Tennessee Titans Embrace Wildcard Spirit

By: Brendan Smart (@bsmart21)

The Tennessee Titans roll into Kansas City as wildcards, stun the Chiefs in a big second half comeback.

Game Summary:

Looking back on this past week, I honestly do not know how the Tennessee Titans did it. The Titans started off slow, and the Kansas City Chiefs offense was explosive in the first half. Dropping 21 points in the first half on Dick LeBeau’s strong 3-4 defense that would hold strong in the second half. At halftime, a lot of people wondered what Head Coach Mike Mularkey would say to his guys down 21-3. “Nothing, these guys know what to do. Stick to the game plan, these guys never give up and stick to the plan,” Mularkey said after the Titans crazy victory. A game that involved quarterback Marcus Mariota throwing a touchdown pass to himself, a horrible two point attempt late in the fourth, and the Titans running back Derrick Henry running “pissed off” has the Titans in the advancing to round two.

Is this team resilient?

Clearly the Titans have been resilient, but they have had to be due to their lack of execution. Not as much on defense as on offense. The defense does their job for the most part, but Mularkey and Robiskie’s “game plan” always ends with Mariota running a no huddle offense. In the no huddle offense, Mariota makes the play calls, and the team has excelled. Looking back to last night’s game, the Titans offense was horrible in the first 16 minutes of the game, but on the third offensive drive, down 14-0, Tennessee went no huddle, because Robiskie had no answers. Mariota on the other hand had all of the answers, and when no one was open, or he made a bad call at the line, Mariota put the team on his shoulders. Taking hits on scrambles after broken down pass plays, and being the “silent assassin” that tight end Delaine Walker nicknamed him.

Derrick Henry running angry?

I like to think that Henry saw the block he missed before the half that blew Mariota back to Nashville and back right before the half. I say that because in the second half Henry looked possessed. Running through weak arm tackles and throw defenders aside for yards after contact. Not to mention, he made Mariota comfortable in the shot gun when throwing. His pass blocking in the second half was much better. He put it on himself, and wore down the Chiefs defense in that second half. Henry finished with 156 yards in 23 carries a lot of those yards after contact.

Mularkey will keep his job:

I’m sure you’re wondering why, and here is why: you get rid of Mularkey and you lose the locker room. Say what you want about Mularkey, but he gets the most out of these guys, and they love his fiery spirt for the game. Not all of this is on him also, the offensive struggles are on the offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie. I think General Manager Jon Robinson will part ways with Robiskie before he parts ways with Mularkey. Of note, Mularkey decides when the team goes up tempo, and has put the offense on Mariota’s play calling a lot more and a lot earlier in the last five games or so.
What is next?

Today, the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Buffalo Bills in Jacksonville at 12:05 central. If the Jaguars win today, the Titans will head to New England next weekend and take on the Patriots. If the Bills win however, the Titans will head to Pittsburg to take on the Steelers next weekend. Whoever you root for today, both games will be tough for the Titans, but I’d love to see Lebeau against Tom Brady one last time. Also, I think the Titans matchup with the Patriots better than the Steelers, but we will see what happens today. Either way, the Titans will be only one of eight teams alive today, so soak it in Titans fans.

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