Our fearless leader Jimmy Morris wrote an excellent article on Todd Downing and the lack of play action following the Week 1 loss to the Cardinals.
Downing called play action passes on just five (7.3%) of Ryan Tannehill’s dropbacks in Week 1, according to Next Gen Stats. After the game, Downing said the team faced too many second-and-long or third-and-long situations which prevented them from using more play action.
It was a terrible debut for Downing but one thing about good coaches is that they quickly adjust and learn from their mistakes. We don’t know if Downing is a “good” coordinator yet, but the progress he showed in Week 2 was very promising.
Tannehill went 9-for-12 for 162 yards on 14 play action drop backs against Seattle, per Pro Football Focus. That’s good for a healthy 18 yards per completion and a QB rating of 116.7! It gets better. Those three incompletions? They were all drops. Tannehill’s big day on play action could have been even bigger.
Total 180 for #Titans on play-action Sun., after just 5 play-action attempts Week 1.— John Glennon (@glennonsports) September 20, 2021
Week 2 play-action for Tannehill, per @PFF:
--On 14 dropbacks: 9-for-12, 162 yards; averaged 18 yards per completion.
--All 3 incompletions were drops.
--1 sack, 1 scramble.
--QB rating: 116.7.
One thing Downing will praise for the success of play action in Week 2 is the performance of Derrick Henry. The King finished the game with an astounding 182 yards 35 carries. That’s good for an impressive 5.2 yards per carry. Henry added 55 yards on a career-high six receptions, bringing his final stat line to 237 total yards on the day.
An underrated aspect of Henry’s game on Sunday was how good he was in pass protection. The Titans can’t make a lot of those play action passes without Henry stepping up to the plate in that role.
Seeing how Downing adjusted to his disastrous Week 1 is a very promising sign for his projection going forward.