The Titans’ offense looked like the 2019 and 2020 versions of itself in the first half, only to lay an egg in the final two quarters. Thankfully, the defense was able to bail out the offense for the second straight week and get the win.
That is surely surprising to the countless people who wrongly thought the Colts were the class of the AFC South going into 2022.
With the help of the late, great Dennis Green, we’ll talk about how the Colts looked on Sunday, and we’ll go over the Titans’ second-half woes among the eight biggest takeaways from Tennessee’s Week 4 win.
Second-half woes continue
Syndication: The Tennessean
The Titans looked like world-beaters in the first half against the Colts in Week 4, as they scored on four of five possessions en route to 24 points. Tennessee could’ve had more if not for a botched final drive.
But Titans fans knew better than to get too excited, as the offense has routinely failed to show up in the second half of games this season, something that continued on Sunday.
Staked to a 24-10 lead at the half, the Titans didn’t score a single point in the final two quarters for the third straight game. Thankfully, the defense stepped up big time, and the Colts couldn’t get out of their own way, either.
After four games, the Titans have been outscored by opponents 64-7 in the second half, which is wholly unacceptable.
Chalk it up to taking their foot off the pedal or whatever you want, this is a major problem the Titans have to solve and so far offensive coordinator Todd Downing hasn’t been able to do that.
Whatever the Titans are doing at halftime, let’s try and do the opposite next week, OK?
Another save for the defense
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
For the second straight week, the defense came up huge for the Titans while the offense completely stalled in the second half.
There were certainly some warts along the way, especially when it came to giving up big plays in the secondary, but the defense not only helped contribute to the 24-10 first-half lead, the unit also made it stand up.
Tennessee notched a pair of turnovers in the first half, both of which came in Colts territory and led to points. In the second half, the Titans’ defense was able to limit the Colts to just seven points and notched another turnover, thwarting a potential game-tying drive late in the game.
Perhaps most impressively, the Titans held the so-called best running back in the NFL to just 42 rushing yards and 2.1 yards per carry.
While this is all well and good, we can’t expect this unit to keep doing this and the offense has to do a better job taking pressure off. That said, if the offense can right the ship, the Titans will be in a very good place overall thanks to a defense that has been impressive in 2022.
The Colts are who we thought they were: OVERRATED
AP Photo/Zach Bolinger
While the national media spent the offseason hyping up the Colts as this team that should win the AFC South and have the potential to be special, in reality they are exactly what Titans fans thought they were: OVERRATED.
As we saw on Sunday, that offense is a mistake-prone disaster with Matt Ryan under center, and the Titans had their way with what was supposed to be the Colts’ strong suit, the defense, in the first half.
Hell, the Titans barely even left the locker room for the second half and still managed to pull out the win. Anyone still clinging to the idea that the Colts are the class of the AFC South are lying to themselves.
They aren’t even better than the Jags, and one can make the argument they’re on par with the Texans after tying them in Week 1. Jim Irsay must be beside himself.
Derrick Henry back on track
Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Derrick Henry took yet another step in the right direction after having his best game of 2022 in Week 4 — and he did so against one of the league’s best run defenses while also outperforming the so-called best running back in the NFL by a wide margin.
Not only did Henry cross the century mark for the first time this season, he also passed the eye test by looking better as a runner than he had in the first three games.
Granted, Henry wasn’t able to do much in the second half, but his 99 rushing yards in the first half played a huge role in Tennessee jumping out to the lead it did.
The Titans are also involving The King more in the passing game, and while he did have a few drops, Henry made some impact plays as well, which is huge for an offense that can use all the help it can get through the air.
Chig comes up big
Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Okonkwo’s production doesn’t jump off the page at you with three catches for 38 yards, but they were three huge catches.
The touchdown reception speaks for itself, but Chig also nabbed a 23-yard grab on the second offensive drive in the first quarter, helping set his team up for six.
And, with the Titans clinging to a one-score lead late and needing to move the chains on third down to put the game away, Tennessee called Chig’s number, and he delivered with the first-down grab.
On an offense needing answers through the air, Okonkwo should be more involved moving forward.
Bud Dupree can't stay healthy
AP Photo/Brett Carlsen
For the second time this season, Bud Dupree exited a game early due to a hip injury. The veteran missed an entire game in Week 3 with the injury, also.
With Harold Landry out for the season, the Titans can ill-afford to lose Dupree for any period of time.
Unfortunately, he has become unreliable since signing with the Titans, which is a shame because he’s a clear difference-maker for the pass-rush when on the field, even when he doesn’t get to the quarterback.
If Dupree misses time, the Titans have to make a move at the position and can’t keep relying on practice-squad-level players to fill the void. Perhaps Tennessee should do so even if Dupree doesn’t miss time.
However, finding solid help at such a premium position is far easier said than done, especially during the season.
Titans need to make a move at WR
Syndication: The Tennessean
The Titans already had question marks at wide receiver with Treylon Burks on the field, but now things are more dire with the rookie likely set to miss some time with a foot injury.
The good news is Burks wasn’t contributing a ton, but the bad news is taking him off the field gives the Titans’ opponents one less thing to worry about, and it depletes an already suspect receiving corps.
Knowing the Titans, they’ll probably just roll with what they have in-house, which consists of Cody Hollister and Josh Gordon, and Racey McMath might be another option if he’s activated off injured reserve this week.
Options are thin out there, but the Titans need to explore them and make a move if Burks is going to miss multiple weeks or more.
Will Fuller and T.Y. Hilton are two names that immediately come to mind, and at this point I’d be willing to sign Odell Beckham Jr., but it’s doubtful he’d want to come to Nashville.
Help is hopefully on the way
AP Photo/Jason Behnken
Guys like Elijah Molden, Monty Rice, Chance Campbell and Racey McMath are all eligible to come off the injured reserve and the PUP list this week, although it isn’t clear if any of the four are actually ready to do so.
Hopefully, at least Molden is, but the Titans could also use McMath after the injury to Treylon Burks, and Rice and/or Campbell with linebacker Zach Cunningham dealing with an elbow injury.
Of those four, Molden’s return is the most important after what we’ve seen from the secondary depth.
AP Photo/Mark Zaleski