The Tennessee Titans defense will be tasked with stopping Indianapolis Colts running back Zack Moss on Sunday. Moss will get the start in place of Jonathan Taylor, who is nursing a multi-week thumb injury. Moss torched the Titans for 165 yards and two touchdowns in Week 5, averaging 7.2 yards per carry in the process.
After analyzing the film, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel doesn’t believe the raw numbers told the complete story. Moss rushed for a 56-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Without that carry, Moss still averaged 4.9 yards per carry, however. Vrabel discussed the impending rematch, and the emphasis being placed during practice on slowing Moss down.
“Anytime there’s a 60 yarder, that’s going to effect the overall run defense,” Vrabel said. “I wouldn’t say it was all bad. There were a lot of no gains, some ones and twos [yard gains]. The touchdown was a short yardage situation, and it was a big one. We know that this team [Colts] is really good up front. They play well together. They work well in combination and they have a good scheme. They’re effective running the football. We have to be really good. We’ll have to defend and make sure the quarterback isn’t creating loose plays,” Vrabel concluded.
Mike Vrabel said the #Titans run defense wasn't all bad vs the Colts before. He acknowledged the big run by Zach Moss but said there were a lot of no gains or minimal gains as well. pic.twitter.com/YHls5FhnNn— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) November 29, 2023
After charting every Moss rushing attempt, Vrabel isn’t totally incorrect. Approximately 12 of Moss’ carries gained four-or-less yards, including five runs that were stuffed at the line of scrimmage for one yard or zero gain. But Moss also had rushes that gained 13, 11, 12, and 13 yards in addition to his 56-yard score. Tennessee’s run defense was maddeningly inconsistent versus Moss. Nose tackle Teair Tart missed that contest through injury. Denico Autry, a former Colt, will attempt to exact revenge on his former club.
Vrabel also alluded to keeping Gardner Minshew contained in the pocket. Minshew completed 11-of-14 passing attempts and wasn’t sacked versus the Titans. Minshew extended various plays and found open receivers to extend drives. The Titans’ defensive line is coming off a four-sack performance, and must find ways to impact Minshew.