Tonight, the Tennessee Titans concluded one of their three scheduled primetime games this year by the way of a thrilling 34-31 against the Buffalo Bills.
As always, we have some winners, losers, along with some miscellaneous superlatives.
Winner: Derrick Henry
He continues to carry this offense despite their issues as whole within the unit, he continues to slam into stacked boxes and fall forward for valuable yardage, I mean what else do you want Derrick Henry to do?
Seriously, he’s on pace to shatter multiple NFL records, most of them currently being held for players we consider all time greats. There’s simply nothing else you can ask him to do at this point.
Well, maybe acquire infinite stamina and the ability to play good coverage as a corner. Other than that though, there’s nothing else he can possibly do. He rushed for 143 yards on 20 carries, seemingly getting stronger as the game went along. His 76 yard touchdown run was probably the highlight of his day, but his other two touchdowns went down as very important scores to keep the Titans in this game.
I’ve run out of words to describe what Henry is doing this year, other than the fact that it’s historical.
The Titans are going to continue to ride him and I’m pretty sure he’s going to deliver more times than not.
Meh: Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill didn’t start off the game well.
He was out of sync in the passing game, missing a few throws and even throwing a really bad interception against single high coverage that still has me scratching my head.
But as the game went on, specifically the second half, Tannehill really found a groove and was able to spearhead the Titans’ passing game. Tannehill has had games like this before, so it shouldn’t be something out of the ordinary.
But a better start against a very good Bills team would’ve probably been preferred by Mike Vrabel. Either way, Tannehill rebounded and finished the game as the player the Titans know he is.
All clear here.
Tannehill wasn’t great tonight.
He had a poor start, including a bad interception against single high coverage.
Loser and Ouch: Caleb Farley
With Kristian Fulton being placed on injured reserve leading up to tonight’s game, it seemed like rookie corner Caleb Farley was finally going to receive significant snaps.
As the game started that was indeed the case, with Farley starting alongside Janoris Jenkins as one of the starting boundary corners. But as the game went along, Farley’s play on the field didn’t inspire a lot of confidence, as he missed tackles and looked lost in coverage against a skilled Bills receiver group.
To make matters worse, it appears he suffered a serious knee injury in the first half of the game, writhing in pain while being attended to by trainers and then almost immediately being ruled out for the rest of the game after eventually being carted off the field.
Farley had a number of injury concerns coming into the 2021 NFL Draft and it appears those concerns have manifested into a real issue during his very brief professional career.
Winner: Defensive line
What a game for this group up front.
The noise surrounding the Titans regarding their matchup against Buffalo was their haunting disadvantageous matchup against the Bills’ offense.
Josh Allen and company were on a roll heading into tonight’s game, easily scoring points while also establishing themselves as arguably the best team in football. They certainly looked the part tonight, no question about it, but the Titans’ defensive line made things hectic in the process.
Not to mention the gigantic game winning goal line stand made by Jeffery Simmons to send the Titans home happy.
They sacked Allen three times, while also adding a number of pressures.
It was a spirited performance, one that reflects the job the pass rush has done all season long. The secondary continues to be a work in progress, but Mike Vrabel and his staff has breathe easy knowing their defensive line is there to provide support whenever they need it.
Winner: A.J. Brown
Seven catches for 91 yards, a key emergence offensively in the second half for a struggling offense, A.J. Brown stepped up big time tonight for the Titans.
He was questionable for the game with what Brown said was food poisoning, but that didn’t seem to affect him at all tonight. It was a good thing it didn’t too, as Julio Jones couldn’t go in the second half because of a hamstring injury.
Brown is going to contribute to this offense for years to come, the only thing he simply has to do is stay consistent and most of all stay healthy. If he can do that, he’s going to ascend even higher in circles among league executives and his fellow peers around the league.
Oh no: Taylor Lewan
Lewan was playing a decent game, but something as unimportant as his play was thrown out the window once he was carted off the field with a scary looking head/neck injury.
He was carted off the field on a board with his extremities tied down to prevent any head/neck movement, which signaled concern that Lewan was dealing with something rather serious. But as he was carted off the field, he gave a much needed thumbs up sign, clearing any concern he was unconscious or in grave danger.
The team announced he was being evaluated for a concussion, something that sounds almost minor compared to potentially being paralyzed, as cruel as that sounds.
It was another reminder for us that football played at the highest level is a very dangerous game and that these players risk serious injury every time they step on the field. Players know that risk fairly well when they suit up, but it’s still frightening to see whenever one has to be carted off because of an injury that could threaten their livelihood.
Not again: Injuries in the secondary
The Titans came into tonight with five healthy bodies at the corner position.
They left tonight’s game with only three. Caleb Farley, who was thrusted into a starting spot tonight, suffered a knee injury and it appears he’s going to be out for some time. Chris Jackson slotted in for Farley after he got hurt, but he later left the game with an injury.
To put it bluntly, this Titans corner group is thin and I mean very thin.
It remains to be seen what the Titans will do to address their thin numbers. My gut tells me they’ll elevate some bodies off the practice squad and roll with what they have. But my personal opinion is the team needs to scavenge the trade market for a depth corner that can help contribute until Kristian Fulton returns.
Winner: Nick Westbrook-Ikhine
You usually don’t see Westbrook-Ikhine’s name here in the postgame winners and losers segment.
But his play in the late stages of the second half turned out to be huge for the Titans’ comeback effort. His three catches, all of which came at crucial times, were extremely important contributions towards the team keeping themselves in the game.
He’s the depth body the team really wants to see throughout their roster. A player without an expanded role, but ready to contribute when his name is called.
Westbrook-Ikhine proved he’s that guy tonight.