NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Six things standing out for the Titans after Sunday’s loss to the Ravens, and heading into this week’s game against the Chargers.
I never thought I’d see a day when the Titans allowed 11 sacks in a game, but it was on full display on Sunday at Nissan Stadium. How it happened matters in terms of getting things fixed. I think it was a combination of the offensive line getting beat in one-on-one situations, some missed assignments, and quarterback Marcus Mariota holding the ball too long. What matters most is keeping it from happening again. The Chargers have 16 sacks as a team, and after watching the Titans have issues on Sunday, it’s safe to say they’ll be coming.
Running Game Issues
Titans running back Derrick Henry has been critical of his own play this season, calling it “trash.” On Sunday, the Titans fell behind and pretty much scrapped the run. The team needs to get into a lead, and that would open up the possibility for more carries. But the Titans need to find ways to find success running the ball early, because the lack of a run game is one of the reasons for the struggling offense. Whether it’s Henry or running back Dion Lewis toting the football, things haven’t looked good.
Division Wide Open
The Titans haven’t done themselves any favors in recent weeks. After jumping out to a 3-1 record, losses to Buffalo and Baltimore have the Titans sitting at 3-3. Sure, it’s been a frustrating two weeks, but the Titans are still in a good spot in the division of they can right the ship. The Titans are in a three-way tie with the Jaguars and Texans with 10 games to go, and right now the division is up for grabs.
Malcolm Butler’s Struggles
Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler is the first to admit he’s upset with his play. After the first four games of the season, Butler blamed fundamentals for some of his problems in coverage. He said he’s frustrated, and he promised to get better. Butler gave up some plays again on Sunday vs the Ravens, and coach Mike Vrabel talked technique when discussing Butler’s performance. The Titans need Butler to settle in and play like he has throughout his career.
Rashaan Evans Improving
Titans rookie linebacker Rashaan played his best game as a pro on Sunday. Evans recorded seven tackles, including a tackle for a loss, and he ran to the ball and tackled well. The team’s first-round pick is only going to get better the more he plays. And there’s more good news at the linebacker spot: Wesley Woodyard is on the verge of returning after missing the past two games with a shoulder injury. The Titans need all hands on deck. Vrabel has counted roughly 14 missed tackles on defense the last two games, and the goal is single-digit missed tackle games.
Struggles on Offense
We’ve discussed the problems in protection, and running the football. Both have contributed to the biggest problem right now, and that’s scoring points. The Titans haven’t scored a touchdown since Corey Davis caught the pass from Mariota to beat the Eagles in overtime. The team has been kept out of the end zone in back-to-back games, and three of six games this season. After six weeks, the Titans are ranked 30th in the NFL in total offense, and 30th in points per game. Obviously, things need to improve quickly – the Chargers are fifth in the NFL in scoring offense.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)