Titans: The good, the bad, and the ugly from the loss to the Colts
The Tennessee Titans have fallen hard in the last four weeks. After starting 5-0, the Titans are 1-3 in their last four and have now lost control of the AFC South after once again losing to the Indianapolis Colts when they had no business doing so.
Against a boring and often lazy looking Colts offense, the Titans' defense once again made an average quarterback and mediocre wide receiver corp look great over and over.
- Derrick Henry. That's about it. The King ran for over 100 yards against the second best rushing defense in the league and the team lost by double digits. Henry ran hard and had a couple of 15+ yard runs on the night.
- The Titans secondary looked amazing against the Bears because, you know, Nick Foles is incompetent. But against a capable QB and decent wideouts from Indy, the Titans were soundly picked apart. The highlights of the night for the defense came on a pair of fourth and short stops and they did well holding the Colts offense to only one true touchdown drive.
- I hate to say it, but A.J. Brown was far from himself in this game. He had one catch for 21 yards on four targets and I would say those other three attempts should and will be considered drops. I noticed near the halfway point of the third quarter that Brown was limping to the sideline. Let's hope he hasn't reinjured that same knee from earlier in the season.
- Mike Vrabel's play-calling for the defense and Arthur Smith's for the offense. The Tennessee defense still is and remains a mystery to me. Veteran QB's who understand coverage packages are reading the Titans like an open book. Something drastic - I mean beyond personnel changes - needs to happen ASAP. Vrabel NEEDS to appoint a D-coordinator and it is becoming more and more apparent by the game. I have no earthly idea what happened to Smith's creative play calling after the first drive, but boy did it disappear fast.
- Punter Trevor Daniel. WHO IN THE WORLD DECIDED THAT RYAN ALLEN WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO KICK AGAIN?? Allen had eight punts with an average 50.5 yards in the win over the Bears. So why change from that on a short week?!? According to reports I have seen on Twitter, the coaching staff liked the way Daniel punted in practice, but clearly choosing to play him over Allen was the incorrect decision. He had two punts - that were actually kicked - for 47 yards and 17 yards. The 17 yard shank led to a Colts TD. The following possession, the Titans punted again and Daniel had his kick blocked for a TD.
- The offensive line. Man, I miss Taylor Lewan so much. When Rodger Saffold went down with an injury in this game, the Titans were hounded by the prolific Indy front-seven. The Colts struggled to contain Henry for most of the night, but they had a sack and five quarterback hits on Tannehill. Ryan simply has no time to get the ball out of his hand!
- Stephen Gostkowski needs to go. I think we can all agree on that now. The former Patriots is barely a shadow of his former self and he once again missed a very easy field goal. Down by 10 late in the third quarter and after the Colts scored on the blocked punt, the Titans offense put together a rare drive and could've cut the deficit to seven with a Gostkowski field goal. He missed it wide-right from 44-yards despite hitting from 50 in the first half. Gostkowski is now 12 of 20 on field goals this year which is his worst conversion rate in his career.
- The outlook for the remainder of the season. I'm calling a spade a spade. I thought this was the year the Titans make a deep run into the postseason as favorites. Now, they MIGHT make the playoffs and are incredibly unlikely to win the AFC South unless they get revenge against the Colts in a couple of weeks and get some favorable results elsewhere. Even then, how is this team supposed to compete with the Steelers or the Chiefs? The defense is far too weak and the offense too inconsistent. The Titans usually start a season slowly and grow into it by the midway point.
Are we seeing the opposite here in 2020?