For much of this season, the M.O. for the Tennessee Titans‘ offense has been to run the football and figure everything else out later.

That statement shouldn’t stand alongside professional offenses, given the talent and experience both player and staff have across this league as a whole. But for the Titans, it’s perfect for their current situation and brand of football.

Simply because they’ve had to do what they do best — which is running the football — and figure out the supporting details later — in this case, the supporting act known as the passing game.

The results for religiously following this mantra haven’t been great, more so evidenced by the Titans’ rather poor statistical rankings for the offensive side of the ball. But the process has been a necessary one for this team, as their current skill position predicament isn’t one you’d call rich with talent.

However, today against the Denver Broncos, the Titans ran into a bit of a pickle in terms of strictly sticking to their schematic beliefs on offense.

Instead of forcing the issue when it comes to running the football, they were forced to throw the football and they were forced to throw it way more than they’d like. Usually, when this Titans offense is forced to throw the football, the offense isn’t anything more than an embarrassment.

Or if you want a more colorful description, nothing more than a two cent actor attempting to replace a star, Hollywood actor in an expensive blockbuster.

However, much to our surprise today, the Titans’ offense played above the meaning of a two cent replacement actor or an embarrassment to offenses across the league.

No, they completely turned their reputation on its head, by somehow turning themselves into a legit looking NFL offense with a half decent passing attack.

To be fair, the passing attack’s success in a nutshell was bloated by big plays in the second half, and a fairly decent drive near the end of the first half which resulted in a touchdown.

“We hit some big plays.” Mike Vrabel said.

Structure was apparent during those instances and the overall feel of the passing game felt more secure and fluent.

There wasn’t a lot of consistency from drive to drive, which is to be expected given the obvious impairments — playcalling, pass protection, and a lack of sufficient receiving options — the offense has to overcome whenever they do decide to throw the football.

But there were some general improvements made against a very good Broncos secondary, one that you have to mentioned though, was without Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons.

Despite the big time absence in Denver’s secondary, you have to give credit to this passing attack, which has been anemic and downright ugly on a consistent basis this season. The sudden revival of the passing game was impressive on larger scale though, considering the lack of impact from Derrick Henry.

Henry’s carried this offense throughout the vast majority of the season, so not a lot of blame can he thrown his way. But against Denver, he was a non-factor for a good part of the game, something that happens from time to time given sheer threat he poses to opposing defenses.

“Every week, I’m pretty sure everyone is intent on stopping Derrick [Henry],” Vrabel said. “We gotta get him going, I think that’s obvious.”

“Today was tough sleddin’.”

Henry ran for only 53 yards on 19 carries for a measly 2.8 yards per carry.

Denver keyed in on shutting him down, as his dominant play and their inability to stop the run was certainly a mismatch before a single snap was played in this game.

As a result though, the Titans finally found some traction in an offensive aspect that hasn’t been kind to them. As eluded to earlier, most of that included big plays in the second half, mostly from Titans tight ends and a breakout day from Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.

Westbrook-Ikhine had a two touchdown day, one at the end of the first half, and another from a well timed flea flicker pass that he had to do a bit of work with to finish off the play and score a touchdown.

The rest of the big plays belonged to Titans tight ends, notably Austin Hooper — who made a few clutch catches on third down — and Chig Okonkwo — whose 41 yard catch and run set up Randy Bullock’s field goal late in the fourth quarter to extend the Titans’ lead to three.

A figure that became ultra important in a defensive struggle where points would be hard to come by.

These big plays were the difference in the end, as they helped Ryan Tannehill set his highest passing yardage total since Week Three.

We’re not going to see this type of passing output each week, as the offense has too many roadblocks to overcome to even think about putting up these numbers week to week. But for today, in a game where the Titans were tasked with supplying some form of life into the passing attack, they responded.

That in itself is an achievement, at least for now.

The winning formula will remain the same for the Titans moving forward, which is to run the football efficiently and play good defense, a formula that has played a big part in the Titans’ success this season.

But if — and that’s a very big if — this passing attack can look respectable in tough times — E.G., when the run game isn’t up to par — then the ceiling for this team, especially in a chaotic NFL, can be bumped up a tad.

But that’s a big if, an if I’m not sure this offense is capable of solving when it’ll all be set and done.

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Featured image via George Walker IV / Tennesseean.com-USA Today Network