In what was truly an up and down game for the Titans, the team overcame injuries, self-inflicted mistakes, and a deficit to win what seemed like at least a moral must-win game.
Pass protection: If there was a game that really showcased the drop-off from Taylor Lewan to Ty Sambrailo, it was this game. They might both have 11 letters in their names, but they are not the same caliber player.
Sambrailo got beat like a drum by Yannick Ngaokue for the second time this year, which helped fuel a poor passing game showing.
Injuries: This section needs very little introduction. Coming into the game, the Titans were without Jadeveon Clowney, Kenny Vaccaro, Taylor Lewan, Rodger Saffold, and Adoree Jackson. Ben Jones and Dennis Kelly are banged up.
On top of that, here’s a list of players who were injured and had to come out for at least a play on Sunday afternoon: Corey Davis, Ben Jones, Jayon Brown, Jonnu Smith, and Derrick Henry, Ty Sambrailo, A.J. Brown. After a couple years of solid injury luck, the Titans have been crushed by them this year.
Puzzling coaching decisions: Ben Jones went out for a play in the 3rd quarter, and the Titans, with Jamil Douglas in, ran a play with Derrick Henry lined up in shotgun as the wildcat QB. The snap went over Henry’s head and cost the Titans any chance at a touchdown on the drive.
In that situation, Douglas should never be asked to snap for a gadget play on his first snap at center. Absolutely inexcusable coaching decision by a staff that has made quite a few poor decisions in recent weeks.
Breon Borders: Early in the game, Borders had a nice pass breakup. Overall he has been solid since replacing Johnathan Joseph on the defense. If Adoree comes back, the Titans should be in solid shape at cornerback.
Amani Hooker: Yes, he gave up a touchdown to Mark Andrews, but he was pretty good outside of that. An interception in the 3rd quarter kept the Titans in the game as did a pass break up in the endzone.
A.J. Brown: In the last few weeks, the Titans’ star wide receiver has caught himself a case of the dropsies. I am not sure what happened, but he needs to get it fixed, and quickly. The Titans need him to be at his best going forward.
Good news is that in the 4th quarter, the Titans got the best version of A.J. He broke tackles, used his incredible yards-after-catch ability, and scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the game.
The defense: Was it perfect? Absolutely not. However, the defense got stops when it really mattered. Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons both were studs (again), and Will Compton filled in pretty well for Jayon Brown.
This was probably the best performance for the defense outside of the Bills game (beating Nick Foles doesn’t count). Let’s see if they can build on it when they play the Colts in a week.
Mike Vrabel’s odds of winning a coaches fight club: John Harbaugh tried to instigate a fight pre-game, and Vrabel was having none of it. Post-game, Harbaugh waived Vrabel off of the handshake. If coaches fight island ever becomes a reality, I want a front row ticket for this matchup.