The Tennessee Titans (2-2) put together a complete performance throughout Sunday’s 27-3 thrashing of the Cincinnati Bengals (1-3). The Titans received major contributions from star players like Derrick Henry, who made history by surpassing Earl Campbell for second place on the franchise’s all-time rushing leaders list. The likes of Ryan Tannehill, Jeffery Simmons, and Kevin Byard also made standout plays.
The Titans’ roster depth was also on display. They received several contributions from unlikely sources. We’ve swiftly identified three unsung heroes who helped catapult the Titans to victory.
With Treylon Burks on the mend, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine led all Titans receivers in snaps (51), even outlasting DeAndre Hopkins (32) and Chris Moore (48). Westbrook-Ikhine led all Titans receivers in receptions (5) and added 63 receiving yards and a touchdown to his offensive totals. Westbrook-Ikhine’s 13-yard catch-and-run score gave the Titans their first lead (10-3), an advantage they never squandered.
Westbrook-Ikhine now possesses two of Tennessee’s three receiving touchdowns this season. The former Indiana standout is an excellent blocker and a refined route runner that’s always in the right place. Westbrook-Ikhine deserves praise for Sunday’s performance.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine showing off the dance moves after the touchdown Titans take the lead!— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 1, 2023
: FOX pic.twitter.com/79Emrx1QVy
Trevis Gipson has been stuck behind Tennessee’s deep pool of pass rushers, a list that includes Arden Key, Harold Landry, Denico Autry and Rashad Weaver. Gipson was active on Sunday for the first time as a Titan. It didn’t take Gipson long to make an impact. Here, he hits Bengals left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. with a gorgeous rip move, turns the corner and finishes with a strip-sack of Joe Burrow. Byard recovered the fumble.
Gipson was a savvy waiver claim and deserves more opportunities from the coaching staff. A strip-sack in your debut will lead to more snaps. If Landry isn’t fully recovered from last year’s season-ending ACL, Gipson should eat into his workload.
Fifth-round rookie tight end Josh Whyle endured a difficult stretch throughout training camp and the preseason. Whyle hadn’t been much of a contributor throughout the first three regular-season games, either. That changed in a major way versus Cincinnati. Whyle enjoyed a breakout performance.
Whyle recorded two receptions for 26 receiving yards and a touchdown. A 24-yard reception helped lead to Westbrook-Ikhine’s 13-yard score. Whyle also caught his first career touchdown on the Titans’ go-to trick play that saw Derrick Henry at quarterback. A new wrinkle was added with Jeffery Simmons playing tight end.
Whyle’s impact was felt beyond the passing game. Admire this outstanding block (81) he throws on Henry’s 29-yard touchdown run. If Whyle continues displaying such versatility as a pass-catcher and blocker, the Titans will have a difficult time keeping him off the field.