By JASON MARTIN (@JMartZone – November 10, 2019)
No. It was basically the perfect jump, so good in real time it fools you into thinking it was illegal, but it wasn’t. No question the national media wants KC, not TEN, so seeing some of the responses wasn’t at all surprising, but this was just a fabulous, once-in-a-career kind of play to win it. Nothing more needs to be said.
Plenty more needs to be said right here. The numbers don’t leap out at you, but Ryan Tannehill is inching towards getting another season as the Titans attempt to find the long term future. He played hard, he played tough, he was physical on a key two-point conversion try, and he threw some beautiful passes at times in this football game.
Add to it yet another lacking performance from the OL, as they allowed four sacks, none of which were on the quarterback not getting the ball out of his hands. What Tannehill did was contribute to a win and offer everything he could, including a dime to AJ Brown on fourth down late that ALMOST worked, and then that game winning drive where he was in complete sync with his receivers.
Tannehill threw 31 fewer passes than reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, but it’s Mahomes who heads back to Kansas City on the losing end of his last three starts. Not that this was on him, especially when he was barely mobile… as he had a terrific day. But Tannehill managed the game, then made a few plays, and it turned out to be enough.
Ate. 188 yards on 23 carries, including quite a few after contact. The OL still wasn’t good, but this is about the number of carries the Titans need in order to win football games. Derrick Henry is the best player on the offense and the team’s identity should always run through him, and never through Dion Lewis, who thankfully got zero attempts on this day.
This is the performance Henry should be known for more regularly, and when he gets these kind of opportunities against a KC rush defense that, although they’ve been better over the past month, has consistently been one of the worst in the league for years.
IF the Titans are going to make a run toward the Wildcard, which I’m on record as saying they’ll fail in doing… it’s going to be behind 22 first and foremost, giving the defense time, and perhaps a bit of a score cushion. This was a day where the defense couldn’t do it all, not against Andy Reid’s offense, so the offense had to do more. And they managed to do it.
THE KICKING GAME
KC will likely be talking far more about this after the disaster that led to the game winning drive with the shortened field, but Ryan Succop is struggling. He missed the first extra point early, adding to 0-3 last week on field goals. These are points a shaky, inconsistent football team has to have, and right now, you can’t have any confidence in Ryan Succop’s ability to make a kick when you need him most.
Is there a better option out there somewhere? No clue, but Succop’s job security (and perhaps his health) are only going to face more questions and challenges as the Titans have the bye week to try and get right before the stretch run this season. Still, the Titans aren’t a team that will blow people out, so every point, and definitely every field goal, are enormously important.
TITANS PLAYING UP TO COMPETITION
It’s a narrative that existed last year against the Eagles and Patriots, but I didn’t see it coming against Kansas City, even being at home and with Mahomes coming back from injury and unable to move around as usual. This was a gritty win that required some nuttiness, but it doesn’t matter what it took as long as Tennessee had more points on the board when the clock struck zero in the fourth quarter.
Still, what’s most infuriating about the Titans is their inconsistency and how they can put together this kind of game without Casey, without Delanie, without Corey Davis, without Jayon Brown, but at full strength they can lose at home to Buffalo or they can go to Denver and get embarrassed by a team that can’t score points.
This is not a good football team. Good teams don’t do this. It’s now the most boring interesting team ever, because they’ll lose and lose and lose and then beat the Saints in a few weeks. They’re still going 8-8 at best though.
WHAT’S ON TAP AFTER THE RESPITE
Here’s the rest of the schedule: Jaguars (with Nick Foles), @Colts, @Raiders, Texans, Saints, @Texans.
It’s highly possible every remaining opponent is a playoff team, with two potentially getting first round byes. That’s what’s left for the Titans. If they keep up the “playing up to competition” stuff, there shouldn’t be any game where they have a let down. It shouldn’t be hard to get up for any of these ball games, NONE of them. But, you can lose maybe one more and that’s it.
I just don’t see how that’s possible. Soon enough we’ll see if I’m blind.
Patrick Mahomes threw for 445 yards, 3 TDs and no picks… and Tyreke Hill went over 150 receiving. That’s with the former not being 100% and the latter also still recovering from injury. But that’s about what you’d expect (or close) if both were healthy. The Titans weren’t healthy at all, yet they won the game. However it happened, and that was mind boggling and insane to watch on every conceivable level, the Titans are 5-5 and there’s a glimmer of hope.
But the remainder of the schedule…should they somehow finish 4-2 in those six games, that might not be good enough and that would be VERY impressive. That’s what the Bills and Broncos losses were, and that’s what the Jaguars loss was… it’s made these six must-wins. It’s why you have to handle business against the teams you should beat, so you can have some leeway against better opponents.