The Titans have a lot on the line this weekend in Houston, specifically a spot in the postseason.
But that’s not all... Not that anyone in the building cares about individual stats, but as fans, it’s fun to champion our players when they accomplish certain milestones. Plus, a number of players will likely have contract incentives they may either hit or fall short of on Sunday (maybe you heard about the stat correction last weekend that resulted in Giants’ LB Markus Golden receiving a $1M bonus).
I’m not sure what incentives the Titans’ players can hit (outside of Ryan Tannehill), but let’s take a look at the statistical milestones in play and what needs to happen Sunday to get there.
A few weeks ago, it seemed like a virtual lock that Harold Landry would post the first double-digit sack season for the Titans since Brian Orakpo had 10.5 in 2016.
Landry picked up his 9th sack of the year in the Titans’ December 1st win over Indianapolis, but he’s been stuck there ever since.
If Landry can get to DeShaun Watson on Sunday (or possibly A.J. McCarron), he’ll grab his 10th sack and his first double-digit sack season as a pro. Landry returned to practice Friday after missing Thursday for non-injury related reasons, so there should be no doubt about his status for this game.
And while we’re on the subject of sacks, Jurrell Casey and Kamalei Correa need 1 sack apiece to reach 5 for the season.
Two Titans are chasing a 5-interception season, as Kevin Byard and Logan Ryan sit at 4 each.
No one else has more than 1 pick this year (besides Malcolm Butler, who has 2 but is on IR).
1,000 Receiving Yards
Rookie receiver A.J. Brown is having a stellar year. It didn’t take him long to become the Titans’ de facto #1 WR, and he has a chance to become the Titans’ first 1,000-yard wide receiver since Kendall Wright in 2013.
Brown currently sits at 48 catches for 927 yards and 7 touchdowns (receiving). He needs just 2 catches to hit 50 on the season, and if he can rack up 73 yards this weekend, he’ll hit 1000. He’s already at 987 scrimmage yards thanks to 60 rushing yards, as well. In the crazy event that he catches 3 more touchdowns this weekend, he would be the first Titans receiver to score double-digit touchdowns since 2004 when Drew Bennett had 11. He already has the most receiving touchdowns in a season for the Titans since Rishard Matthews’ 9 in 2016.
Corey Davis is 43 yards away from a 600-yard season and one catch short of 40 receptions, and he has been cleared to play this weekend. While not quite the output many expected from the former No. 5 overall pick, Davis has been a strong complimentary playmaker to Brown.
Jonnu Smith has a shot at a 500-yard season, too, if he can pick up 61 receiving yards this weekend.
1,500 Rushing Yards and the NFL Rushing Title
Derrick Henry’s absence in Week 16 hurt the Titans’ chances of beating the Saints, but it also hurt Henry’s chances of winning the 2019 NFL rushing title.
Henry now sits at 1,329 yards, trailing the league leader Nick Chubb by 124 yards. That means Henry has to outrush Chubb by 124 this weekend to overtake him, and he’ll have to do so while holding off Christian McCaffrey, too.
Henry needs 171 yards to hit 1,500 on the year, and if he carries it over the goal line a couple times, he’ll also hit 15 rushing touchdowns.
Ryan Tannehill hit the two milestones I would’ve highlighted here in last week’s game against the Saints, surpassing 2,500 passing yards (2,544 to be exact) and also throwing his 20th touchdown.
But Tannehill has a chance to achieve a truly remarkable passing statistic if he plays well against Houston.
Players in NFL history with a completion rate of at least 70.0 percent and a passing average of at least 9.0 yards per attempt (qualifiers only):— Erik Bacharach (@ErikBacharach) December 26, 2019
3. Sammy Baugh in 1945
2. Joe Montana in 1989
1. Ryan Tannehill in 2019 pic.twitter.com/8aHpjJhQpS
If Tannehill can maintain his 70+ completion percentage and keep his yards per attempt over 9.0 (currently 9.6), he’ll become just the third QB in NFL history to do so for a season, currently with the highest YPA and comp% of anyone who’s accomplished this feat.
If he can maintain his league lead in passer rating, as well, he’ll be the first Titan to lead the NFL in both passer rating and yards per attempt since Steve McNair in 2003.
Ryan Tannehill leads the NFL in passer rating (116.5) and yards/attempt (9.6). Last player to lead NFL in both metrics was Matt Ryan in his 2016 MVP season. Last Titans player to lead NFL in both metrics was Steve McNair in 2003, when he and Peyton Manning were co-MVPs.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) December 26, 2019
As far as incentives, Tannehill has hit his “active in 13 games” bonus for $250K, and he’s passed the 224-attempt threshold needed to activate his passer rating bonus, which will almost certainly be $1M (over 96.0). He’s also hit the lowest tier for passing yards ($250K), but if he throws for 206 yards Sunday, he’ll hit the next level ($750K). He needs a whopping 456 yards to reach the $1M bonus for 3,000 passing yards.
20 passing touchdowns was good for a $500K bonus, but if he throws 3 more on Sunday, he’ll reach $750K, and if he can manage 5 passing touchdowns he’ll hit the $1M.
All in all, Tannehill has already earned $3.4M in bonuses with a pretty good shot at $625K more. If he gets named to the Pro Bowl (currently just an alternate), he’ll make another $100K.
Stats are fun, but the most important thing is to get the win this weekend. Still, hitting some of these milestones would boost the Titans chances of making the playoffs immensely.