Cleat Geeks

Titans Week 2 Recap and Week 3 Preview

In a game where the Texans led in every way except the scoreboard, Tennessee pulled off the win with a few trick plays and creative play calling. Missing both of Tennessee’s starting tackles as well as Mariota not playing due to being injured, it was expected that the Texans defense led by JJ Watt would get to Gabbert often, however Tennessee was able to hold them off well enough to get the win.

Tennessee’s defense started the game strong getting a sack on Watson on the first drive, starting off getting to the quarterback much better than last week as they didn’t get a sack until the second half week one. The Titans then had a three and out against the Texans, however, on fourth down the Titans did a fake punt pass where Kevin Byard threw a 66 yard touchdown pass to Dane Cruikshank, for Tennessee to take an early 7-0 lead. Houston followed this by driving down the field but missed 54 yard field goal. After the missed field goal the Titans then drove down the field and threw a screen pass to Taywan Taylor who juked through defenders to score a touchdown with 35 seconds left in the first. On that drive, Tennessee mixed it up with Derrick Henry taking multiple snaps from the shotgun and handing off the ball in run options as well as taking multiple of the snaps as carries, helping Tennessee driving down the field. Throughout the first quarter Tennessee’s offense looked much more creative than week one while also looking much better getting to the quarterback on defense having two sacks in the first quarter.

Image result for Kevin Byard, Dane Cruikshank

In the second quarter both teams struggled to move the ball for a majority of the quarter, with Adoree Jackson getting his first career interception on a deep pass that was intended for Deandre Hopkins in the end zone. The rest of the quarter was multiple defensive stops with Tennessee’s defense shutting down Houston’s offense until about three minutes left in the second quarter. Houston ended the half with a touchdown drive that ended with a pass to Hopkins from Watson making it 14-7 heading into halftime.

The Titans start the 3rd Quarter struggling on both sides of the ball, as they had three straight punts. The Texans however moved the ball down the field well, having a field goal followed by touchdown from Watson to Will Fuller. On that touchdown, Fuller burned Malcolm Butler, this is the 2nd time in as many games that Butler got burnt for a deep touchdown, as he was burnt by Kenny Stills in Week 1. To start the 4th quarter Tennessee is finally able to move the ball down the field, using some no huddle play calls to help them out, ending the drive with a field goal to tie the game 17-17. Houston the next drive drove the ball 38 yards down the field, however Tennessee’s defense came up strong ending the drive with a punt just outside of field goal range. Then, with just 6:41 left in the 4th, Gabbert leads a drive that lasts five minutes and 41 seconds that results in a field goal, giving Houston the ball left with just a minute left in the 4th and no timeouts. Houston moved the ball down the field well, however, they continued to have three straight passes down the middle of the field, running out of time in field goal range before they could have gotten another snap off.

Tennessee looked much better than Week 1 on both sides of the ball against a tougher team without some key offensive starters, however, it was Houston’s mistakes that helped Tennessee win this game as well as some good play calling from the Titans on risky plays. Derrick Henry looked much better than Week 1, as he wasn’t just running into players and he was playing more patient than the week prior. Malcolm Butler getting torched for the second week in a row is worrisome as the Titans signed him to solidify their secondary, although he does have an interception on the season.

The Titans face the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 3, who are coming off a strong game of beating the New England Patriots. Tennessee did beat the Jaguars both times last season, however it is uncertain whether Mariota will be under center, which hurts the Titans offense against a stout Jacksonville defense. Taylor Lewan is probable and Jack Conklin is questionable for the Titans as for the Jaguars have Fournette and Jalen Ramsey that are questionable, depending on who plays can make a huge impact on this game. Titans must rely on the run game is Mariota is unable to play once again, as their defense needs to have a repeat of this past week getting to Bortles early and often if they plan on winning this game.

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