Title Photo: John Amis / AP
With both the Titans and Saints missing their star running backs, Derrick Henry, and Alvin Kamara, respectively, this game was set up to be a defensive battle. Well, that came to be true, with both defenses adopting bend-but-don’t-break strategies, with 4 total field goals, and 10 total punts. The Titans came out on top in the end, 23-21, getting their 6th straight win, and staying on top of the AFC.
The game started off slowly, with 4 straight punts, 2 from each side, before the Titans got the ball, and drove down to the New Orleans 10, but were stopped. Randy Bullock came out for a 28-yard field goal, which he made. 3-0 Tennessee. Trevor Seimian and the Saints answered, with an 11-yard pass to Tre’Quan Smith. But Brian Johnson missed the PAT, and the score stayed at 6-3, Saints. Tennessee decided to take advantage of that, and kicked a 36-yard field goal, to tie the game at 6, instead of being down by 1. New Orleans punted on their next drive, and the Titans started to gain some momentum before halftime, with Ryan Tannehill on a QB sneak, to take the lead at 13-6.
Photo: John Amis / AP
That was the score going into halftime. Both teams were sloppy, but the sloppiness was about to get even worse…
The Saints were due to get the ball to start the 2nd half, but on the kickoff, return specialist Deonte Harris fumbled, and the Titans recovered! Tannehill and co. decided to take advantage of it, cashing in for a back-breaking TD, a 2-yard pass to MyCole Pruitt. Bullock nailed the PAT to make the score 20-6. The Saints failed to move the ball on their next drive, giving the ball back to the red hot offense. But this isn’t the offense from the start of the year... No Henry, no Julio Jones, AJ Brown slumping, the Titans promptly punted the ball back, killing their momentum. Nola realized this, and took advantage. They had a long, 5-minute drive, ending with a 13-yard Mark Ingram rushing TD. Johnson missed the point after again, making the Titans lead 8. Just like the first part of the game, the Saints touchdown followed up with two punts. The next score was a Bullock 36-yarder, to extend the lead to 23-15. New Orleans answered with a 20-yard field goal, as the Titans defense held for a big stop. That made the score 23-15, the missed PATs showing up, as the Saints needed 8 points now. This turned out to be the games, as they scored a touchdown with around 1:30 left in the game, but couldn’t get the 2-point-conversion, keeping the score at 23-21, which was the final score.
The offense wasn’t great, but they made the plays necessary to win. AJ Brown has to show up soon, aka now. With Julio on IR, no King, it's up to him to silence his doubters, and show them that he’s a number one. He can’t have one grab for 16 yards every week.
Photo: Gray McCullough / AP
The defense is top-5. They are playing like one complete unit, and are playing with confidence. The coverage has been great, and the pass rush has been one of the best in the league. This team is defense first now. The offense is serviceable, but they are too banged up right now to win shootouts, but it's good that the defense is this good. TITAN UP!
Fantasy Performer of the Week
The Fantasy Performer of the Week goes to, drumroll please……….. Trevor Siemian. The former Titans practice squad player scored 19 points this week, and wins this award for this sloppy game. I wouldn’t sign him though.
My MVP, Improvement, Breakout, and What’s Next
My MVP of the game goes to the Titans defense. Once again they put the King-less kingdom on their back, and got a gritty win. My improvement goes to the running game. Even without Henry, the Titans are still run-first. We can’t have our rushing leader have 30 yards every week, and think that we’ll win.
Photo: Gary McCullough / AP
My breakout for next game goes to the offense as a whole. Playing the Texans next week, they should have a field day… As I said, the Titans will play host to Houston next week, while the Saints will travel to the City of Brotherly Love, and take on the Eagles.