Titans beat down the Dolphins 34-3 to go back to back in the AFC South.
1. Division Champs – I’ve been adamant all season that winning the division is not this teams goal. Their goals are MUCH bigger. Having said that, it’s a nice reward and a nice message to Indianapolis to keep them in the back seat two straight years.
2. 30 Years – Yeah, it’s been 30 years since the Titans/Oilers went back to back. Consider all of the years they played in the AFC Central with those dominant Steeler teams and some pretty good Bengal teams and then they had to endure Manning & Luck back to back… “Their” time has been a long time coming, we’ll see how long it lasts.
3. Next! – It seems like every week we hear why the Titans are going to lose. This week it was the red hot Miami Dolphins winners of 7 straight and the Belichick disciple Brian Flores. We said take a look at who they have played and the lack of quality quarterback they have faced. It fell on deaf ears. Then today they put a Titan size beat down on Miami and they were never a threat to not only win the game, but to make the Titans sweat.
4. Revenge Game! – I love a revenge game and if Ryan Tannehill will not talk about it I will! They begged the Titans to take him off their hands, they even paid millions of dollars of his salary to play for someone else. No matter what Tannehill says or said this game mattered to him. AJ Brown let the cat of the bag that before he hit Firkser for his last TD he told everyone he wanted to put it on them. Tannehill’s numbers were modest 13 of 18 for 120 yards. The two big stats though were 2 touchdowns and 0 turnovers.
5. Dominant D – Bud Dupree and Denico Autry came off the Covid list Saturday and boy did they show today. They were both a force up front and when they are both in the lineup the Titans front four is as dominant as there is in the league. They had 4 more sacks giving them 45 for the season, more than doubling last years total. They have also held 3 opponents to 3 points or less!!! In a league where the rules favor the offense that is unbelievable. I think what makes this team so exciting headed into the playoffs is that their defense gives them an opportunity to beat everyone.
6. Shutting down their dudes – The Dolphins top 2 weapons in this game were unquestionably Jaylen Waddle and tight Mike Gesicki. The Titans really took them out of the game. Waddle caught only 3 of 7 targets for 47 yards, 45 of those on one play. So the other 2 catches went for 2 whole yards. Gesicki was held to 4 catches for 51 yards as the Titans held down another top tight end and I was not the jinx Mike Vrabel was worried I would be.
7. Keep Pounding the Rock – Loved the Titans attitude on offense in this one because this one did not start well, but they did not panic, they just kept pounding away. They had 7 yards and 2 three and outs to start the game, but drive number saw them go 46 yards for a touchdown. D’Onta Foreman had a big 14 yard run to the 1 yard line and after that the big man took over.
8. Speaking of Foreman – 26 carries for 132 yards for his third 100 yard game of the season. No, he’s not Derrick Henry but he gives them something like Henry. A big body with some explosiveness that can wear teams down. He reminds me a lot of Legarrette Blount. The Titans rushed for 198 yards, that’s just 2 shy of their third 200 yard game without Henry. So they’ve been able to run the ball without him and when they do they are very tough to beat. I tell this story all of the time, so I’m sorry, but I’ve like Foreman for a long time. He was third on my Heisman ballot his last year at Texas and I can’t believe he was on the sideline to start the season. As soon as I learned Henry was out he was the guy I said the Titans should go get and he has seized the opportunity.
9. AJ Brown – He only had 2 catches, but they were for 25 and 16 yards and they were significant in leading the Titans to scores. One of them converted a 2nd and 15. He brings the chunk play back to the passing game and they just can not throw it without him.
10. All 3 Phases – The Titans dominated all 3 phases and that of course includes special teams. Brett Kern was fantastic in pinning a limited offense deep. Randy Bullock was perfect going 2 for 2 on field goals and 4 for 4 on extra points. I also though Chester Rogers had an effective day in the return game returning 3 punts for 28 yards.
11. Tua Talk – Yeah, he was not good today. He struggled with the elements, the pressure and accuracy. He’s going to have to get a heck of a lot better to lead the Dolphins to the promised land.
12. Officials – Maybe they can sit out a play or two. During a stretch there they took over!
13. Coach of the Year – Mike Vrabel is in my opinion without question the NFL Coach of the Year. He kept his team together after they lost Derrick Henry and he kept them together as they used 88 players as injuries ravaged his roster. They have never wavered from who they are or how they do things. The opener with Arizona is the only game all season I feel like they were outplayed in. In three of their other four losses turnovers cost them the game, they played well enough to win against the Texans, Steelers and Patriots, they dominated the stats they just turned over the ball over and over and over again. The Jets game they just played awful, I’ve got nothing for that one. Back to Vrabel, how many times were the Titans an underdog this season? A lot and that is when Vrabel is at his best, when things look to be at their worst. This team had every reason to fall apart and did not. Instead I still think their best football is to come and they are a MAJOR threat to go to the Super Bowl.
14. It Runs Thru Nashville – Yep, the Titans have a first round bye and home field all the way to the Super Bowl with a win next week in Houston.
15. Favorite Quote – Taylor Lewan after the game “Bengals won right? Looks like we’ve got a game to win next week”
16. The Real MVP – Mike Vrable, Jon Robinson, Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry? Nope.It’s Amy Adams Strunk. When she took over about 6 years ago I view as the most important moment in Titans history since they moved to Nashville. She saved them from the abyss. Tommy Smith was running this organization into the ground and she stepped in and has completely turned everything around. 6 straight winning seasons, 4 trips to the playoffs, 2 division titles, upgraded facilities across the board and she does it by hiring good people and letting them do their jobs. Cheers to Amy Adams Strunk, to me this championship is her championship.