike Vrabel vs John Harbaugh cage match after that confrontation?
The defense started out hot, forcing a three-andout for the Ravens. This allowed the Titans offense to start their first drive fresh. In recent weeks, the defense has rarely provided these opportunities for the offense to take advantage of. It has also been frustrating seeing the offense not take advantage the few times that the defense has set them up. This was not the case this game, as the offense marched down the field to score the game’s first points – the first time in six games the Ravens allowed an opening drive score of any kind, field goal or touchdown. It’s a positive sign for the defense and the offense to start the game on the same page.
The positive start is even more impressive when considering Aaron Brewer was making his first career start in place of Rodger Saffold. Brewer played admirably in his first NFL experience. There were a few miscues, as can be expected, but this was a very good first start for the young player.
Another injury along the way was suffered by Ty Sambrailo, who left the game in the fourth quarter. David Quessenberry entered in relief for the two remaining drives of significance (there was a one-play kneel down as well). Quessenberry played well and should be the left tackle (unless there is another surprise move) for the next few games as Sambrailo was placed on IR.
It should be interesting to see what happens when Saffold comes back, but I am starting to lose my concern as the offense seems to be getting back on track just in time. I will look at the Whiteboard Reviews down below and talk about a few plays from the game. But I also wanted to include a few of the notes I took while going through the film.
- Nice wrinkle for Titans using Cam Batson in the wildcat to utilize his athletic ability.
- Sambrailo gave up pressure on Tannehill two plays in a row when Titans were 2nd and 10 from the Ravens 14, first on the dropped snap fumble and then allowing a pressure to force a quick throw on 3rd and 18, killing a positive drive.
- A.J. Brown just makes plays. We know about the 3rd-and-Game run to the end zone, but just three plays before that, Brown had a nice out route and forced four more missed tackles for a 25-yard gain.
- Corey Davis had a day. The receiving plays were there in large numbers (5 receptions for 113 yards) but he was also a big factor while blocking in the run game. Not to mention about 3-4 other pass plays where Davis was open, but so was the first read on the play. Also motioned him in the tackle box to help with blocking, this helped set up out-breaking routes later in the game.
- 11:51 in the 1st — Brewer pancake off of a double team with Sambrailo. Really good seeing the young lineman making these type of plays in his first significant action.
- The Titans struggle executing screen plays — one play was blown up to Derrick Henry and then another to Jeremy McNichols later in the game.
- Interesting play with back up center Jamil Douglas coming in and shotgun snapping to Derrick Henry in the wild-king. Snap was a tad high, a normal quarterback should have been able to handle it, but that’s a lot of questionable to have the backup take his first snap to a non-quarterback.
- This was also a shame as a few plays earlier the offense had really started to get rolling, with Brown making a tough catch for 12 yards, and Davis following that up with a 50-yard catch-and-run on the next play.
- 1:08 in the 3rd (wrong way, Nate) — Nate Davis steps the wrong way on a stretch play, leaving Wolfe unblocked by stepping into and cutting off Ben Jones. The duo should have been working double with Jones up to backer.
One of the strategies the Titans used early was to chip with a WR or TE to help the tackles against Baltimore’s pass rush. They also utilized run-block fakes and late leak outs.
Chips/Play Action Leak Out
- Cam Batson lines up tight, throws a chip block to help Kelly before releasing into the flat
- Ravens blitz from corner position over Batson, maybe designed all the way or triggered by receiver block
- Tannehill reads this as a hot and gets the ball to Batson with room to work down the field
- Later in that same drive, the Titans use Jonnu Smith to chip the defensive end before releasing late across the middle