The Tennessee Titans (11-5) are coming off their most dominant win of the season on Sunday after obliterating the Miami Dolphins (8-8) by the final score of 34-3. This was a
contest where the team rode much of the game on the shoulders of the offensive line. Mind you, this was a Dolphins team that was riding a seven-game win streak and fighting for its playoffs life heading into the contest. The Titans were not only able to lock in defensively, which has been an unexpected theme throughout the season, but fully commanded the battle in the trenches on the offensive side of the football.
It is no secret that Titans head coach Mike Vrabel and his team play a physical brand of football and it all starts up front. Tennessee has invested in its offensive line over the years, which has proved to be one of the biggest strengths of the team in years past. Robinson has gone all in on this lineup, bolstering the offensive line’s strength with big names and keeping proven talent in Nashville.
In 2018, the team made Taylor Lewan (LT) the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history at the time before going out and signing Rodger Saffold (LG) the following season. Center Ben Jones is in his sixth season with the Titans and lines up in between Saffold and Nate Davis (RG) who has been a key cog in the trenches as well. Interestingly enough, it has been RT David Quessenberry – also a 2018 draft acquisition – who has played in all but one offensive snap this season.
But all that glitters isn’t gold. That is what Titans fans found out early in the season when Lewan struggled to find his footing as he was coming off an ACL procedure and was famously exposed by Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones in Week One. The offensive line has struggled to find continuity with injury and COVID-19 issues popping up throughout the season. But it was on Sunday that this group was able to put together its strongest performance of the season.
.@Titans offensive front come off the ball like a fleet of fighter jets. Simplest run game in the #NFL ; but can you stop it. 200 yards with Foreman & Hilliard who fell out of the sky into Music City. The men up front…..infinite possibilities. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/PlRh2v3XND— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) January 4, 2022
Titans running back D’Onta Foreman was hitting holes big enough to drive a small car through on Sunday afternoon en route to 132 yards on 26 carries (5.1 YPC). The team finished the day with 198 yards rushing , but that was not all. The Titans offensive line gave up zero sacks and just one QB pressure allowed by Quessenberry all game long. In fact, the Dolphins’ only sack of the day came via a failed blitz pickup from Jeremy McNichols where Ryan Tannehill was swallowed by Jerome Baker.
The #Titans OL allowed 0 sacks yesterday, and only 1 (!!) Total Pressure:— Football & Other F Words (@FWordsPod) January 3, 2022
– Lewan: 0
– Saffold: 0
– Jones: 0
– Davis: 0
– Quessenberry: 1
The only sack allowed was by McNichols. Swaim allowed a hurry, and Foreman allowed a QB hit.
4 total pressures allowed all game
The offensive line’s shortcomings early in the season have been well-documented, but the unit appears to be hitting its stride at the perfect time. A win against the Texans buys one more week of recovery for the best running back in football – Derrick Henry.
Derrick Henry is about to run for 300 a game if he gets back and the Titans offensive line keeps playing this well.— Will Boling (@will_boling) January 2, 2022
Foreman and his backfield mate, Dontrell Hilliard, have done a marvelous job bridging the gap since Henry went down with a Jones Fracture in Week 8; however the return of King Henry behind a healthy and confident offensive line is a thought that sends shivers down the spines of defensive coordinators around the NFL.
Featured image courtesy of Christopher Hanewinc – USA TODAY Sports