The Titans have finally exorcised the demands and defeated their arch nemesis the Colts! Even though the Colts best player, Andrew Luck was out with an injury, the victory still feels great. It was like getting a King Kong sized money off our back. Obviously none of it would have happened if not for the return of our hero, Marcus Mariota. He played though a tough injury and willed the Titans to victory. It was shades of vintage Steve McNair. As a whole though the Titans had some ups and downs, but overall looked much improved since the Houston debacle.
It took a little while for the passing offense to get going, and early on it appeared that Mariota was severely limited by the injury, but when he got into a rhythm, he was lethal. I am sort of hoping they start limiting Mariota’s runs and allow him to sling the ball all over the place. However, it could be argued that Mariota’s legs could have given the team a few more touchdowns as opposed to field goals during the game. Eric Decker showed up for the first time all season and played well, and of course Taywan Taylor looked great. I am really exited for him. I hope that they try to work him in a little more every week. Rishard Mathews played good, and even though Delanie Walker did not have a huge game, he presence on the field made a significant factor. As for the pass blocking, I thought the line was exceptional, even with the Colts launching numerous late hits against Mariota. Taylor Lewan especially played out of his mind, and has sort of become one of the more important leaders of the team. His vocal outburst and quirky personality have become positives for the team, as opposed to earlier in his career when he was constantly flagged in games and had a questionable attitude.
I thought that the run game was sold, but not as dominant as I would hope it would be against a suspect Colts defense. For instance, if not for Derrick Henry’s long score at the end of the game bot running back would have had less than sixty yards each. However, I thought that the coaches did a great job rotating the two running backs. Henry is flashier right now, and DeMarcoMurray has lost a step, but he is still the better pass blocker and receiver. Thus, both players need to be involved, and they were in this game, even being on the field at the same time. Therefore, I have to give the coaches credit they did a fine job. Additionally, Jalston Fowler is an absolute beast. I love watching him annihilate some linebackers.
The only thing to really complain about with the offense is the exotic plays, which were largely trash. The wildcat and the Walker toss in the redzone were abhorrent. I understand that the Walker play set up the later touchdown run from Murray, but they should not have to do that. They are a smash mouth team, they should just line up and crush the opponent, and not have to rely on insane trick plays that Jon Gruden mocks on the broadcast. The exotic plays do not work; throw them out of the playbook.
The defense had its fair share of issues during the game, and I was ready to start Fire Dick Lebeau.com, but they made the right adjustments and completely stopped the Colts in the second half.
I think with the exception of Jurrell Casey the d-line has some issues. He was the only one that could get any pressure. Daquan Jones does not do much, and Karl Klug may be declining. As for Austin Johnson, they played him at nose tackle instead of Sly Williams, who has been a huge disappointment, and he still did not do much. Kevin Dodd is still out too. There is just a lot of underachievement on the d-line. They should have shredded the Colts pathetic offensive line.
The linebackers played great. Wesley Woodyard may be the team’s defensive MVP for the season. He has played lights-out. Jayon Brown found a way to stop Titans killer Jack Doyle. Brian Orakpo, Derrick Morgan, and Erik Walden had solid games coming off of the edge. Although I miss Aaron Wallace, I hope he is able to come back later on this season.
After a horrendous start, the secondary got it together by the second half. They even limited TY Hilton to one catch. Unbelievable. That is the best the Titans have ever done against Hilton. Logan Ryan has been great this year. They really should put him on the opposing teams number one receiver more often.
Overall the team still has a lot of work. The defense as to stop with getting off to the slow starts, and the offense needs to recapture its redzone magic from last years. Still, things are looking up again. The Titans beat a terrible Colts team, but it was still a division win against a team that the Titans had not beaten in five years. They should celebrate, but not too much.