This game didn’t go the Titans fans probably wanted it to, but a win is a win and now Tennessee is one step closer to returning to the playoffs for a second straight season. Their fourth win in a row also clinched a winning season for a third straight year, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished in the Titans Era until now.
To make the playoffs the Titans still need just a little help — two losses from the Texans or one loss from either the Steelers or Ravens — along with a win over the Colts in Week 17, but they’ve done their part to keep hopes alive for another week. Here are the winners and losers from Titans 25, Redskins 16.
Henry was effective yet again, gaining 84 yards on 21 carries along with a touchdown and doing some of his best work on the game winning drive in the 4th quarter. Tennessee’s offense suffered when it went away from him at times during the game. Henry continues to look like a man among boys.
When the Titans needed him most, Butler stepped up. Not only did he end the game with a pick six, but he helped force Kevin Byard’s interception on the drive before that put the Redskins in desperation mode. After a rocky start, Butler has really turned it on over the back half of the season. With Logan Ryan out, they needed him to play big and he did.
When a backup corner comes into the game, the highest compliment you can give is that you didn’t even notice them. Sims was quiet as a mouse on Saturday and that’s exactly how the Titans wanted him.
Byard was the beneficiary of Butler’s pressure, but he was also in the right spot at the right time (as he often is). He also made 9 tackles and had 2 pass breakups along the way. He’s up to 12 interceptions over the past two seasons. The fact that this guy isn’t going to the Pro Bowl is insane.
The Redskins didn’t give the Titans pass rush a ton of opportunities, but Landry was able to get home for a big sack late in the game that forced a Washington field goal and gave the offense a chance to make the game winning drive happen. Landry needs more help, but he’s going to be a good one for a long time here.
Taylor didn’t put up huge numbers — 3 grabs for 64 yards — but he was very efficient, catching all of his targets a week after having a bad drop. Taylor and the rest of the Titans passing attack will be needed to keep up with Andrew Luck and the Colts next week.
Say what you want about Gabbert — and I get it, he’s extremely hard to watch sometimes — but he’s largely done his job this season. He helped the Titans get a crucial win over the Texans early in the year and then came in cold in this one to help them get a massive win to save the season. Gabbert started slow, but turned it on late to lead a clutch game winning drive. Props to him for getting it done against a tough defense.
Injuries suck. Injuries to two of a team’s best players in the same game really suck. Marcus Mariota suffered another stinger — further indication that something still isn’t right with the nerves in that throwing arm — and had to leave the game before halftime. His status for Sunday’s critical game against the Colts will be the topic of conversation all week.
To make matters worse, the Titans lost their best player later in the game. Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey is almost certainly done for the year with a knee injury. The hope now has to be that it’s not a tear that could cost him part of the 2019 season. For a team that’s already without Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith, Jack Conklin, and Logan Ryan losing Casey is yet another brutal blow.
Jackson wasn’t horrible in this game, but he missed a huge opportunity that nearly swung the game the wrong way. He had a chance to undercut Michael Floyd’s flat route at the goal line on Washington’s only touchdown of the game, but instead he turned his head back to the receiver and gave up the score. If Jackson looks for the ball, he’s picking it off and taking it 99 yards for a touchdown going the other way.
The entire offensive line struggled early, especially in pass protection, but Kline was a near-constant problem. He simply couldn’t hang with the talented Redskins duo of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. That’s as good of a defensive tackle duo as you’ll find this side of Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, but this wasn’t a very good showing from Kline.
Anthony Firkser’s perfect record
Firkser had caught a perfect 16 of 16 NFL targets before a pass to him was knocked away by Redskins linebacker Mason Foster. His 2 catches on 3 targets for 16 yards brings his catch rate down to just 94.7% on the season.
The Titans run defense
The Titans run defense has been up and down all season and after a couple weeks of being up they went back down today. Adrian Peterson wasn’t able to bust loose for any huge gains — his long on the day was just 13 yards — but he was consistently able to get 4, 5, 6 yards and keep the Redskins ahead of the chains. Tennessee will need to do a better job against the Colts rushing attack next week if they want to make the playoffs.
Adrian Peterson kicked his ass all up and down the field at Nissan Stadium today. He finished with 119 yards on 26 carries. The dude is absolutely incredible at age 33.
The NFC East