The Titans are back from their bye week with a victory at Nissan Stadium against the Baltimore Ravens. Also back from extended recovery periods were safety Johnathan Cyprien and wide receiver Corey Davis, who both had been out with hamstring injuries.
So far, this entire Titans season it has seemed like something is missing. The Titans are barely squeaking by with wins. If you thought the return of Cyprien and Davis would make a huge difference, you were wrong (or is it just me thinking that way?) Davis made a spectacular catch with some toe drag swag, catching a 23-yard pass from quarterback Marcus Mariota. Cyprien was part of the Titans defense that did not allow a completion of 20 or more yards.
The Titans did score first with a 48-yard field goal from kicker Ryan Succop. It was pretty windy that day, so luck had to be combined with skill to score. Wide receiver Rishard Matthews did get a touchdown during the first quarter. The last time the Titans had a first-quarter TD was week one against the Raiders. Head coach Mularkey has repeatedly stated that the team needed to work on getting faster starts. It looks like the Titans are progressing towards that goal.
While the Titans are not high scoring, they are hanging on and getting the wins that they need. Mariota said at the post-game conference “You’re not going to get wins by 20 points every week. When you can pull these tough ones out, especially against a good team like Baltimore it builds confidence. It builds momentum”.
Currently, Tennessee is 3-1 for home games and 5-3 for the season. They are tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for first place in the AFC South have a three-game winning streak. Complaints and flash aren’t needed. Wins are.
The flash has been provided by safety Kevin Byard. Byard had two interceptions against the Ravens. He also had a fun choreographed dance celebration with his teammates. He now has five interceptions in the past two games, with a total of six on the year. He hasn’t had a pick six yet, but the threat is always there.
QB Mariota was more mobile this game, much more so than he was during the Browns game. He actually hurdled a Ravens defender at one point. He now has over 50 TD passes during his career. Per TitansOnline: “Mariota records passer rating of 100, he completed 19 of 28 passes for 218 yards with two touchdowns”. The hamstring injury appears to be resolved.
Other notable moments were wide receiver Eric Decker’s first touchdown as a Titan. Decker caught an 11 yard pass in the fourth quarter that helped seal the victory for the Titans. Decker noticed that tight end Jonnu Smith was not able to get away from the Raven’s defense and run his route; Decker was able to go to Smith’s spot and complete the play.
Running back Derrick Henry had a one yard TD run in the second quarter. It was his third of the season. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard had a total of 14 tackles, the man is having a great year. But, the lack of offense is keeping the Titans under the radar.
This was also homecoming weekend. Over 80 former Titans players attended the game. The players were recognized at half-time with a ceremony, and an introduction onto the field with a tribute film. Head coach Mike Mularkey has said that he believes that the former players can help the current team by sharing their experiences not just in football but in life and post-football.
I loved seeing Nate Washington, Lendale White and Vince Young again. Former Titans’ QB Steve McNair’s two sons Tyler and Trent served as the 12th man during the opening ceremony. Blaine Bishop was surprised by the Titans with the announcement that the former Titans safety will be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2018. All around it was a great Sunday in Nashville, any win will do. 23 to 20 is just fine, thanks.
Next weekend the Titans will host the Cincinnati Bengals at Nissan Stadium. Low score or high score, let’s get another home win.