Updated: Dec 29, 2020
With the Colts losing to the Steelers earlier in the day, the Titans had the opportunity to lock up the AFC South and cruise to the playoffs. The Titans, unfortunately, could not capitalize. Playing on “Sunday Night Football” the Packers proved, even with no fans, home-field-advantage is still a thing. They trounced the Titans 40-14 in the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
Things did not start well at all for the Titans, as the opening kickoff for Stephen Gostkowski went out of bounds. In turn, that gave the ball to Aaron Rodgers at the 40-yard line. The Packers made quick work of the good field position, scoring on a 5-yard pass from Rodgers to his All-Pro wideout, Davante Adams.
PHOTO CREDIT: tennessean.com
In the snowy conditions, kicker Mason Crosby shanked the extra point, making the score at 6-0. Tennessee got into Packers territory, but rather than let Gostkowski kick a 50-yard field goal, coach Mike Vrabel opted to punt. Rodgers and the rest of the Green Bay offense came onto the field, and on a 3rd and long were stuffed on a screen pass. Titans' middle linebacker was penalized for hands-to-the-face, resulting in a first down. That killed the Titans and the Packers scored on a 21-yard Rodgers pass to Equanimeous St. Brown. Green Bay decided to go for 2, as the kicking game was a bit sketchy. Aaron Jones tried to run it up the gut, but it didn’t work, as they couldn’t get to. The score was 12-0 Green Bay.
Things only got worse from there as Ryan Tannehill was picked off by Darnell Savage, setting up another Rodgers-Adams TD. Crosby was able to make the PAT, and the lead was widened to 19-0, Packers. The next Titans drive started off horrible as Tannehill was sacked twice on the drive and had to punt again. The defense of the Titans held, and on 4th and 8 they blocked the field goal. Amani Hooker brought it back inside Packers territory. That hype was short-lived, as Joshua Kalu was offsides. It was a very questionable call, and being a Titans fan myself, I was not happy. To this point, there were many holds that weren’t being called, and the Packers weren’t getting penalized, and then this happened.
Packers Matt LaFleur, a former Titans offensive coordinator, went for it on 4th and 3. Finally, Tennessee pressured Rodgers, and Wyatt Ray got a sack. The Titan's offense got something going and scored on a Tannehill to Jonnu Smith pass for 6. The PAT was made by Gostkowski, and the Packer's lead was cut to 19-7. The Tennessee offense got the ball and moved down the field and used Derrick Henry more, and scored on a beautiful fake, as Tannehill took the read-option to the house. 45 yards dash from the QB! The point after was good, and the score was 19-14. But that was the last Tennessee score of the night. The Packers scored on another Rodgers -Adams score, and two rushing TDs for rookie runner AJ Dillion, 30 yards and 7 yards. The final score was 40-14 in a Packers romp.
PHOTO CREDIT: packerswire.usatoday.com
There were not many of them, but David Long, a middle linebacker did well. Once Jayon Brown went down with an injury, Long has stepped in and played well. This game was no exception. He was one of the few bright spots on the Titan's defense.
Malcolm Butler picked off Aaron Rodgers. Although the game was already over when he did it, it’s a good sign that the defense actually did something!
There was a lot in this category. Let’s start with the pass rush. The Titans pass rush is terrible to state it at best. It is just ugly, and they can’t get pressure on the QB, and in the playoffs that will hurt them big time.
Corey Davis. This guy has a great game and then disappears and re-emerges. This was a disappointing game for him, and he’ll have to be more consistent.
O-Line. They let lots of pressure get on Tannehill, and the run game couldn’t get going at all. Maybe this was an off-game, but they’ll have to be better in the postseason.
Overall these were the big Cons. They will have to be better next week when the Titans can clinch the division vs. the Texans.
Will King Henry Rush Into History?
Although he rushed for only 98 yards, he has a chance, but it’s very small. Right now the King has 1,777 yards, which does lead the league, he needs 223 yards vs. the weak Texans run defense. He put up over 200 last time they played Houston, but he had overtime to do it as well. To break Chris Johnson’s single-season franchise record of 2,006, set back in 2009, the King will need 230 yards against Houston. And finally, a record that he has virtually no chance of breaking, the All-Time single-season record, set by Eric Dickerson, of 2,105 yards, the King will need 328 vs. the Texans. He’ll have to be the first man in NFL history to rush for over 300 yards in one game! If Tractorcito is able to get over 2,000, the Titans would be the first team in NFL history to have multiple 2,000+ yard rushers. Good luck, Derrick!
This was an ugly game and I do contribute some of the blame to the snow, on the frozen tundra. Tennessee doesn’t have to play in the snow, while the Packers do it once, twice, and maybe even three times a year. The Titans also started off sluggish, which hurt them again. If this team wants to win a Super Bowl, I think these things need to happen: A) The offense gets back to its normal 20+ points per game. B) Don’t make costly penalties. This happens so much to the defense! And finally, C) The pass rush becomes a least an average one, or the secondary becomes the best in the league. The offense can’t keep bailing out the defense every single game. On Sunday the offense couldn’t keep up and the defense couldn’t stop the Packer's offense. The final stat leaders were: Passing; Tannehill, 11-24 for 121 yards, one touchdown, and 2 INT’s. Rushing; Henry, 23 carries for 98 yards. Receiving; AJ Brown, 4 grabs for 43 yards.
PHOTO CREDIT: pro32ap.org
The Titans can clinch the division title and at least the 4 seed in the playoffs with a win next Sunday in NRG Stadium vs. the Houston Texans. With Colt's loss to the Steelers in Week 16, the Titans did not need to beat Green Bay, and that is what happened. Tennessee’s best record can be 11-5 and the 3 or 4 seed. Their worst record can be 10-6 and a Wild-Card team, or even out of the playoffs! The Titans control their destiny and we’ll see if they can beat the Texans to get into the playoffs.