The Tennessee Titans have made a habit of starting the season off slow in past years. Can they put these whispers to bed, when the Giants come to town?
The wait for the NFL season is finally over, and it felt like it took longer this year than in the past. Week one saw the New York Giants traveling to Nashville to take on the hometown Tennessee Titans. The new season always brings new questions. The first being who will fill the voids of A.J. Brown, who is now in Philadelphia, and the production of an injured Harold Landry. I also think whoever wins the running back battle of Saquon Barkley and Derrick Henry, will help their team pull out a victory. The Titans have a track record of not playing very well in week one. Can the Titans and company change that narrative this year?
If Only Games Were One Half
The Titans came out in the first half and had New York’s number it seemed. A quick three-and-out led to a huge return to midfield by Titans rookie wideout Kyle Phillips. And the ensuing drive showed it could be a long day for New York after Ryan Tannehill connected with Dontrell Hilliard for a 7-yard score. This play gave Tennessee the early lead. The next few drives for both teams didn’t result in many points. On the Giants next drive, Jeffery Simmons gets loose and hits Daniel Jones with a huge strip sack, recovered by Bud Dupree deep in Giants territory. Although Tennessee couldn’t move the ball much, this drive only resulted in a Randy Bullock field goal. At the half, it was Titans up 13-0 on the Giants. You could see the home team was almost on autopilot mode.
You Can’t Let Teams Hang Around
If Tennessee should have learned anything from last season, you can’t let a bad team hang around. The second-half play calling was conservative, to say the least. You could tell Tennessee was daring Barkley to beat them, and boy did he ever, he broke one for the tune of 68 yards. The drive was capped off by a 4-yard touchdown run by Barkley, but New York did miss the extra point field goal. Titans still led 13-6, you think they would wake up, nope, they proceeded to go three-and-out the very next drive. Giants Jones came back to hit a streaking Sterling Shepard for a 65-yard bomb, to bring New York within one point of the lead. Tennessee finally put a drive together and Hilliard caught another touchdown from Tannehill. Titans go back up 20-13 to end the third quarter.
Now ladies and gents it is time to just hand the ball off to the king and let him carry us to a win
— Colton Farmer (@coltonfarmer811) September 11, 2022
Mistakes come back to Haunt Tennessee
After swapping a few punts back-and-forth, Tennessee was set to get the ball back, that was until Phillips made his first real rookie mistake when he muffed the punt in his red zone. This led to a red zone stand by the Titans when Amani Hooker picked off Jones in the end zone. On the next drive, on third-and-one Tennessee called a tight end sweep to Chigoziem Okonko that didn’t convert the first down.
This was a head-scratcher when Derrick Henry was in the game, who has converted this spot multiple times in his career. After forcing Tennessee to punt, the Giants moved down the field and scored on a one-yard pass to Chris Myarick from Jones. This put New York to within 1 point of the lead, Brian Daboll decided to go for two and he converted it to give his team the 21-20 lead with 66 seconds to go. The Titans got all the way down to the Giants’ 29 before failing to make a 47-yard Bullock field goal as time expired. New York came into Nashville and beat the Titans. Tennessee loses another week one game to start the season.
Big Shoes to Fill
Titans had some huge shoes to fill when they traded Brown to the Eagles. Fans had hope that rookie wide receivers Treylon Burks and Kyle Phillips could help fill that void. And for the most part, they showed flashes of starting to settle in. Phillips finished the game with a team-high six receptions and 66 yards. Burks wasn’t far behind with 3 catches for 55 yards. Aside from that fumble from Phillips you couldn’t have asked for a much better first game for the two. All you can hope for is that they keep improving and become an even bigger part of the team going forward.
Some @NextGenStats re #Titans WR Treylon Burks:
–He averaged 11 yards after the catch on his 3 receptions, tops in the NFL.
–He averaged 4.9 yards of separation on his 5 targets, second only to Deebo Samuel (5.0).
— John Glennon (@glennonsports) September 12, 2022
It was devastating for the Titans’ fan base when news broke that Harold Landry had torn his ACL in practice. The first question anyone could ask is who will fill the void of his production. He had a team-high 12 sacks last season. Tennessee had a few guys step up on Sunday. Simmons finished the game tied with Rashad Weaver for most sacks in the game with two. Landry will be missed but if Tennessee plays as they did today. This unit can survive the loss of Landry.
Good Teams Do Not Play Down to Bad Team’s Level
The Tennessee Titans must learn to stop playing down to a bad team’s level. This should have been an easy win for Tennessee, had they just kept their foot on the pedal. Week one has been hard on Tennessee the last few years and you have to start asking, does this team start so slow in the first game because the main starters didn’t play during the preseason? If this is the case, the main guys should see a few series in the final preseason game. If no other reason but to just knock some of the rust off. Tennessee has to do everything in its power to not start 0-2.