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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Pharoh, May 1, 2015.
The guy probably covers about six yards per stride when he gets going. It looks so easy.
holding them to a FG attempt hell yeah
I hate him so much.
A personal foul, hold and a false start
Our OL is going to dookie their pants on this final drive
Ohhhhhh shit yeah
Tannehill our savior
OH MY GOD
TITAN UP HOLY SHIT
holy fucking shit
(Also wtf was that whistle)
Love that reverse jinx
Jesus Tannehill is just forcing me to love him
Tannehill showing some grit
Lowering that shoulder and bringing the thunder. Who saw that coming
Rushing one damn guy. Go to hell Vrabel
What a fucking game
OH MY GOD WHAT A FINISH
hell yeah pretty sure we added that dude to the roster in the past week or so
I mean I think we may have been offsides but I dont give a shit
first thing I thought but fuck it no whistle
This is the dumbest most confusing team ever. I hate it and I love it
Gase is clearly a poison to players
Yeah never thought I’d say that but he looked like Coker out there lowering his shoulder.
What a huge win. Proud of the way the team battled back. Tannehill played his ass off and it felt good to see Henry in the game more especially at the end. Oh and not to mention Rashaan’s scoop and score
I don’t know how much more I can take of Lewan, especially after he went full hardo in front of the cameras after the game. You are right: You are screwing the team with your selfish play dipshit. Everyone knows it. I’m so tired of him and I’m glad that the fan base is turning on him. I know we are stuck with him though
Tannehill keeps making me like him
love it but Jesus please protect your shoulders
Pretty bad miss on Davis there though
What an animal. A guy that big shouldn't move that fast
THERE IT IS! THE ANNUAL HENRY OWNING OF THE JAGS
Beating the piss out of them. I love it
Alexa, show me a competent offense
That double stiffarm was just ruthless
The next 5 weeks are huge. We need to get the Colts monkey off our back this weekend
Henry has 7 TDs of 65 yards or more since 2017
The fan base is going to be so pissed if/when we let Henry walk. It’s incredible to hear the Henry chants. Brings back good memories of Ed-die Ed-die
good time to subscribe to The Athletic and follow John Glennon's coverage
10 Titans observations: Derrick Henry dominates, Ryan Tannehill near perfect and talking playoff chances (again)
In the dark days of this Titans season, which of course were not so very long ago, it was all this team could do to muster 20 points.
There was the nine-sack debacle the Titans suffered in a loss to Jacksonville in Week 3, the shutout loss at the hands of Denver in Week 6, the 10-quarter stretch with a grand total of seven points.
It was painful to watch, unthinkable to imagine the Titans would engineer the kind of offensive explosion they have over the past few weeks — and, really, ever since quarterback Ryan Tannehill took over as starter from Marcus Mariota in Week 7.
The Titans were sputtering along at 16 points per game at that point, looking like a team that — at 2-4 — was one more loss from looking ahead to 2020.
So just who are these guys who on Sunday achieved the following:
Scored touchdowns on three consecutive plays from scrimmage, the first time any NFL team has done so since Jacksonville in 2017.
Scored 28 points in a single quarter, the first time for this team since 1991.
Scored 35 points or more in consecutive games for the first time since November 2016.
Totaled a 100-yard rusher, a 100-yard receiver and a quarterback with a near-perfect rating, 155.8 out of a possible 158.3.
Need we go on?
“It kind of shows what we can do when you execute up front, when guys are finishing and you have a special guy in Derrick (Henry) who can make guys miss and run through tackles and finish long runs,” Tannehill said following the Titans’ 42-20 win over Jacksonville at Nissan Stadium. “You saw a lot of snapshots of guys executing and making plays and playing hard for each other. So, yeah, that’s the standard. That’s what we want to do week in and week out.”
Here are 10 observations from the Titans’ victory:
1. Jump on board the D-train
It was just about a year ago that Henry electrified Nissan Stadium with a 99-yard touchdown run against the Jaguars, delivering three wicked stiff-arms on the way. He tossed aside cornerback A.J. Bouye with the first stiff-arm, then delivered two more to linebacker Leon Jacobs.
It was flashback time for Henry on Sunday as he went 74 yards on a touchdown run, twice hammering away Jacksonville safety Jarrod Wilson with stiff-arms.
“It was similar — I was trying to keep them away,” Henry said. “I just kept trying to stay inbounds and keep moving down the field, and it worked again.”
That touchdown run marked the seventh time since the start of the 2017 season Henry has produced a touchdown of 65 yards or more — the most by any player in the NFL during that stretch. Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill began the day in second place with five touchdowns of 65 yards or more.
“Did you see my eyes?” Henry said of the long run. “My eyes were big. I told you, when my eyes get big, I was ready to go. They did a good job blocking. … I seen the hole, and I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, time to make something happen.’”
Henry finished the day with 19 carries for 159 yards and two touchdowns. In the Titans’ past two games, Henry has carried 42 times for 347 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 8.3 yards per carry.
“Pro athletes make the hard look easy, and I think that’s what he does,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Henry. “I think the emphasis on the stiff-arm and being able to control the football securely and still maintain speed while he’s doing that is something that is really, really cool for us.”
2. Moving up the charts
Tannehill’s performance — 14-for-18, 259 yards, two touchdown passes, two touchdown runs, zero interceptions — was the latest in his torrid streak since taking over the starter’s position.
He’s posted a quarterback rating of at least 109.0 in four of his five starts.
But even more impressively, Tannehill’s overall quarterback rating this season (111.4) is third in the NFL behind Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins and Seattle’s Russell Wilson.
Tannehill is 4-1 as the Titans’ starter, and he’s thrown for 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions during those games.
3. Runnin’ Ryan
The Titans knew Tannehill — a former wide receiver in his early years at Texas A&M — was an excellent athlete, but it’s hard to imagine they could have expected this much mobility from the 31-year-old quarterback.
Tannehill ran for a pair of touchdowns against the Jags — one a 21-yard scramble and the other a 3-yard bootleg — to bring his season total to a career-high three. He wound up with a season-high 41 yards on the ground, thanks also to the Titans’ first play from scrimmage when Tannehill went around the right end and picked up 20 yards.
“He’s athletic,” Vrabel said. “When you play receiver in the Big 12 and do it well … those are critical yards. Those are tough. When you watch around the league at quarterbacks that scramble, they add an element to the offense. … (Defenders) are not rushing thinking they have a moving target.”
Tannehill’s most memorable run was the 21-yard touchdown when he went head-to-head with Jaguars defensive back Tre Herndon at the goal line, going airborne and absorbing a big hit to score.
“I thought about (sliding) for a second,” Tannehill said. “Then I saw how close the goal line was, so I had to go all out and get it in the end zone.”
Tannehill has averaged 39 yards on the ground in the Titans’ past three games.
“Those days (of being a wide receiver) were a long time ago,” Tannehill said. “But, yeah, it’s fun. I think it adds an element to our offense and gives the defense something to account for.”
4. Lewan’s lively day
Titans tackle Taylor Lewan had piled up a team-high nine penalties in just six games this season, but he didn’t get flagged once in the win over Jacksonville.
That’s not to say he had a dull afternoon.
Lewan’s liveliness began at the end of the first quarter when he took a helmet to the rib cage from Jacksonville’s Yannick Ngakoue while Lewan was helping to move the pile forward. Vrabel couldn’t believe a penalty wasn’t called on the play.
“The only people that didn’t see that were the seven officials out there,” Vrabel said.
To his credit, Lewan kept his composure, but he and Ngakoue — along with Jacksonville defensive lineman Calais Campbell — kept up some running trash-talking throughout the game. In fact, Lewan lit into Ngakoue after driving him downfield during Henry’s 74-yard touchdown run.
“We always chirp at each other,” Lewan said. “I have respect for that guy. He plays very hard. He always gives his best effort against me.”
Campbell was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the contest when he knocked down Lewan after a penalty. But Lewan once again did a good job of not retaliating, earning the Titans extra yardage.
“I’m just happy I didn’t get penalties,” Lewan said. “I started that trend, hopefully. The bye week did me good, being smart about that stuff. Couple times it was tough to hold myself, but overall, it was good.”
Lewan did gain some notoriety with about two minutes left in the contest, however, when Garth Brooks’ “I Got Friends in Low Places” blasted over the PA system. Lewan marched up and down the Titans sideline, waving at the Jacksonville sideline.
“I was telling (Ngakoue and Campbell) that we’ll see you later, we’ll see you next year,” Lewan said. “I was waving at Calais and them. It’s all fun and games. They talk shit when they win. We talk shit when we win. At the end of the day, it’s an AFC South division game, and I don’t think either team would have it any other way.”
5. Racking up YAC
Two of the previous three weeks had been slow ones for Titans rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown. He was limited to two catches for 11 yards (and one TD) against Tampa Bay, and then — two weeks later — he was held to one catch for 17 yards against Kansas City. In between, he caught four passes for 81 yards against Carolina.
But Brown exploded against the Jags, catching four passes for a career-high 135 yards and a touchdown. He accounted for two of the Titans’ four biggest plays from scrimmage: a 65-yard touchdown reception and a 36-yard catch.
Per the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, 94 of Brown’s 135 yards came after the catch. That average of 23 1/2 yards after the catch was the best in the NFL this weekend going into Sunday night’s game.
But here’s an even more impressive stat: Brown’s expected yards after catch average was just 4 1/2 yards per reception, meaning he did some very impressive things once catching the ball.
“When I get the ball in my hands, I’m trying to score,” Brown said. “I’m not trying to get skill points. I am trying to score, trying to get touchdowns.”
6. Protecting the passer
The Titans had all kinds of difficulty protecting the passer in the first Jacksonville game this season, as Mariota was sacked a season-high nine times. A big part of the problem was the Titans were playing from behind throughout the night, trailing 14-0 at the half and 17-0 in the fourth quarter.
There were very few problems with the Jacksonville pass rush on Sunday, as Tannehill was sacked once for a 7-yard loss. It helped that two offensive line starters — Lewan and right guard Nate Davis — were in the lineup, as opposed to the teams’ previous meeting.
It also helped that the Titans never trailed, which means Jags rushers never got the ability to go into “rush-only” mode. The Titans were up 7-3 at the half but expanded that margin to 35-11 after three quarters.
“I think the biggest thing was just the fact that we were able to play ahead and then put ourselves in third-and-manageable, which was able to help us out a bunch,” Titans guard Rodger Saffold said. “I think we did well on third down. I think we limited the amount of penalties, and I think when we ran the ball, we were more efficient. We didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot with 12 holding penalties, so that helped us out a ton.”
7. Fumble-itis issues
There were not too many issues to criticize the Titans about, but the team’s fumbling problems persist.
When Tannehill was strip-sacked in the second quarter, it marked his fifth fumble in five starts this season — and it also ended a promising Tennessee drive. The Titans had scored on 10 consecutive trips to the red zone before that fumble.
Henry, meanwhile, suffered his fourth fumble of the season in the second half. He’s lost two of them.
Overall, the Titans have fumbled 18 times this season, losing six of them. They’ve fumbled at least once in 10 games in a row.
8. Tricky Titans
Vrabel told media members earlier this season that we only asked about his unconventional plays — trick plays, fakes and going for it on fourth down — when they didn’t work.
So it’s only fair to point out a pair of chances Vrabel took that worked out quite well in the victory.
On the Titans’ opening drive of the second half, Vrabel called for Henry to throw the ball downfield to tight end Jonnu Smith. The pass was not a thing of beauty, but the result was, as Jags safety Andrew Wingard was called for interference against Smith in the end zone.
That set the stage for the second consecutive surprising play, as Tannehill connected with tackle Dennis Kelly — who’d been announced as eligible on the play — for a 1-yard touchdown to put the Titans up 14-3.
“Just trying to take advantage of what we had seen and what we had put on tape,” Vrabel said. “Jonnu got the (penalty), and (the touchdown) was something we felt like we could take advantage of there with Dennis.”
It was the first career catch for the 6-8, 321-pound Kelly, who was a tight end — but primarily a blocking tight end — in his high school football days.
“That would have been the last time I caught something would have been the fall of 2007,” Kelly said. “We were in the Air Force (style) offense, so I was more of a glorified sixth lineman, but I was glad I got to put the skills to use (Sunday).”
Kelly explained his thoughts as Tannehill’s pass traveled his way, as well as his pantomimed beer-sharing celebration with offensive line teammates.
“It started with ‘Don’t drop the ball, idiot,’” Kelly said. “But then we scored and we opened up a cooler and shared (fake beers) with the boys. We shotgunned it. The offensive line, we like to stay close. We have a really good bond, so whenever any of us score, guys get real fired up.”
9. Playoff picture brightens
The Titans’ chances of making the playoffs have improved after winning four games in the past five weeks. At 6-5, Tennessee is tied with Oakland, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis for the second wild-card position.
Per FiveThirtyEight, the Titans have a 29 percent shot of making the postseason, ahead of Oakland (19 percent) and just behind Pittsburgh (31 percent) and Indianapolis (33 percent). The Raiders didn’t help themselves by getting clobbered by the lowly New York Jets on Sunday.
Per the New York Times’ playoff predictor, the Titans’ win over the Jaguars improved their chances of making the playoffs to 24 percent — up from 18 percent last week. Also per the New York Times’ playoff predictor, if the Titans win their next two games — against the Colts and Raiders — the team’s chances of making the playoffs increase to 67 percent.
10. Special teams were special
The Titans’ special teams turned in a couple of big plays that contributed to the win.
The first came on the kickoff to open the second half, as Kalif Raymond took the return 34 yards to set up the Titans with good field position at their own 36-yard line. It would take the Titans just four plays to march 64 yards into the end zone for a touchdown to go up 14-3.
Just three minutes later, Titans special-teams standout Daren Bates dropped the Jaguars’ Michael Walker with a thunderous hit. Bates didn’t stop there, hustling to his feet to recover Walker’s fumble at the Jacksonville 7. Henry scored on the next play, and the Titans went ahead 21-3.
“I kind of just felt the return they were going with and came off and made the play, got the tackle,” Bates said. “I didn’t even know the ball came out until the crowd started (cheering). I’m like, ‘It has to be the ball out.’ Luckily, there went the ball.”