The Titans are one step closer to the playoffs, and potentially the AFC’s top seed after their dominating win against the Miami Dolphins today.
Winners and losers are as followed, so let’s jump right into it.
Loser: The weather
We can’t discuss with game without talking about the abysmal weather situation for today’s game.
We knew it was going to be cold during the game today, but the rain and wintry mixture made the experience look absolutely miserable.
It didn’t affect the Titans too much — their passing game being the only aspect that suffered due to the elements — but I can guarantee the players down on the field didn’t really appreciate having to play in such conditions.
You might call it football weather, well I call it torture. How angry do you think you’d be if you had to stand in sub 40 degree temperatures with cold rain hitting your body with each passing second?
I know for a fact you’d be yelling for a jacket and passing time until you’re able to find a heat source. Luckily for the Titans, the wintry feel didn’t prevent them from securing another win, but it sure made the game look lethargic and somewhat depressing.
Winner: D’Onta Foreman
We need to talk about the job Foreman has done while he’s filled in for Derrick Henry.
He’s rushed for over 100 yards in three of his last five games (including another 132 yards today), he’s averaged over four yards per carry during his last five games, and he’s been the Titans’ sole consistent back during a period in which the backfield was in a bit of a disarray due to Henry’s injury.
That sort of production is important and delicate for any running back. But for a back that didn’t have a lot of expectations because of the loss of Henry, the statistical outburst has proven to be even more important and necessary.
Although Foreman’s time as the lead back appears to be ending due to the impending return on Henry, not enough can be said about the effort and overall play Foreman has given the Titans.
Good on him for taking advantage of the opportunity and capitalizing on it.
Winner: Ryan Tannehill’s revenge
The topic didn’t appear to be significant to Tannehill, but it was one that was certainly among the many topics of interest leading up to today’s game.
Tannehill spent the first six years of his career as a Miami Dolphin, showing glimpses of top tier talent while also struggling injuries and inconsistency. He was traded to the Titans in 2019, took over for Marcus Mariota during the middle of the 2019 season, and the rest is history.
Tannehill didn’t put too much stock into his exit from Miami during the week, as he spoke positively about his time in South Florida and complimented the Dolphins’ organization as a whole. We know players usually take the high road in these type of situations, but Tannehill had to be itching at the chance to show off against his squad.
He had an opportunity to stick it to his old team today, all while securing another division title and likely ending his old team’s playoff hopes. Tannehill didn’t finish with gaudy numbers, but he rarely put the ball in harm’s way and made plays when he was required to do so.
All in all, it was an efficient, mistake free performance from Tannehill during a game the Titans needed to win to officially clinch their third straight playoff berth. Not too shabby from QB1 huh?
Much Better: Todd Downing
Over the last few weeks, Downing has been the subject of criticism from fans, media, and others because of his shortcomings as a coordinator.
Today however, Downing put those whispers of criticism to bed, and put together a decent game plan that worked out in the end. Maybe he was lucky that the Titans’ offensive line found boat loads of running room against a usually stout Dolphins defensive front, and maybe he was lucky he didn’t have to dive too deep into his bag of passing plays because of the dreary conditions.
Either way though, the offense played well for the most part, and when that happens it reflects the job of the man coordinating the entire unit.
He’ll need to be better though, and he’ll need to be better consistently. The playoffs are approaching and they’re unforgiving towards teams that make silly mistakes.
That includes players and coaches, including Downing.
Winner: The Titans’ defense
Let’s give a round of applause to the Titans’ defense for another spectacular performance.
Against a Dolphins offense that found some traction over the last 6-7 weeks, Shane Bowen’s defense held Tua Tagovailoa and company to three total points, forced two turnovers, and sacked Tagovailoa three times en route to a dominating home victory.
The wet and cold conditions certainly aided the defense’s ability to make plays, but I firmly believe they would’ve put out the same performance if the elements weren’t as treacherous as they were.
That’s how well they played.
Attention for them now turns towards next weekend, as they’ll be tasked with slowing down rookie Davis Mills and the rest of the Houston Texans offense. If they end up doing so, they’ll likely secure the AFC’s top seed, a feat no one thought was possible for the Titans due to all the injuries that have plagued this team throughout the year.