After a holding penalty on the kick return to start the Titans' second drive of the night, the Titans found themselves in familiar territory. Inside their own 10 yard line. The drive ended poorly after only gaining 19 yards, but was not as bad as it seems on paper. There's some good to be taken from this, especially in regards to last years team.
I was impressed with the Titans play calling from their own 8 yard line, as they elected to run the ball three straight times. I believe last year they would have thrown on first down, maybe ran on second, and ended up going three-and-out regardless only to punt the ball off the goal line at best and giving the ball back with a mere 40 seconds run off the clock.
While nothing to get too excited about, the 6 play 19 yard drive got the team out of the end zone and gave the defense a break. The offense was able to keep the ball for 3:28 and better their field position by a bit at the same time. It should also be noted that the incomplete pass to end the drive hit Taylor Thompson in the hands, though not on target and a difficult catch in traffic.
Not only does this show a change in the play calling, but also the teams ability to do what it wants. The Titans have spent the off season obsessed with being able to run the ball at will, especially in short yardage situations. That's exactly what they did when backed up deep in their own territory. The symbiosis between the two phases of offense and defense shouldn't be lost here either. The defense had just made it's second goal line stand in a row, and had they been forced back on the field a few plays later, it may have been the straw that broke the camel's back on the next drive.
No longer having that sense of dread when the Titans are pinned deep or face 3rd and short will be a wonderful thing to lose as a fan. Having the confidence that you can consistently convert 3rd downs and keep the opposing defense on the field is something that can permeate throughout the team to every position in every phase. From what little we've seen so far, the Titans aren't just talking the talk, but also doing what they said they would do.