Sep. 15, 2020
Five quick takeaways from the Titans last-minute win in Denver
The Tennessee Titans are 1-0! The final game of the first week in the NFL sure was ugly and it wasn't the best football to watch by any means, but with no preseason and a condensed training camp, mistakes were bound to happen.
The important thing in the end is that head coach Mike Vrabel got his team over the line despite a horrible special teams showing and struggles in the run game.
While I could probably think of 100, I will narrow the list down to just five takeaways from the Titans win over the Broncos last night.
Tannehill still looks sharp
Never in my wildest dream did I see offensive coordinator Arthur Smith asking Ryan Tannehill to throw the ball 43 times. If you had told me the number 17 would go 29 for 43 for 249 yards and two touchdowns, I would have thought the Titans had lost the game by double digits and were trailing throughout.
Maybe Vrabel was trying to confuse the Denver defense wearing the mask "please give the ball to Derrick Henry" on the trip out west. Against the Carolina Panthers in 2019, Tannehill attempted 39 passes which was his previous high since coming over from Miami in the spring of 2019.
I was impressed with the QB who had a lot to do on MNF. He spread the ball around the field (three receivers had at least five catches) and avoided a couple of sure sacks to escape and get rid of the ball.
That's the Corey Davis we have been waiting to see
After not registering a 100-yard game in all of 2019, wide receiver Corey Davis started out his make-or-break contract year with a bang.
The first-round pick out of Western Michigan totaled seven catches for 101 yards on eight targets. Davis led the game in catches and yards and was emphatic running his routes. He was getting separation and yards after the catch.
Davis earned himself the game ball and said afterwards, "It just felt good to get the game ball. It was a long road for me personally. Me and Ryan [Tannehill] were clicking, and I'm happy with the W."
It is worth noting that Davis' best game last fall came in the opener against the Browns where he had 91 yards, so, let's not see a fallout like we did 12 months ago!
About the kicking game...
This takeaway alone is worthy of an entire article - which I will be doing this week - so I will keep it at brief as possible.
I said the Titans were to lean heavily on Stephan Gostkowski in the kicking game and man, he laid an egg.
The former Patriot and three-time Super Bowl winner missed three field goals and one extra point on the night. Yes, he made the game-winner in the final half minute, but my goodness was it a night to forget for the veteran.
The Titans former place kicker Ryan Succop was hardly better in his debut with Tampa Bay - he had one field goal block and made the second - but I am sure many Titans fans miss him right now. Should Tennessee keep Gostkowski heading into week 2?
It's tough to say. I am certain they will at least take a peek at the market to see who is available.
Rashaan Evans nearly blew the game in the first quarter
When linebacker Rashaan Evans threw a punch at the head of Broncos tight end Jake Butt, I was a bit surprised it warranted a disqualification.
Evans was rash to take a swing at the Denver TE in the first place, but for it to happen in the first quarter of the first game, on third down, as Denver was on the edge of the redzone?! This right here is how you lose games.
Evans being sent to the locker room early meant that it was over to a guy who was signed in free agency to be a special teamer, Will Compton. As replacements, Compton and David Long did well as the two combined to total five tackles and kept the Broncos run game in check for the most part (they totaled 107 yards on 26 attempts).
I am sure Vrabel gave Evans an earful at halftime and on the plane ride back to Nashville!
A perfect record!
It is such a relief to start the regular season with a win. Especially in this world affected by COVID-19. As I have mentioned several times, the typical NFL offseason schedule was thrown out the window and teams have been dealing with a shortened training camp and no preseason.
There was bound to be rust and some ugly plays in week one. The Titans didn't have too many ugly plays, but they were flagged twice for delay of game in an empty stadium. That should never be happening! Ryan Tannehill is a veteran and the defense has absolutely no impact on getting the snap off within the play clock requirements.
Whatever the case, the Titans are 1-0 and have a chance to put themselves top of the AFC South on Sunday when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars who shocked the Indianapolis Colts in the season opener.
Enjoy that big number one in the win column and let's build on it in week two!