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Titans Week 13 Offensive Efficiency Report

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Tennessee Titans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Titans offense had an up-and-down day in their huge 31-17 divisional win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, turning it over a couple of times but also managing 24 offensive points and producing the first 90+ yard rusher allowed by the Colts this season.

So let’s dive into the numbers, continuing our look at the Titans offensive efficiency output and updating our season-long averages and splits.

(You can find last week’s version of this article here if you missed it.)

Drive Success Rate

Drive success rate” (DSR) refers to the percentage of 4-down series resulting in either a first down or a touchdown. Here’s the Titans’ success rates for the week compared to season-long averages:

Drive Success Rate (W13)

Time Drive Success Rate Would Currently Rank:
Time Drive Success Rate Would Currently Rank:
Weeks 7-12 Avg 73.1% 10th
Week 13 65.2% 29th
Weeks 1-6 Avg 65.1% 29th
Ranking data courtesy FootballOutsiders.

The Titans converted 15 of 23 down series in Week 13, their lowest since the Week 8 win over Tampa Bay when they posted a 60.8% DSR. The Colts played well on defense for most of the game, using creative pressure packages to get home for SIX sacks on the day. That plus two one-play fumble drives will hurt this efficiency metric.

Yards Per Drive

Here are the Titans’ average yards gained on each drive for Week 13 compared to season-long averages:

Yards Per Drive (W13)

Time Yards Per Drive Would Currently Rank:
Time Yards Per Drive Would Currently Rank:
Weeks 7-12 Avg 36.4 7th
Week 13 26.2 29th
Weeks 1-6 Avg 24.88 31st
Ranking data courtesy FootballOutsiders.

The Titans gained 288 on 11 drives against Indianapolis, excluding the final drive of the game when they successfully ran out the clock (thanks to the first defensive penalty committed by the Colts since Week 10). This is also the Titans lowest mark since Week 8, when they averaged just 20.7 yards per drive.

It wasn’t the most efficient day for the offense, as they struggled to get much going and largely did not move the ball effectively for the majority of this game.

Three and Outs

Three-and-outs per drive is a simple stat measuring how frequently an offense takes possession and fails to convert a first down, turnovers excluded. Here’s the week 13 numbers against the season averages:

Three-and-Outs Per Drive (W13)

Time 3&Os/Drive Would Currently Rank:
Time 3&Os/Drive Would Currently Rank:
Weeks 7-12 Avg 0.189 14th
Week 13 0.273 29th
Weeks 1-6 Avg 0.29 29th
Ranking data courtesy FootballOutsiders.

Another statistic that represents the Titans inefficient offensive outing. The Titans were guilty of 3 three-and-outs on 11 drives, their highest rate since — you guessed it — Week 8, when they posted a 3&O/drive number of 0.333.

Red Zone Performance

The Titans ended their 10-touchdown red zone streak against the Jaguars when Ryan Tannehill was strip sacked, and this weekend, the team settled for their first red zone field goal of the Tannehill era following a “three-and-out” after Kevin Byard returned an interception to the Colts’ 14-yard line.

They converted their other two red zone trips into touchdowns, giving them a 67% conversion rate in this game. Let’s see how that compares to the season averages:

Red Zone Performance (W13)

Time RZ TD % Would Currently Rank:
Time RZ TD % Would Currently Rank:
Weeks 7-12 Avg 92.9% 1st
Week 13 67% 6th
Weeks 1-6 Avg 53.3% 22nd
Ranking data courtesy teamrankings.com.

Despite the drop in overall conversion rate, the Titans still lead the league in red zone touchdown percentage at 71.88%, narrowly edging Green Bay’s 70%.

Play Action Frequency

This is a category I added to the report last week and have now updated to compare with Week 13’s results:

Play Action Frequency (W13)

Week Opponent PA % Dropbacks PA Dropbacks PA Attempts PA Completions PA TDs PA INTs PA cmp % PA Yards PA YPA PA Passer Rating
Week Opponent PA % Dropbacks PA Dropbacks PA Attempts PA Completions PA TDs PA INTs PA cmp % PA Yards PA YPA PA Passer Rating
7 LAC 28.1% 32 9 8 6 0 1 75.0% 93 11.6 73.4
8 TB 19.4% 36 7 6 3 0 0 50.0% 29 4.8 63.9
9 CAR 13.0% 46 6 5 3 0 1 60.0% 43 8.6 48.3
10 KC 28.0% 25 7 6 5 1 0 83.3% 81 13.5 158.3
12 JAX 63.6% 22 14 10 10 2 0 100.0% 218 21.8 158.3
13 IND 41.4% 29 12 9 7 1 0 77.8% 98 10.9 149.0
7-13 Avg N/A 28.9% 31.7 9.2 7.3 5.7 0.67 0.33 77.3% 93.7 12.8 108.5
Data courtesy ProFootballFocus with research assistance from Zach Lyons/The FWords Pod Research Institute.

The Titans used play action more frequently in this game than in any Tannehill start besides the win over Jacksonville, and it continues to be very effective. Just look at Tannehill’s passer rating the last three weeks when using play action.

If you missed Dan Orlovsky breaking down Tannehill’s performance, check out the video below. Orlovsky talks about how Tannehill’s confidence, decisiveness, and accuracy throwing the ball are allowing the passing game to function with play action even when the linebackers don’t bite on the play fake.

By the way, how bout all this national attention the Titans are receiving this week? The battered fan in me is wary of all the national praise, but also excited. Check out this clip below, too. That’s what exciting offense will do for you!

More national attention means more hype which means better chance of Tannehill and Henry getting into the Pro Bowl.

Tight Window Throws

If you’ve missed the last few editions of this article, I encourage you to read my Week 12 Efficiency Report for a quick refresher on Next Gen Stats’s “aggressiveness percentage” and “completion percentage over expectation.”

Those who’ve been keeping up with this series know that I’ve maintained the belief that Tannehill’s aggressiveness percentage needs to come down in order for the passing offense to sustain success.

Aggressiveness Percentage (W13)

Week Dropbacks Pass Attempts Aggressive Throws Aggressiveness % NFL Rank*
Week Dropbacks Pass Attempts Aggressive Throws Aggressiveness % NFL Rank*
7 32 29 7 24.1% 2nd of 27
8 36 33 11 33.3% T-2nd of 30
9 46 39 5 12.8% 16th of 28
10 25 19 6 31.6% 2nd of 26
12 22 18 3 16.7% 15th of 28
13 29 22 3 13.6% 23rd of 32
7-13 Avg 31.7 26.7 5.8 21.9% 4th of 38
*Minimum 15 attempts for a single game, 105 attempts for the season. NextGenStats

It’s nice to see Tannehill’s aggressiveness percentage come down for the second straight week, but if we take his average as a starter (eliminating his Week 6 numbers), Tannehill is still 4th in the NFL for aggressiveness % on the season!

Again, if you missed my explanation of why aggressiveness percentage shouldn’t be so high and what it all means in last week’s article, you can check that out here.

Completion Percentage Over Expectation

Ryan Tannehill has held a firm grip on the NFL lead for completion percentage above expectation since he first took over as the starting quarterback with an insane +22.1% number in his first start for Tennessee.

After last week’s +11% over expectation (3rd in the NFL for the week), Tannehill is up to +9.6% on the season, a full 3.7% higher than the second place Russell Wilson.

This number shows how well Tannehill has been playing compared to his peers more than any other stat. More on that in a bit...

Negative Plays

Henry again only suffered one negative run in this game, bringing his total up to 2 over the last 4 games. That’s a far cry from his 29 negative runs during the first 8 games (3.6 negative rushes per game on average over that span).

NFL’s NextGenStats

Henry still leads the league in total negative rushes with 31, and in fact his 29 negative carries from weeks 1-8 would be the league-high by itself (Chris Carson is next with 28).

The Titans as a team are first in the NFL in total negative plays with 58, and this stat does not include sacks. After Tannehill was sacked six times on Sunday, the Titans are also tied for the NFL lead in sacks allowed at 49 (25 by Mariota in nearly 6 games, 24 by Tannehill in just over 6 games, 4 of which came on 4 possessions against Denver). The Titans had only one other negative play on Sunday, when they tried to run a screen to Jonnu Smith that was dropped for a 2 yard loss.

Until this game on Sunday, the Titans had done a much better job limiting the negative plays in recent weeks, corresponding to the dramatic increase in offensive output. Operating without negative plays is obviously huge for any team’s efficiency. Over the course of this season, the Titans have been the worst team in the league at avoiding negative plays.

Ben Baldwin charts Expected Points Added per play as well as Completion Percentage Over Expectation. Tannehill finally hit the 200 dropback threshold last weekend, allowing him to qualify for these statistics.

The driving force behind Tannehill’s top spot in the 2019 DAKOTA ratings is his insane CPOE (mentioned earlier). His EPA/dropback is actually quite low by comparison, ranking 12th among qualified passers.

The reason for the relatively low EPA/dropback is the high sack total. When Tannehill actually throws the ball (or takes off with his legs), he is currently the most effective quarterback (statistically speaking) in the league.

The offense has been performing very well, but negative plays will always keep them from reaching their full potential.

Conclusions

The offense didn’t have its best outing last weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium, but they did enough to keep the game close until the special teams unit made a huge play to turn the tide of the match. Then the offense did its job to ice away the game with Tannehill’s 40-yard touchdown to Khalif Raymond before they successfully ran out the clock with Henry (helped by an Indianapolis offsides penalty on the game’s final third down).

The most impressive part of the offense’s day was the two touchdown drives that immediately followed touchdowns by the opposition. After the Colts converted Derrick Henry’s early fumble into a score to go up 7-0, Tannehill answered with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped off with a 3rd-and-8 conversion in the red zone for an Adam Humphries touchdown.

Then, in the second half, the Colts took a 17-7 lead with a long touchdown drive to start the third quarter. The Titans immediately responded, with Henry rushing for 60 of the drive’s 75 yards. The team overcame a holding penalty to pick up a first down and then overcame the only second-half sack they allowed with Henry’s 4th-and-1 touchdown run.

So although it wasn’t the most efficient day on offense, it was encouraging to see the team drive the field for touchdowns when they needed them and step up to seal the victory.