About 24 hours later, the terror remains true for Titans fans. It was not a dream. Tennessee really did lose to the New York Jets in overtime. Between injuries and poor play across the board, the Titans were the team that just never got off the ground.
The defense had third-down woes once again. Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson showed flashes of what made him a great college QB. In crunch time, the pass-rush could not get to him, and he consistently connected with his receivers downfield after evading pressure. One of those connections was with former Titans WR Corey Davis. Plainly, it symbolized the entire game for the Titans.
At the end of the day, though, the offensive line struggles reared their ugly heads the most of any unit.
The Jets pass rush pressured Ryan Tannehill on 21 of his 56 dropbacks (37.5% pressure rate). Four different Jets defenders generated 6+ pressures, tied for most in a game by any defense since 2016.
Jets Team QB Pressures:
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 4, 2021
Ryan Tannehill was running for his life for most of the day. Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh and company clearly had a game plan. They had faith in their defensive backs to be able to hang with the backup wide receivers for the Titans. They did exactly that in most instances.
New York’s defensive line feasted in the meantime. There’s some talent on their line, certainly. Regardless, it doesn’t have the eye-popping names of many other teams’ units. John Franklin-Myers and Bryce Huff headlined the production, while young star DL Quinnen Williams made plays both against the pass and the run.
Lack of Pressure on Zach Wilson
On the defensive flip-side, the Titans had one sack. The cornerbacks were stuck on islands for most of the game, while Wilson extended plays. That was the recipe for disaster in 2020 for Tennessee.
Zach Wilson finished 21-37 with 297 yards with 2 tds and 1 pick. Passer rating of 97.3.
Best rookie QB performance of the 2021 class.
— DJ Bien-Aime (@Djbienaime) October 3, 2021
Sunday looked like a flashback to that defense at times. It all culminated in a fourth-quarter where Zach Wilson threw for as many touchdowns as he had thrown in the previous three games combined.
Wasted Opportunities Early
The Titans did not take advantage of early defensive stops by settling for three early field goals, either. As the game continued, the Jets began to put together drives. That’s how it goes when a team does not put away their opponent early on when they have the chance to do so.
As the Jets gained momentum, the Titans began to make even more mistakes. The play-calling became more conservative, too. The offense seemed to be put in a box, while the Jets offense started to expand. Defensive deficiencies glared as Jackrabbit Jenkins and Kristian Fulton both struggled in the fourth-quarter.
Mike Vrabel’s team has to take this debacle to heart. It was one thing to struggle to throw the ball downfield without Julio Jones and A.J. Brown. That was to be somewhat expected due to the inexperience deep on the depth chart.
It was another thing to crumble upfront and allow Zach Wilson to undoubtedly have the best game of his young career.