Once again, the Titans found a way to sneak out a win despite the overwhelming amount of mistakes that were made during the game.
Let’s talk about it.
The Titans Get Gashed Again On Defense
Dalvin Cook Torched The Titans’ Run Defense
I still don’t think it’s time to panic about this Titans defense, but it’s absolutely okay to be concerned moving forward. Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook came into today’s game going through a disappointing start to the season on the stat sheet. Cook only rushed for 109 yards through the first 2 games, struggling to find running room and consistency. Cousins was even worse, only throwing for 116 yards and 3 interceptions against the Indianapolis Colts the previous week.
But instead of capitalizing off their current struggles, the Titans fumbled the opportunity, and got completely destroyed. The Vikings racked up 464 yards of total offense today, with Dalvin Cook creating 181 of them on the ground.
It wasn’t even competitive between the Titans’ defense and the Vikings’ run game. The Titans’ linebackers got caught in blocks, they couldn’t fill gaps effectively, and there were too many missed tackles in the open field.
Dalvin Cook 39-yard TD to the CRIB 😱
This man is special
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 27, 2020
I can’t even come up with another word to describe how bad the Titans were defending the run, it was that bad of a performance.
The Titans Secondary Fails to Deliver Again
The run game wasn’t even the only facet on defense that the Titans failed to excel in. Kirk Cousins threw for 251 yards and 3 touchdowns, making this Titans defense look silly for the most part. Justin Jefferson accounted for 175 of Cousins’ 251 passing yards, which nobody in their right mind expected since Jefferson has been practically invisible during the Vikings’ first 2 games.
Jefferson was an absolute force today, completely embarrassing any corner that had the courage to line up across from him. It only echoed that the Titans need Adoree Jackson back desperately, and even he might not be enough to stop the holes in the Titans’ secondary.
I don’t know how the Titans can stop this poor play from oozing from this defense. The mistakes seem so easy to correct, but they keep popping up each week.
If anything, I guess a lone bright spot for the Titans today was the play from Jeffery Simmons. He was a consistent disruptor, and made things extremely difficult for the Vikings up front.
Titans Miss Opportunities In The 1st Half, Come Alive to Finish The Game In The 2nd Half
Too Many Stalled Drives In The Red Zone In The 1st Half
The story for the Titans’ offense in the 1st half was the inability to finish drives. 4 times the Titans drove into the redzone in the first half, and 4 times the drives stalled. Those 4 stalled drives led to 9 points courtesy of Stephen Gostkowski, but you never want to settle for 3 points drive after drive, especially if your defense can’t find ways to get stops.
Speaking of Gostkowski, boy was he on the money.
He didn’t miss a single kick today, drilling all 6 of his field goals, and becoming one of the sole reasons the Titans didn’t find their selves facing a big deficit on the scoreboard.
It’s crazy to think that just two weeks ago, the 36 year old was coming off one of the worst performances of his career. There were calls for him to be cut and it really sounded like Gostkowski was extremely disappointed in himself due to his poor play. But Mike Vrabel stuck with him, and that vote of confidence is paying dividends right now.
Good on the veteran for correcting his mistakes, and getting the job done.
Gostkowski wasn’t asked to put up a constant number of field goals in the second half, as the Titans finally started to gain some traction in the touchdown department.
Derrick Henry rushed for 2 touchdowns in the second half, and even added some of his usual specialty by wearing down the Vikings’ defense late in the game. It was a return to normalcy for Henry, who probably ran the hardest he’s run all season long, a welcome sight indeed. His quarterback played some good football for the most part as well, but he ran into a couple issues in the first half.
Ryan Tannehill fed off Henry’s dominance, connecting with Kalif Raymond for a couple of big shots down the field in the game. Tannehill wasn’t the most consistent throughout the game, but he delivered with some big throws down the stretch to keep drives alive. Tannehill did have a bad interception in the first half, but that was the only crucial mistake he made.
.@ryantannehill1 with a 44-yard completion to Kalif Raymond!
— NFL (@NFL) September 27, 2020
Except for the dangerous throw he made on the Titans’ game winning drive, where he almost got picked off to potentially end the contest.
All in all, it was a gutty, sloppy performance for this Titans offense. Mistakes were made early on, but they were cleaned up in time for a big 2nd half comeback win.
Pittsburgh Steelers at HOME, Noon CST