By: Brendan Smart (@Bsmart21)
Take a trip with me, back to training camp, and the questions swirling around this team. How many wins will they get? Will they even improve? Derrick Henry should start at running back, right? How we were all wrong, this team is competing for a playoff spot and the Titans beat the defending Super Bowl Champions on Sunday.
Two wins, that's who the Titans were in 2015, mediocre players starting, but the centerpiece in place. A year later, the Titans are playing in meaningful December games, and are not disappointing. Following being named AFC Offensive Player of the Month, Quarterback Marcus Mariota followed the bye week up with one of his worst games ever, but “we scored enough to win” Mariota said following Sundays game. Mariota was 8/20 for 80 yards, but the defense held the Denver Broncos from a huge comeback in the second half.
The Titans defense hadn't forced a fumble all season, and Broncos running back Justin Forsett hadn't fumbled in his career, both streaks ended in the Broncos second drive of the game. “Next man up” mentality that not only the Titans defense holds, missing defensive end Jurell Casey, and the release of cornerback Perrish Cox, Leshaun Sims, and Karl Klug didn't kept the defense rolling. Three red zone stops by the Titans kept the Broncos to only 10 points, and Middle Linebacker Avery Williamson sealed the deal with a strip on the Broncos final drive with less than two minutes left in the half.
Leshaun Sims is a young, talented rookie Cornerback that stepped in and made an instant impact. After having a very strong preseason, I predicted Sims to make the 53 man roster, but I'm happy to see a young, and hungry player playing well.
Next, the front seven on defense continue to be consistent. Take away the secondaries inconsistent play, and the front seven get overlooked. They've played excellent, and even without Casey they continued to bring the heat to the quarterback.
Lastly, Mariota had the worst game of his career, but it's going to happen. This game is one he will not talk about ever again, and he will learn. We should know by now that Marcus puts a lot of work in practice, in film, and will be better. Plus, the Broncos have the best overall defense in the league.
The Titans travel to Kansas City next week, and it is predicted to be a high of 15° at kickoff. No doubt this is going to be a tough matchup for the Titans, but Sundays matchup was a tough one too, and they handled it very well.