More Thoughts on Titans-Jaguars

Andrew has already posted his thoughts on the Titans’ 13-10 win over the Jaguars this afternoon, and I thought I’d add mine as well.The Titans managed a split with the Jags last year, but that wasn’t truly indicative of how the run of play went. The game in Jacksonville was a 37-7 blowout every bit as ugly as the final score indicated. The defense couldn’t stop the Jags, the Titans couldn’t run the ball, VY couldn’t hit anybody, and when he did the receivers couldn’t catch the ball (I counted 7 drops on 21 first half passes). The Titans won the second game 24-17, but the offense had a bad game, possibly VY’s worst of the year.
And today? Today was a pleasant surprise.In particular, like Andrew, I was hugely impressed with the Titans’ run game today, both offensively and defensively.
On the offense, the Jags’ two star defensive tackles, Henderson and Stroud, typically make running very difficult, especially up the middle. I’ll have more to say about this when I do Upon Further Review later this week, but the Titans had great success not just running the ball, but running the ball up the middle. Brown in particular had a great game, 19 carries for 175 yards. And it wasn’t just a couple big runs; Brown was consistently getting good yardage on almost every single play. Heck, he even converted a 3&1 in the Red Zone, two of his traditional bugbears. White had semi-decent stats, 18 for 66, and had some good runs, most importantly the game-clinching 3rd down conversion. As I noted in my comments on the fourth preseason game, White sometimes looks successful in overall stats, but is often not consistently successful. And so it was today–too many short runs for my liking.
About the Titans’ pass game today, the less said, the better. VY had a nice completion percentage, but the pass game seemed almost as vanilla and short as it was during the regular season. For all the success the Titans had running the ball, they only had 13 points. The Titans only had 2 pass plays over 10 yards, and didn’t even try very often to throw the ball downfield. And VY during the middle of the game really seemed to struggle throwing the ball. Again, I’ll have more to say on this when I do Upon Further Review.
As mentioned above, the rush D was especially impressive. I expected both Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew to run all over the Titans, but they were completely shut down for the first half, and, aside from the first drive of the second half, were hardly any more productive after halftime. I’ll be especially interested when I do my inaugural defensive Upon Further Review to see how exactly the Titans managed this.
In fact, Garrard looked like the Jags’ entire offense for most of the game. While he had less success late, he moved around well in the pocket and hit receivers with some generally good throws. The Jags seemed to be targeting Finnegan early and often, in particular being him for the long TD pass to the rookie Broussard, but Harper faced a few passes himself later in the game.
The Colts should prevent a much stiffer test next week, both offensively and defensively. And unless the Titans improve offensively, they may well look like the Saints did on offensive and quite possibly get steamrolled. Of course, I thought the same last year, and the Titans managed a close loss in Week 5 and a win in Nashville later in the year.
Anyway, I’ll have more to say when I do Upon Further Review later this week. Look for Offense hopefully Wednesday or Thursday, with Defense to follow a day or three later.

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