The Tennessee Titans rolled through the Kansas City Chiefs today by a score of 27-3, making that back to back weeks they’ve won against high class teams in the AFC.
It was probably the most complete game the Titans have played in a couple of years, so there’s obviously going to be a lot of winners in this one.
Let’s get to it.
Winner: Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill didn’t look all that great in the first half against Buffalo, throwing a pretty bad interception and struggling to settle in.
Once the second half started though, he found his stride and was able to contribute during important drives late in the game. He carried that momentum into today’s game, throwing for 270 yards, a score, and even running for another touchdown. He also had a bad interception, but that was the only blemish from his otherwise stellar day.
He got the ball out quick, looked confident, and made the right plays when they were presented to him.
When the Titans get that version of Tannehill, they’re as dangerous as anyone in the league. That’s why you see so much praise for him from others around the league.
Like the other stars, it’s all about him staying consistent and avoiding mistakes. If he can do that, this offense will continue to soar one way or another.
Winner: Bud Dupree
Dupree wasn’t much of a factor through the first six games of the year. Mostly because of injury management, including some extra attention on his surgically repaired knee that cost him the second half of the 2020 season.
He was questionable coming into today’s game because of a knee injury, but it didn’t seem to limit him on the field.
Dupree ended up being a big part of the pass rush that caused so much chaos for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense. He even tallied his first sack and forced fumble as a Titan, displaying his pretty impressive speed rush before eventually making the play.
Dupree’s big time contract was always going to be a point of discussion, especially now since he’s struggled to stay on the field so far this year.
But if he can get healthy and start finding his stride, then he’s going to be a really important piece for the Titans’ defense moving forward.
Winner: A.J. Brown
Much of the talk surrounding Brown the last few weeks has been his sudden case with food poisoning.
But that food poisoning incident wasn’t the main focal discussion topic after today’s game, rather it was his play on the field that stole the headlines.
Brown finished with eight catches for 133 yards and a nice first half touchdown catch. He was everywhere on the field, slicing the Chiefs’ secondary apart and looking superior to any defensive back that lined up across from him.
He had a favorable matchup though, so these stats might not mean all that much at first glance. But he delivered and was a big part of an eventual Titans win, something that the team values far more than individual accomplishments on the stat sheet.
Brown won’t have these performances every week, but when he does have them, the Titans more so than not usually end up with a favorable result.
All it is with him is just staying healthy and staying consistent on the field.
Also, staying away from his local Chipotle.
Winner: Shane Bowen
What a day for Bowen huh?
He was down a number of corners, making today’s matchup feel like one that’d do some real damage to the scoreboard.
But that wasn’t the case, as Bowen’s defense harassed Mahomes all day and made life insanely difficult for the Chiefs’ offense as a whole. The defense totaled four sacks plus a number of pressures.
Not only that, they held Mahomes to 206 yards passing, forced an interception, and held the Chiefs to just 13 total points.
It was easily the best defensive performance of the season, one that magnified the team’s overall improvement defensively this season. The Chiefs have had their struggles all year offensively, but they still possess a scary amount of talent and firepower.
Which is why the performance today by the Titans’ defense was all the more impressive.
Winner: Denico Autry
Autry is continuing to make his case as the Titans’ best free agent signing in some time.
If it weren’t for Harold Landry’s impressive start to the season, you could make a case that Autry’s been the Titans’ most disruptive player along the defensive line. He’s easily been one of the team’s most consistent players, and that consistency has been huge for a defense that’s been hit hard by injuries so far this season.
Autry sacked Patrick Mahomes two times today, bringing his season total to three, which seems low considering how chaotic he’s been for opposing offensive lines throughout the year. He also added two quarterback hits today, which wasn’t surprising given how much pressure Mahomes was under all game long.
Overall, it was another performance that signified his recent contract wasn’t a mistake, a trend that’s haunted Jon Robinson’s free agency profile over the last couple of seasons. Autry has a reunion game with his old team in Indianapolis next week, so he’ll be looking for carry over his recent form into an important divisional matchup that could stomp the Colts out of the division title race this early in the year.
Winner: Harold Landry
I’ll say this.
The final contract number for Landry is only going to get higher if he keeps his current pace. He’s up to 7.5 sacks on the season, including a number of pressures. In all honesty he should have more sacks to his name, that’s just how good he’s been so far this season.
He’s going to be relied upon a lot moving forward, so the team will really need him keep playing at a high level.
I’m sure he will as well.
Loser: Superhero Derrick Henry
The Chiefs came into today’s game as one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to stopping the run.
After Derrick Henry’s superhuman performance against the Buffalo Bills, this game could’ve easily been a monster one for him. But that wasn’t the case surprisingly.
Henry only ran 86 yards on 29 carries, getting stuffed a number of times by the Chiefs’ front seven.
Usually those numbers would’ve meant struggles for the Titans offensively. But luckily for them, the Chiefs are bad in all other facets on defense, including stopping opposing offenses through the air.
Henry will likely be frustrated due to his lack of monstrous impact on the game, but he’ll always take the win no matter the circumstance. Even if that win came at the expense of him kicking up the stat sheet. He did end up throwing a touchdown pass though, so maybe that’ll ease the burden of his frustration.
Winner: Todd Downing
I’ll give Downing his props today.
He’s been inconsistent as a play caller through the first six weeks, struggling to put together decent games from start to finish.
Today though, he was fantastic.
His opening script wasn’t too predictable, he was diverse in his play calling, and his flow seemingly felt improved compared to recent weeks. I admit I’ve been hard on Downing, maybe even too hard considering the points the offense has put on the board.
But today I’ll give him a virtual and probably meaningless pat on the shoulder, and say he did a good job.
He’ll need to continue this though. The Titans can’t keep relying on Derrick Henry to drag this offense out of the hole whenever the unit is in a rut. Start finding ways to consistently move the chains in multiple ways, and execute in the red zone.
If they can continue to do that, then they’re going to be peachy offensively.
Winner: Patched up Titans secondary
Caleb Farley gone for the year, Kristian Fulton on injured reserve, things didn’t look pretty for the Titans’ secondary leading up to today’s game with the explosive Chiefs offense.
But credit to the the Titans’ defensive backfield, they found a way to make plays even with injuries hitting their group like a high speed 18 wheeler. Before they went to work in garbage time, not a single Chiefs receiver hit over 70 yards receiving.
That includes the likes of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.
You simply have to tip your cap towards the secondary’s effort and execution today. Although they did receive a lot of help from the Titans’ pass rush, they still did their job whenever the opportunity arose.
I guarantee it won’t be like this every week, but if the Titans can get a fraction of these performances while their corner situation is getting fixed, this defense will continue to ride on a high for the foreseeable future.