The Titans had about as bad of a Week 1 performance of any team in the NFL not named the Green Bay Packers. There were a lot of factors that went into that, and both players and coaches are responsible for the ugly loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Luckily, it was only the first game of the season. There’s still plenty of time to iron things out, and there is plenty of opportunity for that.
Surprisingly, Ryan Tannehill did not have nearly as bad of a game as the final score indicates. He was running for his life for most of the game and was sacked six times. Regardless, it certainly wasn’t one of his best performances. Tennessee will need more from him and every other piece of the offense going forward.
The Cardinals pressured Ryan Tannehill on 17 of 41 dropbacks (41.5%), led by Chandler Jones & their defensive front.
🔹 7 QBP on 28 pass rushes (25.0%)
🔹 4 QBP on 23 pass rushes (17.4%)
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 12, 2021
Running Back: C-
With the large deficit in the second half, the Titans basically abandoned the running game. Derrick Henry was held in check, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. That was one of the biggest reasons that the offense could not get off the ground in the first half.
Wide Receiver: D+
It was not the best opener for Julio Jones as a Titan. He had a personal foul in the first half, and the Cardinals’ secondary kept him at bay with only three catches for 29 yards. A.J. Brown’s touchdown was the highlight for the group. There were a couple of tough drops on difficult catches by the unit as well.
Tight End: D
Speaking of drops, the Tight Ends had a couple, too. Geoff Swaim dropped a would-be TD, and Anthony Firkser was just never very involved in the passing game.
Offensive Line: F
This was easily the biggest hole on the offense. It wasn’t just the play at right tackle, either. The struggles were across the board, which LT Taylor Lewan highlighted on Twitter after the game.
Got my ass kicked today, no way around that. I let the team and the fans down. Thank you @chanjones55 for exposing me. It will only force me to get better.
— Taylor Lewan (@TaylorLewan77) September 12, 2021
They allowed six sacks of Tannehill, and Henry never had much room to work with in the running game. Not to mention, five of those six sacks came from a single player, Chandler Jones. The entire position has to improve quickly for Tennessee’s offense to score enough to make up for deficiencies on defense – it seems.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) September 12, 2021
Defensive Line: C
The D-Line didn’t jump off the screen too often, positively or negatively. Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry recorded a sack, but Kyler Murray was not under too much pressure throughout the game. They need more from newly-acquired Bud Dupree on the pass-rush.
Similar to the line, linebacker wasn’t great nor terrible. Missing David Long Jr. made life more difficult in trying to contain Kyler Murray. Rashaan Evans had a pretty good game, though. Containing the Cardinals’ QB is a tough ask, and they had their up’s and down’s in their attempts at that.
The Titans’ cornerbacks had a lot of struggles against Arizona. Cardinals’ receivers consistently created space, and there were a couple of blown coverages on the back-end as well. DeAndre Hopkins was able to do mostly anything he wanted to against Jackrabbit Jenkins and the secondary. The young CBs showed their inexperience at times, but Kristian Fulton was easily the best cornerback for Tennessee on Sunday.
Like the CBs, the safeties had a lot of bumps. Outside of his interception, Kevin Byard struggled, and Amani Hooker did not have his best day either. Both units will need to work together to get better as the Titans face Russell Wilson and the Seahawks next weekend.
Brett Kern, reliable as ever. He averaged 50.3 yards on his three punts. He was the MVP for the Titans, and you never want that nod to go to your punter.
Conversely, Michael Badgley struggled mightily after being a last-minute addition to the team. He missed the one field goal he attempted and went 1/2 on extra points.
As you can tell, this isn’t a report card that your parents would be too happy about. The Titans will look to get more passing grades in Week 2 and beyond.