Week 18: Three up, three down

A win in Houston means that your Tennessee Titans are the AFC’s #1 seed and need just two wins to go to the Super Bowl.

Three Down

2nd Half Defense: After a shutout performance in the first half, the Titans’ defense decided to look like the 2020 version. Davis Mills carved them up to the tune of 301 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 25 total points in the second half. While Mills isn’t awful, he’s worse than almost every playoff QB that the Titans might face in a few weeks.

I’m not panicking because we’ve seen far more good than bad from this unit throughout the year, especially against good QBs. All of that said, the Texans didn’t have the ball once in the second half with the ability to take the lead, so some of the freakout on Twitter was a bit unwarranted. However, they need to get the pass defense shored up ASAP if they want to be playing through the middle of February.

Slow start: It feels next to impossible for the Titans to score on their opening drive, and that was the case once again on Sunday. Once the offense gets cooking, it feels like they are unstoppable, but early stalled drives in both halves means the defense has added pressure to keep the other team’s offense limited. It falls on both playcalling and execution, but figure it out.

Analytics: A moment of silence for PFF, DVOA, and FPI. The Titans are the worst #1 seed in history according to those sources.

Three Up

Ryan Tannehill: A YPA of 9, targeted 10 different WRs, 4 touchdowns, and one magical play, Tannehill was unreal on Sunday afternoon. Throughout this year he has dealt with a lot of naysayers from within and outside the fanbase, and yesterday he got the chance to shut some of them up for a few weeks. I think one of the most encouraging things was the involvement of Julio Jones. The QB/WR duo has not been on the same page for most of the year, but it felt different on Sunday. Let’s hope that chemistry continues to grow as they enter the playoffs.

Recovery time: With the bye week comes an extra week of rest for King Henry and others. Enough said.

Anthony Firkser: Rightfully criticized this year for not being a reliable target, Firk stepped up on Sunday. 4 catches on 4 targets for 56 yards and a TD. He wasn’t a game wrecker by any means but he doesn’t have to be. Just catch what’s thrown at you. He did that yesterday and the Titans’ offense prospered.

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