From 0-2 to 2-2 — to 3-2 ... the Tennessee Titans have suddenly won three straight. None of them have been pretty, and that same story rung true today in Washington.
The Titans worked the screen game to get on the scoreboard first. A Derrick Henry screen got them in range, then a double-screen look at Dontrell Hilliard capped the drive off. Tennessee shook off a bit of a sleepy start, and found themselves up 7-0 in the first quarter.
But that didn’t last very long.
Washington added a field goal, then Carson Wentz unloaded to Dyami Brown for six. It was a 75 yard score, as Brown got behind Caleb Farley. The former first round pick continues to struggle, and has quickly become a liability in the secondary.
On the other side of the ball, Montez Sweat was making life rough for Ryan Tannehill. Tennessee’s patchwork offensive line couldn’t handle him early on, as Sweat got home for a couple of sacks. Jonathan Allen also joined the party.
Tennessee had to get Derrick Henry going on the ground, because this pass rush was proving to be too much to handle. And that’s exactly what they did. Henry ran for 83 yards and scored just before the halftime break, giving the Titans the lead back at 14-10.
The two sides trades scores during the third quarter. It was Brown finding the endzone again for the Commanders, while Derrick Henry found six points for Tennessee. A big play from NWI set things up for the Titans.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Titans held a 21-17 lead.
Time was on Tennessee’s side, and the defense was doing its job to open the final quarter of play. Jeffery Simmons came up big with a sack to end a Washington drive midway through the fourth quarter. The Commanders were forced to punt again, and the Titans had a chance to put this one on ice.
But they couldn’t. A three and out gave Washington another shot, and Ryan Stonehouse’s punt forced them to start their drive at their own ten.
Wentz and the Commanders went to work, picking up a quick fourth down conversion to stay alive. He then found Curtis Samuel and Cam Sims to get out to midfield. Wentz was on the move with under two minutes to play. A big illegal hands to the face call cost Washington 15 yards, however.
Wentz worked back into Tennessee territory with under a minute to play. He found McKissic for ten more to get down to the 24, then the Commanders burned their final timeout. With 28 second left to play, Washington was in position to steal this one.
The Commanders got to the 2-yard line after a defensive pass interference call on Kristian Fulton. With 18 seconds left, the Titans needed an all-timer of a goal line stand.
Tennessee stopped the first two attempts — then picked off Wentz. It was David Long sealing the deal for the Titans, who closed it out in the most dramatic of fashions.
Final score: Titans 21, Commanders 17.
The Titans have a much-needed bye week this week before hosting the Colts on October 23rd.
And oh — by the way — the Titans now lead the AFC South.