On Sunday the Titans did something they had not done since November 24th, 2013, and that was beat the Raiders. Ryan Tannehill and company did that in convincing fashion with a 42-21 beatdown that included 21 unanswered second half points.
The result was the fourth straight victory for the Titans, the first time they’ve done that since 2017. It appears as if this team is finally jumping over the brick walls that would stall them in the past, though now the biggest test of all comes to play in two of their last three games with the Texans and Titans having the same record through 14 weeks.
Anyway, I thought we’d once again find out what we learned from a team that just can’t stop winning at the moment. Sure enough, I’ve once again found three things we can learn from a team currently firing on all cylinders.
Ryan Tannehill Has The Raiders’ Number
If you told me after 2016 that Ryan Tannehill would replace Marcus Mariota in 2019 and take the Titans to the brink of the playoffs, I would not have believed you. I was actually a supporter of Tannehill during his time with the Dolphins, and outside of 2018—when he was healing from two knee injuries—I never thought he was the problem with those teams. In his seven starts Tannehill has completed 72.73% of his passes for 1,849 yards, 15 touchdowns and 4 interceptions for a passer rating of 121.7.
And against the Raiders Tannehill has been a stud. His teams have beaten the Raiders in each of his four matchups against them, and in those four games he’s completed 71.7% of his passes for 1,158 yards, 9 TD, 2 INT, a 124.4 passer rating, and is throwing for 10.43 yards per attempt. I’d say that’s a pretty good way to end a three-game losing streak to Oakland.
A.J. Brown Is Already A Bigger Difference Maker Than We Had Thought
Coming off the Week 11 bye rookie wideout A.J. Brown had 27 catches for 446 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first 10 games in the NFL. In his last three games he’s caught 12 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 111 receiving yards per game.
Entering the 2019 season, we knew the Titans needed to upgrade the receiving corps badly, and A.J. Brown has done just that. He’s had two 100-yard performances in two of his last three games after coming into the bye with one, and his chemistry with Tannehill is gradually improving each and every week.
Arthur Smith Has Cleaned Up His Act
Much maligned in the early stretch of the season, first-year offensive coordinator Arthur Smith has turned a new leaf (coinciding with a new starter in Tannehill). The team now has the 10th ranked scoring offense in the league and has become one of the league’s most explosive attacks. Derrick Henry and the run game has also seen huge benefits, with 880 rushing yards in the last five games (176 yards per game) after totaling 786 yards and 98.25 yards per game in the first eight games.
Going from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator in a year is not easy for anyone, so Smith’s early struggles with personnel should’ve been expected. With that said he’s done a great job at turning himself around (for now, as this is the Titans, a team that normally has no consistency) and using more favorable play calls for Tannehill, Henry, etc. At this rate it’s very likely he’s retained as the offensive coordinator going into 2020.
What did you guys learn? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below!