The Tennessee Titans came into today’s game needing one simple thing.
A win to secure their first AFC South title since 2008, and a chance to host a playoff game for the 1st time since the team’s heartbreaking loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the same season.
Luckily for the Titans they got that win, courtesy of a thrilling 41-38 nail-biter against the Houston Texans. This game was absolutely nuts, and that isn’t an understatement. It had everything you would want in a high stakes game, lots of points, lots of big plays, and a finish that could be classified as a meme.
However, even though the Titans ended up with the win, this game showcased their main flaw that could ultimately kill this team’s hopes for a deep playoff run.
If you’ve been watching this team, you should already know what I’m talking about.
The Defense Struggles Once Again
The Titans struggled defensively once again, something that’s already become the norm with this underwhelming unit as the season has gone along. Deshaun Watson threw for 365 yards, 3 touchdowns, and a lone interception that came in the 1st half.
Watson did most of his damage in the 2nd half, slicing and dicing his way through the Titans’ defense like it was the easiest thing in the world. Watson came into this game as arguably the hottest quarterback in football, so the success he had today wasn’t all that surprising to witness.
But with how effortless it was, you would’ve thought Watson was a little kid playing Madden on rookie mode with the user sliders turned all the way up.
Forget playoff caliber, this sort of play should keep you from making the playoffs. https://t.co/fOKtWHYNKP
— TreJean Watkins (@TreWatkins099) January 3, 2021
We’ve said this defense is bad, and will continue to be bad until noticeable changes are made at the on field level and coaching level. But it still doesn’t take away our disbelief each time this defense struggles to do the bare minimum.
This team has the chance to do something special in the postseason — mainly due to their explosive offense — but the journey will most likely be spoiled due to a defense that seemingly can’t do anything positive.
Derrick Henry & AJ Brown Both Set Milestones
Derrick Henry needed 223 rushing yards today to reach 2,000 on the season, and join an elite group of players very few NFL running backs have been able to call themselves a part of
AJ Brown needed 76 receiving yards to hit 1,000 on the year, and stack up back to back 1,000 yard seasons, something you rarely see from Titans receivers these days.
You would think one or the other would occur, since hitting even 150 rushing yards realistically takes an above average amount of carries to achieve. The same sort of difficulty could also be tied to the 1,000 yards, especially considering how run heavy this offense really is.
But instead of those concerns coming to fruition, both players set impressive single season milestones. Let’s start with Derrick Henry, and his historical achievement of 2,000 rushing yards.
DERRICK HENRY IS UNREAL 🤯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 3, 2021
It wasn’t certain Henry would reach the 2,000 yard mark, but with how successful Henry has been against the Texans during the last 2 meetings, you could almost feel like history was going to be set. Henry finished with 250 yards along with 2 touchdowns on 34 carries, in what was a clinical performance by the most dominant running back in football.
Nobody could stop him all game, and in the end, Henry solidified his 2020 season as one of the best a running back has had in NFL history.
#Titans become the 1st team to have TWO 2,000 yard rushers.
— TreJean Watkins (@TreWatkins099) January 4, 2021
AJ Brown didn’t break any notable records like Henry did, but his 1,000 receiving yards gives him two in the first two years of his career. Brown is no doubt WR1 for the Titans, and will stay as WR1 for a long time in Tennessee unless something unexpected occurs.
What a bomb from Ryan Tannehill to AJ Brown!pic.twitter.com/14zh09Oyg9
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) January 4, 2021
Two elite talents were rewarded with milestones that symbolize excellence and pure domination. Both players will take them, and I’m sure the Titans will take them as well.
A Look Ahead to Baltimore
Tennessee’s playoff run begins next Sunday at home, when they welcome the Baltimore Ravens to town.
These two teams played each other twice during the calendar year of 2020, with the Titans winning both matchups, and leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the Ravens after each victory.
This game will come with some tension, just what you want for playoff football. It’ll be physical, it’ll be high scoring, it’ll be an entertaining game football fans as a whole will probably enjoy.
For the Titans, it’ll be a big test, especially considering how hot the Ravens are currently.
So buckle up, and get prepared for some playoff football.
NEXT GAME: Titans vs. Ravens, 1:05 PM EST, ESPN/ABC