The Tennessee Titans started their season off on the wrong foot on Sunday, dropping their season-opener at home to the New York Giants, 21-20.
The Titans came out of the gates fast, jumping out to a 13-0 lead going into the half but were unable to muster up much offense in the final two quarters, while the defense failed to hold the lead.
After allowing a late touchdown in the fourth quarter, giving the Giants a 21-20 lead, the Titans were able to drive down the field to put themselves in position to win, but Randy Bullock’s 47-yard attempt was no good.
This was an ugly, disappointing loss for Tennessee, a team that looked like it expected an easy second half. Let’s dive a bit deeper and see what happened in Week 1.
Final score: Giants 21, Titans 20
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It was over when...
Syndication: The Tennessean
Randy Bullock’s 47-yard field goal at the end of regulation sailed left, securing the win for Big Blue. Bullock is usually money in these situations, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday.
AP Photo/Nick Wass
-OLB Ola Adeniyi (shoulder)
-LT Taylor Lewan and DL Denico Autry were banged up during the game, but both returned to the field.
Titans' top performers
AP Photo/Mark Zaleski
DL Jeffery Simmons: 6 tackles (2 TFL), 2 sacks, 2 QB Hits, one forced fumble
RB Dontrell Hilliard: 2 carries, 8 yards; 3 receptions, 61 yards, 2 TDs
WR Kyle Philips: 6 receptions, 66 yards; 46-yard punt return
OLB Rashad Weaver: 4 tackles (2 TFL), 2 sacks
Instant analysis: Offense and special teams
AP Photo/Mark Zaleski
-Taylor Lewan left the game for a drive due to an undisclosed injury, and it was Dennis Daley, not Dillon Radunz, who was the next man up at left tackle.
-Tennessee’s offense got off to a fast start with a touchdown on its first drive (with a big assist from Kyle Philips’ 46-yard punt return), but things stalled for pretty much the rest of the game, with Tennessee failing to cash in on a pair of drives in Giants territory, instead settling for field goals. The Titans scored just seven points in the second half, allowing Big Blue to climb back into this one.
-Ryan Tannehill wasn’t at his best in this game but did just enough to put the Titans in position to win. Still, Tennessee will need more from the veteran, but we also have to remember this was his first game with a bunch of new players. Tannehill spread it around like we expected him to, connecting with nine different receivers. He finished 20-33 for 266 yards and two scores.
-Dontrell Hilliard made a huge impact in the passing game, notching receiving scores of 23 and seven yards, and a long gain of 31. If he keeps playing as well as he did in Week 1, we won’t see much of Hassan Haskins this year. Speaking of Haskins, he was in for pass protection purposes on Tennessee’s final drive, but he did not get a touch.
-Tannehill has solid chemistry already with his two rookie receivers, Burks (3-55) and Philips (6-66), both of whom had solid games, finishing third and first receiving yards, respectively. Burks had a pair of 20-plus yard gains, and Philips came up clutch on Tennessee’s final drive with three grabs, one of which set up the potential game-winner that Bullock missed.
-The offensive line did a great job in pass protection, as Tannehill had plenty of time to throw all day and was sacked just once. Granted, the Giants were missing a few key pass-rushers, but it was a good showing nonetheless.
-Nicholas Petit-Frere and Aaron Brewer looked good. Brewer had a pair of holding penalties, but both were questionable. Petit-Frere had a false start.
-Derrick Henry couldn’t get much going on the ground (21-82, 3.9 yards per carry). He also had a pair of carries called back because of holding penalties.
-Philips wasted no time getting involved in the return game after taking his first career punt return for 46 yards, setting the Titans up for their first score. However, he would muff a punt in the fourth quarter but was thankfully saved by an Amani Hooker pick in the end zone.
-Todd Downing got too cute on multiple third-and-short plays, including going to a TE handoff on one late in the fourth quarter that got stuffed on third-and-1. That play proved to be huge, as it prevented the Titans from being able to run the clock down more and gave New York the ball with plenty of time to tie or take the lead. I’m not football coach, but there’s no reason why Henry shouldn’t have gotten the ball in that situation. This offense continues to be hindered by its play-caller, and that won’t change as long as Downing is at the helm. I’m already yearning for Tim Kelly to take over.
-Ryan Stonehouse was sensational in his debut, averaging 57 yards over six punts. He dropped three inside the 20.
Instant analysis: Defense
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-Ola Adeniyi was the starter opposite Bud Dupree, but Rashad Weaver saw snaps as the game progressed, especially when Adeniyi exited with a shoulder injury.
-Roger McCreary got the start outside but Caleb Farley was not the extra corner in the sub-package on the opening series. Instead, it was Ugo Amadi, who saw snaps there during the game. Farley would begin getting involved in the sub-package the next series but it’s clear he has work to do in order to work his way up the depth chart.
-Tennessee’s defensive front was absolutely dominant early on. Tennessee had four sacks and seven QB hits in the first half alone. Unfortunately, the Giants did a better job protecting Daniel Jones in the second half, allowing him to make some plays with his arm and legs. It’s hard to hold this loss against Tennessee’s defense, though, as the offense did little to support it in the second half, including having issues sustaining drives.
-The run defense which was elite in 2021, was terrible on Sunday. Saquon Barkley ripped off some chunk gains, including a 68-yard scamper that set New York up for its first score. He nearly broke a long touchdown run later but had the ball poked out of bounds by Kristian Fulton. Barkley averaged 9.1 yards per carry and finished with 164 on the day. On a day where the Giants weren’t moving the ball with much success through the air, the Titans needed to keep Barkley in check but failed to do so.
-We saw some warts in coverage, including a big one from Kristian Fulton, who got caught looking into the backfield on one play, allowing Sterling Shepard to blow right by him for a long touchdown. Adding insult to injury, Fulton missed a tackle that would have prevented the touchdown, also. McCreary had a chance to stop Barkley on the go-ahead two-point conversion but was unable to do so.
-Jeffery Simmons was an absolute force. He notched a pair of sacks, one of which caused a fumble the Titans recovered. Simmons also set up Bud Dupree’s first sack of 2022. Dupree set the table for one of Simmons’ sacks as well.
-Rashad Weaver answered the bell with a strong showing, notching a pair of sacks. The second-year pro looks legit after Week 1.
Syndication: The Tennessean
The Titans (0-1) had a chance to own sole possession of first place after Week 1, as the Colts and Texans tied and the Jaguars lost, but now they sit in the cellar tied with Jacksonville. Things won’t get any easier in Week 2, as the Titans have to travel to Buffalo to take on one of the league’s elite teams, the Bills.