Titans Week 4 Recap

The Titans leave the field after losing to the Jets in overtime at MetLife Stadium Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021 in East Rutherford, N.J.
Photo courtesy of GEORGE WALKER IV / TENNESSEAN.COM

Recap

I have finally come out of the deep depression the Titans put me in seemingly multiple times per year. Last year, it was a loss to the lowly Cincinnati Bengals and this year the team decided to give the 0-3 New York Jets their first win of the season. It seems evident the team was taking the game for granted, intentionally holding out players with meddling injuries in hopes of an easy week 4 matchup. Wrong. There’s a reason the phrase “any given Sunday” is as revered as it is, and rookie QB Zach Wilson took it to heart as he clobbered the Titans all day for his first career win. Regrettably, let’s dive into just how bad the Titans were.

The Good:

Despite having a glorified practice squad to throw to and being pummeled in the pocket all day long, Ryan Tannehill was far from a problem in this game. He completed 30 passes for just under 300 yards and threw a brilliant goal-line touchdown to Cameron Batson.

Derrick Henry continues to defy every NFL analytics by proving that A) investment in running backs isn’t always a bad idea and B) like a fine wine he keeps getting better with age. Obviously, the team needs its receiving weapons back as it’s not feasible to continue giving this man 35-plus touches week in and week out. If there was ever a man built to withstand the load, King Henry fits the bill.

Mike Vrabel coached his ass off in this game, continuing his impressive run of manipulating the rule book and gaining every minor advantage he can for his team. There was one play in particular where he called a timeout to extend the possibility of a booth review. Then once the play was stopped for a review, he was able to get his timeout back due to the play being under review prior to calling his timeout. His game management has improved year after year and if you truly believe he is the reason we lost, I would invite you to look at some of the Titans’ teams coached by his predecessors.

Harold Landry looks to be playing himself into a nice contract after this season. The 4th-year pro led the team in tackles (7), sacks (1), TFL (3), and was responsible for the lone QB hit on Wilson.

While I don’t feel that any of these four heavily contributed to the loss, it’s hard not to place some of the blame on the head coach, quarterback or star player. Could they have done more to secure a victory? Absolutely. But anyone watching the game knows the atrocity of Tennessee’s play in the trenches and secondary led to the most embarrassing loss of the young season.

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel argues with a ref during overtime of their game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021 in East Rutherford, N.J.
Photo courtesy of GEORGE WALKER IV / TENNESSEAN.COM

The Bad:

  • No Titans’ pass-catcher receiving multiple targets was able to haul in each reception, aside from Henry.
  • Injuries are showing their ugly faces each week, and when Ben Jones went down for a bit in this one, Aaron Brewer filled in and promptly launched a snap over Tannehill’s head thwarting a Red Zone opportunity.
  • Chunk plays have been a problem with the Titans all year long. They play their DBs off the ball so far as to not get beat deep, but with the pass rush in disarray, QB’s have been able to escape the pocket and connect on long throws. The Jets completed two passes of 50-plus yards on Sunday.
  • Randy Bullock absolutely shanked his possibility of locking down the starting kicker position for good, handing the team a loss in the process. Hard to imagine it was the wrong call given the state of the game, but Bullock failed miserably regardless.

Overview

Just one week after beating IND despite losing the turnover battle (3-0), the Titans lose to NYJ despite winning the turnover battle in this one (1-0). In fact, the Titans were better than the Jets in terms of total yards (430-355), first downs (30-16), yards per rush (4.8-2.6), and time of possession (40:42-29:03).

The Titans are clearly a better team than the Jets. No one with any sort of football knowledge could dispute that. But for 69-plus minutes on Sunday, Tennessee played down to the level of their competition. Unfocused? Trap game? However you break it down, this was an embarrassing loss on all fronts and fills the mantra of “Same old Titans” that every Twitter user has latched onto this week. What was thought to be two easy wins leading into the gauntlet of their mid-season schedule has now put Tennessee in must-win mode against a struggling Jacksonville team in Week 5. While their head coach grinds on middle-aged women in the bars, hopefully the Titans’ head coach can get their heads on straight as dates with Kansas City, Buffalo, and Los Angeles loom large.

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