Tales of the Titans: Defense plays well, but playcalling dooms Tennessee in Week 1.
Photo: Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com
Ladies and gents, it is that time of the year! Yes, it is the 2nd week of September, which means a lot of things. School starting, summer winding down, and of course football! Guys, it's back! Fan fights, stressing over fantasy football, idiots leaving grills on during the whole game which destroyed 8 cars (yes this actually did happen at the Dolphins vs. Patriots game), and of course, kickers missing game-winning field goals *cough cough, Evan McPhearson, Randy Bullock*. Man, this is a great time of the year! And for the next 14-16 Sundays I will spend the afternoon on the couch, complaining about refs, managing my various fantasy leagues, and telling my dad how bad Todd Downing is at his job! Oh boy, I love football!
Welcome to the Tales of the Titans! In my 2nd full season, 3rd overall writing about them, even though I reside in New England (don’t even ask how I root for Tennessee), I will cover the Tennessee Titans and their 2022-2023 season. The highs, and the lows. Mike Vrabel’s mustache, and Derrick Henry’s stiff arms. Big Jeff Simmons and the rest of the defensive line’s sacks, and Ryan Tannehill’s smile. So here we go Week 1 baby!
I honestly don’t know what to say. The defense was solid, but couldn’t contain Saquon Barkley in the 2nd half, and he ran all over them. Ryan T had a great 2-minute drill, leading the offense into field goal range with just 1:06 left and one timeout to work with, but Randy Bullock couldn’t hit a 46-yard field goal. Rookie receivers, Kyle Phillips, and Trelyon Burks showed promise, especially Phillps, with a 46-yard punt return, and many clutch 3rd-down conversions, although he did muff a punt, which NY recovered. Burks came as advertised, with 3 grabs for 55 yards, looking like rookie AJ Brown, but I want to see more of him. Back-up running back Dontrell Hilliard had 2 TD grabs, and proved to be a solid 3rd down back, but did drop a crucial pass on 3rd down. Speaking of drops there were a lot of them, and we have to cut those out if we want to win the AFC South again. On the defensive side, we forgot how to tackle, and you kinda need to tackle if you want to win on football, but hey we only have to take Josh Allen down 20 times next week! Losing star EDGE Harold Landry for the year with a torn ACL doesn’t help, but serious, missed tackles are killers.
Aside from the physical mistakes, the atrocious playcalling is holding this team back. Todd Downing, you should not have a job in the NFL right now. My 6-year old cousin who probably doesn’t even know what football is could call a better game than you. Heck, my beagle knows more about football than you and all she does is sleep under my couch all day. Why are you calling a tight end, end-around on a 3rd and 1 with the best power running back in the backfield? I actually want to know this. What could possibly be going around in your head telling you that that will have a better outcome than just simply handing the ball off to King Henry? WHY TODD WHY DO YOU PUT TITANS NATION THROUGH THIS PAIN EVERY WEEK?
Ok now that I am done bullying Downing, here are the juicy stats, and some things that I want to see next Monday in Buffalo:
Ryan Tannehill: 20-33, 266 yards, 8.1 average, 2 touchdowns - 19.34 fantasy pts.
Derrick Henry: 21 carries, 82 yards, 3.9 average, 0 touchdowns - 8.20 fantasy pts.
Kyle Phillps: 6 catches, 66 yards, 11.0 average - 6.6 fantasy pts.
Treylon Burks: 3 catches, 55 yards, 18.3 average - 8.5 fantasy pts.
Robert Woods: 1 catch, 13 yards, 13.0 average - 2.30 fantasy pts.
Alright, so these numbers are very interesting. The King had a solid game, even though he didn’t score or have a huge run, he showed signs of his old self. Tannehill has trust in the two rookies, even though I would like to see more of Burks. The puzzling thing here is the veteran Woods. He caught the first pass of the game, and then had just one target the rest of the game. I don’t like that at all. He needs to be at the top of the list, as he is the leader of this receiving group, and he needs to show the youngins how it's done, or we aren’t winning this division. Again this is on Todd Downing to realize.
Tennessee has an extra day of rest, as they play on Monday night in Buffalo, and to say the least, we need the extra day to regroup. We lost badly last year at home vs. Arizona, and the season wasn’t over then, but in the stacked AFC you don’t want to lose games early, and it won’t be easy going into BillsMafia and coming out of there 1-1. It's going to take heart and guts, and I trust Mike Vrabel to lead us there, with our heads held high, and ready to play. Because if he doesn’t, the season could be over and I’m not joking at all. Ending this edition of “The Tales of the Titans” high, former Titan Marcus MariGOATa played well in his Falcons debut, with 215 passing yards, and another 72 and a TD on the ground. #MyQB. Anyways, for every game Tennessee loses I will wear my Mariota jersey to school the next day. I hope tomorrow is the only time I have to…