Titans Three-and-Out: Week 14 vs. Broncos
The Tennessee Titans’ defense stepped up. It is as simple as that. Granted, the Denver Broncos’ offense isn’t a world beater, especially with all of the injuries, but to hold Denver scoreless in the first half and keep them from tying or taking the lead late was huge. It was a clear bend-don’t-break effort today, as Tennessee allowed Denver deep into its own territory several times, particularly in the second half, only to allow 10 points on the day.
This was the first time all year the Titans won a game when Marcus Mariota was bad. The reason Tennessee was still able to find enough success offensively was because Mariota didn’t turn the ball over. He played poorly, but did a good job of throwing the ball away when necessary. Other than the one throw into triple coverage, Mariota made sure not to force the ball into bad spots and risking a turnover — giving his team a fighting chance while the defense was playing well enough. It is nice seeing him develop into an all-around good quarterback right before our eyes.
Heading into the game, it was no secret that Tennessee’s secondary was the worst unit on the team, but to see the Broncos completely abandoned the run early — nine team carries for a combined 18 yards — and go directly after Tennessee through the air to the tune of 330 yard was concerning, putting it lightly. Dick LeBeau is going to have to continue to draw up blitzes in any and or every down because if there isn’t any pressure on the opposing passer, the back end of Tennessee’s defense gets eaten alive by average quarterbacks.
It has been a long time since Tennessee has won a game so meaningful this late in the season. I predicted a Titans win, but I didn’t think it would happen as such. Never did I imagine the Titans’ secondary being capable of holding off an opponent repeatedly with so much at stake, especially with the offense struggling to get much of anything going in the second half. This win was a breath of fresh air for a team in desperate need of a lift to kick off the final stretch.
With the Indianapolis Colts losing to the Houston Texans, Tennessee is in the driver’s seat as far as its own destiny is concerned. Next week is a tough game at the Kansas City Chiefs, and then the Titans finish off with a contest at the Jacksonville Jaguars before closing out the regular season with a crucial home game against Houston, which could determine the division winner.