After what feels like an eternal offseason, the Titans will finally take the field to play football again… in just a few minutes.
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Let’s get ready for some football!
The Titans are on the field warming up now.
The Titans received the opening kickoff looking to pick up 2020 where they left off the 2019 season.
A couple of early penalties looked to halt the Titans first drive, but they were rescued by a 22-yard gain on a nifty screen to Jonnu Smith. The Broncos were stout against a pair of Henry runs and forced an incompletion on 3rd and 5. Titans moved to nearly midfield but had to bring out MVPunter Brett Kern, who pinned the Broncos at the 10.
On the Broncos first possession, Jadeveon Clowney was all over the field, making a pair of tackles and forcing a quick throw by Drew Lock. 7th-round rookie Chris Jackson started alongside Malcolm Butler and Johnathan Joseph. He had the coverage downfield on Jerry Jeudy and forced the incompletion with Amani Hooker over the top. Broncos punted.
On their next possession, the Titans continued working the play-action passing game, with Ryan Tannehill finding Corey Davis downfield for a couple of big completions after faking to Henry. They managed to drive down near the Broncos 30-yard line, but the kicking woes of the 2019 season reared their ugly head as new kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed his first attempt as a Titans from 47 yards out.
The Broncos took over and moved the ball a bit on the back of some nice completions from Lock. Clowney mixed in a second tackle-for-loss, as he’s apt to do, and Jayon Brown blew up a tight end screen for a loss of six. However, a boneheaded penalty after the whistle moved the ball into the red zone for Denver and got Rashaan Evans tossed from the game. Lock found Noah Fant right at the goal line on the very next play for the first touchdown of the contest.
End of 1st Quarter. Titans 0, Broncos 7
The Titans responded to the Broncos’ score with a quick three-and-out and sent the ball back to Denver, with Kern booming a field-flipping punt all the way inside the 10-yard line. After allowing a first down on 3rd-and-short, Kevin Byard ripped the ball away from Melvin Gordon at the 23-yard line and Big Jeffery Simmons pounced on it.
The Titans hit the Broncos with a smattering of Derrick Henry carries to get down to the 2-yard line, where Tannehill hit MyCole Pruitt—who made a beautiful adjustment to haul in the catch—for the tying touchdown.
The Broncos answered with a nice drive of their own keyed by a huge catch-and-run by Fant down to the Titans’ 21-yard line. The Broncos pushed the ball all the way to the 2-yard line, but the Titans defense came up with a huge goal line stand. Jeffery Simmons had two huge tackles, including the one on 4th down. Nick Dzubnar also made a play filling in for Evans. Titans took over at their own one yard line.
Corey Davis made another big grab over the middle and finished it off with a nasty stiff arm on Kareem Jackson and then swept his foot to barely tap inbounds for an incredible sideline grab near midfield. Completions to Adam Humphries and A.J. Brown put the Titans just outside the red zone, but Gostkowski’s 44-yard try was blocked.
Halftime: Titans 7, Broncos 7
A.J. Bouye was injured towards the end of the first and ruled out. Phillip Lindsay was declared questionable at halftime but didn’t return to the game.
The Titans caught a couple breaks to start the second half. First, Jerry Jeudy dropped a wide open pass over the middle for a Denver three-and-out. Then on the ensuing possession, Ryan Tannehill made a poor decision and was intercepted on a diving catch by Michael Ojemudia, but a personal foul penalty away from the play negated the turnover.
The Titans were able to work the ball into field goal range, but (you already know how this sentence is going to end) Stephen Gostkoswki missed his third attempt of the day (this one from 42 yards), and the score remained deadlocked at 7-7.
The Titans defense stepped it up on the next series, forcing another 3-and-out. Vaccaro made a couple of plays (one in the backfield, one nearly an interception) and David Long also had a tackle for loss to get the ball back in the hands of the Titans offense.
The Titans moved the ball methodically down the field, slowly but surely piling up yards with Derrick Henry. Taylor Lewan sustained a knee injury and was replaced by Ty Sambrailo. Lewan was at least able to walk off under his own power. We’ll continue to update his status when we know more.
The 3rd quarter came to a close with the Titans setting up for their 14th snap of the drive at the Broncos’ 6-yard line.
End of 3rd Quarter, Titans 7, Broncos 7
It took four tries from inside the 10-yard line, but on 4th and goal from the 1, Tannehill faked to Henry and found a wide open Jonnu Smith in the back of the end zone.
Then, would you believe it, Stephen Gostkowski missed the extra point. Titans kicked back to Denver leading 13-7.
On the next Broncos possession, Melvin Gordon busted through for 25 yards, the longest run of the day by either team. Then Jerry Jeudy tacked on 21 with a reception over the middle. The Broncos worked the ball right to the goal line again. After a huge goal line stand in the first half, this time, the Titans defense broke, allowing Melvin Gordon to find paydirt. Denver took a 14-13 lead on an extra point that barely sneaked through the upright.
The Titans tried to get something going on the next drive, but a failed QB sneak on 3rd and 1 capped off the Titans second three-and-out of the night. Kern punted back to Denver with the Titans in dire need of a stop.
It was Harold Landry who made the stop for the Titans, ripping round the right edge and forcing a bad throw by Drew Lock a few plays into the series. Sam Martin’s punt took a wicked Denver bounce and cross out of bounds at the 4-yard line. The Titans punted it right back after another quick 3-and-out, this time in even more dire need of a stop.
And they got it. Jeudy dropped another pass he should’ve caught, and Lock overshot an open DaeSean Hamilton in the end zone. Titans took over possession with 3:13 to play and three timeouts remaining in need of just. one. point.
The Titans took nearly the full 3 minutes and change, methodically moving all the way down to the Broncos 7 yard line. The Titans used Henry to run the clock and eat up yards, and had one chance at the end zone to A.J. Brown that fell incomplete.
So it all came down to Stephen Gostkowski. With 17 seconds left, from just 25 yards out, Gostkowski split the uprights and put Tennessee ahead, 16-14.
Lock trotted back onto the field after a touchback, needing a field goal to win the game. His first pass downfield was nearly intercepted by Byard, and his second was completed near midfield with only 1 second remaining.
The final attempt failed, and after overcoming numerous self-induced disadvantages on top of the altitude, the Titans escaped Denver with a victory.
Final: Titans 16, Broncos 13