NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The 2018 season is in the rear-view mirror.
The Titans finished the year 9-7, giving the franchise three consecutive winning seasons for the first time since arriving in Tennessee. But the team missed out on a trip to the playoffs.
Here’s a look at the highlights – and a big lowlight – from the year.
Most Valuable Player – Jurrell Casey, Defensive tackle
Casey was a tone-setter, and a difference maker. Casey led the team with seven sacks, and he produced a whopping 50 quarterback pressures and seven tackles for a loss. He sparked the turnaround on defense. A late-season injury will keep him from playing in his fourth straight Pro Bowl.
Offensive MVP – Derrick Henry, Running back
Henry got off to a slow start. But he got things cranked up in the second half of the season, and finished with 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns. I'm still seeing highlights of his 99-yard run vs the Jaguars, part of his 238-yard, 4-TD night.
Defensive MVP – Jayon Brown, Linebacker
Brown was impossible to miss all season, and he ended the year with an exclamation point against the Colts. Brown finished the season with 107 tackles, six sacks, 18 QBs pressures, two fumble recoveries and the pick-6 vs Indy.
Special Teams MVP – Brett Kern, Punter
In earning his second straight Pro Bowl trip, Kern averaged 47.1 yards a punt, including a 41.7-yard net. He pinned 39 punts down inside the 20.
Best Rookie – Rashaan Evans, Linebacker
After a slow start, Evans came on late, and looked the part of a first-round pick. Evans finished the year with 63 tackles, six quarterback pressures and three passes defensed. He's going to be a good one.
Best Free Agent – Kenny Vaccaro, Safety
Vaccaro was a late addition, signed after the team lost Johnathan Cyprien in training camp. Vaccaro brought an edge with his play, and with 70 tackles, two sacks and a pick, he proved to be a nice addition.
Most Underrated – Logan Ryan, Cornerback
Speaking of tone-setters, Ryan’s work started last offseason, and continued into the season. Ryan was a steadying force and a reliable pro in his second season with the team. He finished the year with 85 tackles, four sacks (which led the DBs), and eight passes defensed.
Best Comeback – Malcolm Butler, Cornerback
We’re not talking comeback from one season to the next here. We’re talking comeback from the first half of 2018, to the second half. Butler settled down after a shaky start this past season, and played well. He finished the season with 56 tackles, three INTs and a team-high 13 passes defensed.
Most Improved – Corey Davis, Receiver
Davis more than doubled his rookie year totals, and he ended the year with 65 catches for 891 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He also had a pair of game-winning touchdown catches vs the Eagles and Jets.
Most Consistent – Wesley Woodyard, Linebacker
Woodyard just doesn’t slow down. He once again led the team with 124 tackles, and he did it by producing week after week. Woodyard had eight games with double-digit tackle totals, and he also recorded 4.5 sacks and 12 QB pressures.
Best Encore Performance – Kevin Byard, Safety
Byard didn’t have the eight picks he recorded in 2017, but he still had a heck of a year. The third-year safety tallied 96 tackles, four interceptions, two sacks and 10 passes defensed while establishing himself further as one of the game’s best safeties. He should've been voted to the Pro Bowl.
Best Game – November 11: Titans 34, Patriots
Oh, some games had more drama. Last-second touchdowns in wins over the Eagles and Jets were fun, and Henry’s show vs the Jaguars was off the charts. But this was complete dominance by the Titans, over a team that’s playing in the AFC title game this weekend.
Worst Game – November 18: Colts 38, Titans 10
Yes, the loss in Buffalo stunk, and the shutout loss vs Baltimore was beyond ugly. But this was the most miserable Sunday of the season. The Titans were blown out early on a day when defensive coordinator Dean Pees was hospitalized and quarterback Marcus Mariota was sidelined with an injury.