Winners and Losers from Browns 41, Titans 35

This game was a total mess for the Titans. A week after dominating the Colts in the first half, they got dominated by the Browns early and trailed 38-7 heading into the break.

They do deserve credit for fighting back in the second half, eventually working the Browns lead down to just 6 points before a failed onside kick ended things once and for all. The Titans stunk in this game, but at least they aren’t quitters.

Making matters worse, the Texans fumbled a snap on the Colts 1-yard line down 26-20 with just a minute and a half left, letting Indy off the hook in Houston. Both the Titans and Colts are now 8-4 and tied atop the AFC South, though Tennessee maintains the tiebreaker thanks to their superior division record.

With four games to go, the division race is very wide open. However, we’ll get further into that later this week. For now, let’s get into winners and losers from Browns 41, Titans 35.

Winner: Ryan Tannehill

There weren’t too many winners on the Titans side of this game, but Tannehill was one of them. He finished with 389 yards on 29 of 45 passing with 3 touchdowns and an interception (which was 100% not on Tannehill). He could have had an even better day if his receivers weren’t dropping passes all over the field. Tannehill also had another potential touchdown taken away when A.J. Brown fumbled on the 1-yard line.

These weren’t just garbage time numbers either. This was a tough game for his teammates, but it was an excellent performance from Tannehill.

Loser: A.J. Brown

It wasn’t all bad from Brown. He fought through an ankle injury to contribute 87 yards on 4 catches, but he had at least one bad drop — a bit of an unsettling habit for him lately — and fumbled on the goal line. He was bailed out by MyCole Pruitt, but that could have been disastrous.

The Titans need Brown to be healthy and productive down the stretch so hopefully his injury isn’t a bad one.

Winner: Corey Davis

Brown’s running mate picked up the slack though as Corey Davis rampaged through the Cleveland secondary for a career best day with 11 catches for 182 yards and a big time touchdown catch.

Davis was fantastic and now sits at a team-best 801 yards on the season with his first 1,000-yard season in sight. Questions about whether he can be brought back are sure to come up after the season and is market will be very interesting to watch coming off what is pretty easily the best season of his career.

Loser: Breon Borders

Woof. After being a pleasant surprise over the last four weeks, Borders was roasted today by the Browns. The worst snap was the 75-yard touchdown to Donovan Peoples-Jones that took advantage of Borders being over-aggressive on an out and up.

It wasn’t just that play either. Borders was regularly picked on by Baker Mayfield and the Browns passing game. That doesn’t make him a bad player, but he has limitations and those were on full display today. Get well soon, Adoree’.

Loser: The Entire Defense

Singling out Borders really isn’t fair. The entire defense was putrid today. The Titans got zero pressure on Mayfield (what’s new) and were routinely scorched by the Browns play action game.

I thought it was pretty clear that the Titans came into this game intent on taking away Nick Chubb and the run game at all costs and they did that relatively effectively. Cleveland averaged just 3.3 yards per carry on the game.

The problem, of course, was that they allowed 10 yards per attempt through the air as the linebackers routinely bit on play action leaving crossers wide open behind them. They also were back to their old ways on third downs, allowing the Browns to convert 10 of 16 attempts, including some more third and long situations.

With the news about Jadeveon Clowney being out for the season coming down before the game, it’s unfortunately pretty hard to see the pressure issue getting better this season. The Titans offense is going to have to outscore a lot of teams if they want to go anywhere in the playoffs.

Loser: Adam Humphries

Humphries had been out for the last four weeks with a concussion, but his return to action wasn’t what he probably had in mind. The usually sure-handed receiver had a Tannehill pass bounce right off his hands and into the arms of a defender. That cost the Titans a first and goal situation down 41-21 with over five minutes left in the third quarter. If the Titans punch it in, there is a real chance that the fourth quarter could have been legitimately interesting.

He finished with just one catch for 9 yards on a day when Tannehill threw 45 passes, so it wasn’t just one bad play either. Just a day to forget for the Titans slot receiver.

Loser: Derrick Henry

Henry rushed for 60 yards on 15 carries and his first quarter fumble really set off the avalanche of a first half that buried the Titans. The 2,000 yard season dream is over and Dalvin Cook cut his rushing title lead in half, but most importantly, his play put his team in a bad spot.

Loser: Mike Vrabel

Vrabel has done a lot of good things for this team during his three years here, and this is still probably the best version of the Titans that we’ve seen since 2008, but his team has a bad habit of spitting the bit in dramatic ways as soon as people start to buy in. Whether it’s players reading their own press or just a general sense of complacency, Vrabel needs to identify and eliminate this issue if this team is going to reach that next level and become a true contender.

You can listen to a full breakdown of the game on the latest Homerun Throwback.

Comments

  1. That first half was hard to watch. Glad I stuck around to watch the 2nd, they made it interesting. That hump drop was brutal.
    I’d add little ole Cam Batson to the winner list. Not a ton of volume but those were big, BIG time catches.

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