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NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 10: Running back Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans attempts to break a tackle from linebacker L.J. Fort #58 of the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter of their AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Nissan Stadium on January 10, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


The Tennessee Titans’ Self Made Shortcomings Eventually Came Back to Hurt Them In Playoff Loss to Baltimore

The Tennessee Titans’ season is over.

Mike Vrabel’s team lost to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 20-13, in a highly contested game full of the physicality and attitude we expected leading up to the contest. It was a quick exit for the Titans, and one that wasn’t all that expected, considering the run the team made in 2019 and the record setting offense that was prepared to fight against any defensive unit they came across.

It was a roller-coaster year for the Titans, with plenty of ups and downs, and inconsistencies that plagued this team far more than they should’ve.

With the off-season beginning now for the Titans, it’s a good time to discuss the shortcomings and inconsistencies that plagued this football team, and how they were going to catch up to them sooner rather than later.

It’s a discussion fans might not want to have, but it’s one that needs to be had.

Defense Holds Strong In 1st Half, Falters In The 2nd Half

Coming into the game, the talk was how the Titans would stop Baltimore’s red hot rushing offense. Lamar Jackson and JK Dobbins led the charge towards the revival of the Ravens’ potent rushing attack during the last 5 or so weeks of the regular season, a run game that set the league on fire just last season.

If you want to beat Baltimore, you have to make Lamar Jackson beat you with his arm. For Tennessee, the idea of shutting down a diverse run game like Baltimore’s seemed like more of an impossibility rather than a sure thing, considering their defense has had a lot of problems tackling elusive players in space and limiting big plays.

For the most part through 2 quarters though, the Titans erased the possibility of the task being impossible, and limited the Ravens to only 10 points on offense.

But once the 2nd half began, things turned sour for Shane Bowen’s defense.

Baltimore shifted their gameplan, beginning to attack on the perimeter, taking advantage of the Titans’ overwhelming amount of numbers in the box. Once that happened, Baltimore started to move the ball drive after drive in the 2nd half, erasing an early 10 point deficit and eventually building and maintaining a lead in the process.

The Titans tried their best to mask the defensive problems that gave them so much trouble this season, but in the end, they were far too great to overcome against a talented offense like Baltimore’s.

Tennessee tried to be mask these problems with a simple next man up mindset, and a record setting offense that killed teams all year long.

However, that same explosive offense laid an egg, and put this team in a position to depend on the defense to make unlikely stops.

The Worst Offensive Game of The Year Came At The Worst Possible Time

Arthur Smith’s offense was hot all year long, but it ran into some big trouble today against the Ravens’ agile front 7. The Titans couldn’t get the run game going at all, and that was mostly due to the fact that the Titans simply couldn’t run outside the tackles.

Baltimore doesn’t let a lot of teams beat them on the perimeter in the run game. They’re too strong in setting the edge, and too quick to potentially be blocked by offensive linemen. Those defensive positives showed up in a big way today, and it was a big reason why the Titans’ offense went into a bit of a funk.

The Titans didn’t run a single run play designed to get out on the perimeter, their offensive linemen aren’t too suited for that type of game, so the run game was limited to inside zone and power run plays. Baltimore keyed in on those actions, stifling Derrick Henry and limiting him to only 40 yards on 18 carries.

Once that occurred, the offense couldn’t get into a rhythm, and ultimately found itself ending the game with only 13 points on the scoreboard.

Add in the fact that the passing game seemingly went invisible in the 2nd half, and it’s easy to see why this offense lost its mojo.

It was the worst offense game of the year for the Titans, and it wasn’t even close. You’d usually want to save those for the regular season, and hope to fix things as the year moves along.

Unfortunately for them, it came in a game where you needed to win to survive, and that they did not.

Looking Ahead to The Off-Season

The Titans have a key off-season ahead of them.

Key starters like Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, Jayon Brown, Desmond King, and Daquan Jones are all scheduled to hit the market as free agents. Jon Robinson will look bring as many of those guys back, while hopefully filling some of the holes that this team still has.

They need a marquee pass rusher, and they need one in the worst way. The depth at wide receiver needs to be addressed as well, as the WR4 and WR5 roles didn’t give the Titans enough in terms of reliability and production this season.

There’s so many off-season related moves I could discuss, but we’ll save those discussions for a later date.

For now, a little break for the organization until it’s time to ramp things up again in September.