The Tennessee Titans came into today’s game against the Denver Broncos beaten up, particularly on defense, but the Titans were able to put together a great defensive effort and come up with a couple big plays on offense to come away with a 17-10 win.
The Titans are now 6-3 with a Thursday night matchup against the Green Bay Packers coming up.
Following today’s win, let’s take a look at who is trending up for the Titans and who is trending down.
Stock up - Nick Westbrook-Ikhine
The third-year pro out of Indiana had arguably his best game as a pro, catching two touchdown passes— his first two touchdowns of the season.
Westbrook-Ikhine capped off the end of first half drive with an impressive toe-tap touchdown in the corner of the end zone, and then with the Titans trailing 10-7 in the third quarter, Westbrook-Ikhine broke free down the field on a flea-flicker and made a tackler miss on a 63-yard touchdown.
Westbrook-Ikhine has struggled to gain separation and be a factor in the Titans offense this season. With his performance today, hopefully this serves as a launching point for NWI to carve out a key role in the Tennessee offense.
Stock up - End-of-half offense
While it was not a good day for the Titans offense as a whole, the offensive drive at the end of the first half was one of the better offensive drives we’ve seen from the Tennessee offense in some time.
Ryan Tannehill completed passes to wide receivers (gasp!), which isn’t something we’ve seen a lot of.
The offensive line held up against the pass rush decently, and the Titans were able to drive 75 yards in 13 plays in just over 2 minutes to cut the Denver lead to 10-7 headed into halftime.
The Titans offense struggled a lot, but that drive was a good moment.
Stock down - Titans health
The Titans continue to have some of the worst luck in the league when it comes to injuries.
Coming into today’s game, the Titans were without key defensive players like Jeffrey Simmons, Amani Hooker, Kristian Fulton, Bud Dupree, and Zach Cunningham.
During the game, Lonnie Johnson went out with a hamstring injury.
It seems like the Titans just can’t catch a break in the injury department, and it’s hard to say whether it’s just bad luck, issues with athletic training, or something else, but the Titans continue to be one of the most injured teams in the league.
Stock up - Mario Edwards Jr.
Edwards has been a nice addition to the Titans defense since signing him off the Jacksonville practice squad near the end of September.
Edwards had a sack and a pair of tackles for loss against Denver and a couple other plays in which he hurried Denver QB Russell Wilson.
That makes back-to-back games that Edwards has recorded a sack.
Overall, signing Edwards has definitely been a positive for the Titans.
Stock down - Titans run blocking
It was not a good day running the ball for the Tennessee Titans.
Going into the game, the thought was that the Titans could pick up some yards on the ground with the Broncos allowing the 11th most rushing yards per game in the league.
But Derrick Henry struggled from the start to be able to find running lanes and only had eight carries in the first half, a season worst.
Not the best day for Henry and the Titans O-line.
Stock up - Titans pass rush
Even with a number of injuries in the front seven, the Titans continued to provide a strong pass rush against the Broncos.
Russell Wilson was consistently hurried when he dropped back to throw, and the Titans finished with at least three sacks for the 6th consecutive game, finishing with six sacks on the day.
The number of sacks isn’t even totally indicative of the success the Titans had getting after the quarterback. Russell Wilson narrowly escaped Titans defenders multiple times.
Even without Jeffrey Simmons and Bud Dupree, the Titans pass rush still had quite a day with five different players recording at least one sack.
Stock down - Titans offensive playcalling
It seems like Todd Downing has at least one (typically more) bone-headed play calls and he did it again in the fourth quarter when he randomly decided to put Malik Willis in for a critical third down with the Titans looking to extend the 14-10 lead.
Willis ended up fumbling on the play, but luckily, the Titans defense bailed out the poor decision-making by Downing.
I think it has become clear that this “Malik Package” has not worked this season, and maybe a part of that is that Downing wants to utilize it at arguably the worst points in the game.
Downing continues to run an offense that seemingly has no flow or rhythm to it and a number of his decisions continue to cripple the Titans.
There really needs to be a conversation about Downing’s future as the Titans OC.