There is a big distinction in those two records, as only one team has started out 0-2 and made it to the playoffs since the postseason expanded to seven teams in 2020.
Now, instead of the Titans having an 11.5-percent chance of making the playoffs with an 0-2 record, Tennessee has a 41.8-percent chance.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was no doubt the biggest winner for the Titans on Sunday after rightly taking flak for a poor performance in Week 1. Here’s a look at who else fell into that category, as well as those who emerged as losers and somewhere in between following the Week 2 win.
Chances of making the playoffs since 1990:
— Underdog NFL (@Underdog__NFL) September 17, 2023
Winner: QB Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill did a better job taking care of the football and was more accurate and decisive. He even managed to deliver a pair of beautiful deep balls that proved to be vital to two of Tennessee’s touchdown drives — and he did all this on an afternoon in which the offensive line was not good.
It’s too early to proclaim Tannehill is all the way back, but this was obviously a massive step in the right direction and its now OK to be optimistic about the veteran signal-caller’s outlook, and the offense in general.
Loser: OL Xavier Newman
I was surprised to see Newman get the nod at left guard over both Corey Levin and Dillon Radunz, and it proved to be the wrong move on the Titans’ part, as the 2022 undrafted free agent struggled mightily in the first quarter.
Give head coach Mike Vrabel credit, though, as it only took him the one quarter to realize his mistake before pulling the plug in favor of Radunz, which helped stabilize the unit.
Winners: Titans' WRs
With the Titans’ offense struggling badly, Treylon Burks provided a much-needed spark with a 70-yard reception that led to Tennessee’s first touchdown of 2023.
He only had two catches for six yards the rest of the way, but considering the situation at the time, Burks’ second-quarter grab might have been the biggest of the game.
Burks wasn’t the only receiver to have a key catch, though.
Chris Moore’s 49-yard grab helped setup another touchdown drive that was finished off by Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, which gave the Titans the lead in the fourth quarter.
Also, DeAndre Hopkins had a clutch 14-yard catch in overtime to put Tennessee in position for the game-winning field goal.
Loser: The offensive line
While Newman was no doubt as issue, he wasn’t the only problem with an offensive line that surrendered five sacks, six QB hits, and countless pressures throughout.
Things were particularly ugly in the first quarter before getting better after. But then the group upfront reverted back to its early ways later in the game.
On the bright side, the O-line did just enough to give Tannehill a chance to succeed, including allowing him enough time to connect on a pair of key deep balls that led to Tennessee touchdowns.
Despite all that, we can’t totally erase the poor performance and there’s no question the Titans need more consistency from the offensive line moving forward, both in run-blocking and pass protection.
Winner: K Nick Folk
Folk is now a perfect 7-for-7 on the season after nailing both of his field goal attempts in Week 2, one of which was the game-winner from 41 yards out.
We’ve now seen the veteran kicker check every box after hitting a 50-yard field goal, a game-winner and plenty of touchbacks in back-to-back weeks. The Titans are in good hands with the Folk hero.
In between: The defense
The pass-rush wasn’t as good as it was last week and the secondary, which was short-handed, once again struggled to limit big plays. But, at the end of the day, the defense did enough to help Tennessee secure its first win of the season.
Not only did the unit stop Justin Herbert and Co. from scoring a game-winning touchdown at the end of regulation, it also forced a three-and-out after the Chargers won the overtime coin toss, with Sean Murphy-Bunting’s pass break-up on a deep ball being the highlight play on that drive.
Before that, the defense kept Tennessee in the game early on while the offense figured its stuff out.
Sure, it wasn’t all good on Sunday, but the defense stepped up when the Titans needed it most and the bend-but-don’t-break effort was sufficient to escape with a win.
Winner: OLB Harold Landry
It has been a long road back for Landry, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL. The Boston College product was quiet in Week 1 and for most of Week 2, but he came through huge with a sack in the fourth quarter that thwarted a potential game-winning drive and sent the game into OT.
Welcome back, Harold.
Stonehouse was launching punts into the stratosphere to flip the field and erase the damage done by do-nothing and negative drives by the offense. In all, the second-year punter averaged a whopping 61.2 yards per punt.