GREEN BAY — For all the offseason dialogue around rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks, Thursday Night Football at Lambeau Field felt like a coming out party. The Tennessee Titans (7-3) rolled Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (4-7) at home 27-17 with their season very much on the line.
The crazy part: they did it in back-to-back weeks through the air.
Tennessee’s passing game had been in a steady state of decay heading into the last two contests. Burks’ return from Injured Reserve, along with gritty efforts by quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the offense, has given their aerial attack a legitimate pulse. The 2022 first-round pick caught a career-high seven passes for 111 yards in Green Bay and gave the Titans a legitimate downfield threat teams must now account for.
It allowed a return to form for Tennessee’s offense that we have not seen to this point in the season.
Can Tennessee’s offense sustain this?
The Titans came into their match-up with the Packers with momentum, but plenty of questions.
After winning a home game against the Denver Broncos with clutch passing plays, Tannehill, Burks and the rest delivered their most efficient performance of the year. Tennessee converted seven of their 13 third down opportunities (53.8%). Their 27 points, spurred on by several chunk plays to Burks, were the most the team has scored in an outing this season.
“I would say that mistakes that were made during the week were corrected and that’s the most important thing to me about Treylon (Burks),” coach Mike Vrabel said. “He put a lot of time in from the time that we left Nashville until the game started of working with Rob (Moore), making sure that those things that came up throughout the week were corrected. Give (Burks) all the credit for fixing those things.”
So much for the rest of the Titans offense were made possible by Burks’ presence and running back Derrick Henry’s influence on every opponent that Tennessee plays.
Tannehill finished the game with his best performance of the season, completing 22 of his 27 attempts for 333 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Burks’ presence and a solid pass protection effort opened up a whole new world for the offensive side of the ball.
Will OC Todd Downing coach for the Titans on Sunday?
Coach Mike Vrabel said on Tuesday that Downing will continue to call the Titans offense despite his recent DUI arrest.
“We’ll continue forward with how things were,” Vrabel said. “With Todd (Downing) as our offensive coordinator. Now, those things could change. I want to make sure that everybody understands that, at any point in time. When we hear from the league or the legal process, those things could obviously change.”
Vrabel declined to provide much detail on a Downing contingency plan, beyond that he felt that there were plenty of capable people on Tennessee’s staff.
What impact, if any, that has on Downing’s ability to execute his job moving forward remains to be seen. The Titans play-caller and his unit felt like they had found some stability over the course of the last 10 days after Tannehill’s return to the line-up. Thursday night’s offensive performance in Green Bay felt like a bit of a vindication for Downing.
The long-time assistant coach has been under significant scrutiny from a fan base who feel like he’s underachieving despite the team’s success.
“Ultimately, you have to find a way to win games,” Tannehill told media on Tuesday. “I think we’ve done that over the course of the last seven or eight weeks. Definitely is going to be the No. 1 thing moving forward.”
They’ll need that and more when the Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) travel to Nissan Stadium on Sunday.
Featured Image: USA TODAY Sports.