Was it pretty? No. However, it shows up the same in the standings. The Titans move to 2-1 but there are some big health related questions going forward.
Injuries: A.J. Brown hurt his hamstring and Julio Jones was held out for the 4th quarter due to “precautionary reasons”. Rashad Weaver broke his fibula, Anthony Firkser was out, and Bud Dupree was unable to play due to his knee. Jayon Brown only played 10 snaps. Guys that need to be key contributors were out and need to get back soon for the tough stretch coming up in a few weeks.
Skill position depth: Yes, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Chester Rogers both had touchdowns. They also caused turnovers that could have proven costly. NWI had a fumble near the goal line and Rogers had a pass hit him square before it was intercepted off the rebound. It was clear that these guys should be role players, but instead they were miscast into starting roles due to injury. Geoff Swaim is another guy that shouldn’t be seeing a ton of pass-catching opportunities, yet somehow saw about three too many targets.
2021 Rookie Class: This group is not giving great returns right now. Weaver was in line to make the most of his snaps, but he got hurt on Sunday. Caleb Farley and Dillon Radunz were both inactive. Monty Rice only saw special teams snaps. Elijah Molden saw his defensive snaps shrink. Racey McMath played 26% of the offensive snaps, but mostly because they needed a warm body. Dez Fitzpatrick and Brady Breeze are not on the 53-man roster.
The worst part is that it doesn’t seem like any of them are very close to much playing time. Farley needs to get healthy, Molden needs to learn how to use his skillset against the faster wide receivers. Racey is a special teams guy, miscast as a starting WR (at this point, everyone knows he’s going to be better than Julio eventually). Dillon Radunz is being asked to learn quantum physics before he can tryout to be the team’s fourth-string fullback. Hopefully there are some rookie sightings soon, because the Titans could use the additional help, but right now, it appears there won’t be any for the second straight season.
Harold Landry and Ola Odeniyi: Landry does not get the publicity he deserves, but he’s an extremely good football player. On Sunday he generated 12 of the Titans’ 16 pressures, absolutely wreaking havoc on the Colts’ offense. Ola was an unheralded signing from Pittsburgh this offseason, but he plays with a ton of energy and effort. Due to the injuries to Dupree and Weaver, Ola was asked to play almost 50% of the snaps on defense and he made the most of it. Now the team leader in sacks, Jon Robinson has found a hidden gem.
Ryan Tannehill: 18/27 for 197 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions is a messy stat line. However, it doesn’t tell the entire story. One turnover was certainly on Rogers and not Tannehill. He also kept drives alive with his legs. Not to mention the lack of talent in his receiving group after injuries to Jones and Brown left NWI and McMath as the primary pass catchers. Still, Ryan was able to engineer scoring drives and made a real gutsy run late in the 4th to keep the chains moving and run the clock.
Derrick Henry: Another game against the Colts with over 100 yards on the ground. Not much more you can say about this guy. He’s consistent as they come and he played well again in the passing game. I do wonder if the Titans may lighten his workload the next few weeks so he can stay fresh. Bouncing Darius Leonard was one of the highlights of the season for certain. Leonard won’t be the last guy to end up on the wrong end of a Henry highlight reel.