Tennessee Titans sophomore wide receiver Kyle Philips arguably played the best game of his career in last week’s Thursday night primetime defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Philips hauled in a team-high four receptions (tied with DeAndre Hopkins) for a career-high, and team-best 68 receiving yards. Philips looked like the receiver the Titans believed they were getting in the 2022 NFL Draft. He’s now tasked with carrying that momentum over to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game this Sunday.
Titans rookie quarterback Will Levis targeted Philips on five occasions against the Steelers. The ascending duo appeared to have more chemistry than Philips and Ryan Tannehill had earlier this season. Philips’ arrow could continue pointing up now that Levis has officially been named the full-time starter.
Philips could have enjoyed an even bigger evening versus the Steelers. On a crucial 4th-and-4, Levis threw a deep-ball attempt down the left sideline. The former Kentucky quarterback appeared to have Philips open underneath for a potential chain-moving conversion.
Will Levis' desire to push the ball downfield is a gift/curse. He'll come up with some big plays, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to take the wide open underneath route to move the chains. Case in point, 4th & 4, Joey Porter Jr. & Keanu Neal double DeAndre Hopkins. Kyle Philips. pic.twitter.com/mT1wmbADbJ— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) November 3, 2023
Philips was Tennessee’s highest graded player versus Pittsburgh, earning a 90.7 overall score, and 89.3 receiving grade from Pro Football Focus. Philips ran 21 routes on 22 snaps, good for a route percentage of 95.5%. Philips generated 10 yards after the catch for an average of 2.5 yards after catch per reception, via PFF. Philips averaged 3.24 yards per route run and his aDOT (average depth of target) was a healthy 14.2.
It was undeniably the best Philips has looked since a 6-catch, 66-yard performance versus the New York Giants in Week 1 of his rookie campaign. Since then, Philips has battled inconsistencies. He’s been an oft-injured player. Fumbling issues on special teams has also stifled Philips’ overall development.
Philips could be a big part of Sunday’s game plan for the second consecutive contest. Fellow sophomore receiver Treylon Burks is expected to miss the Bucs contest with a concussion. Philips should earn plenty of snaps (and targets) from the slot. Hopkins and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine will start as the boundary receivers. Chris Moore will mix into the rotation.
The Titans believed Philips was a Day-three steal in 2022. He’s rarely carried that appearance, but Thursday offered a glimpse into what Philips can be. Expect Philips to stay involved moving forward.