NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Six things standing out for the Titans after Sunday's win over the Giants, and heading into this Saturday's game vs. the Redskins.
We've seen Derrick Henry's physicality, and there's no question he's been more decisive hitting holes. But what's also stood out about the Titans running back is his patience, especially in space. In recent weeks he's slowed down to put himself in a better position to deliver stiff-arms, and it's been working.
Mariota's a Gamer
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for just 88 yards in Sunday's win, but he still made a big impact on the game. Mariota showed a nice spin move in the pocket while creating more time on one throw, and he made a number of clutch deliveries. But what about that block that brought Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree to his knees? It's why Mariota's teammates love him.
Defense, Defense, Defense
The Titans have climbed back up to No.2 in the NFL in scoring defense, thanks to a three straight outstanding performances on defense. The Titans recorded their first shutout since 2000 vs. the Giants, one week after allowing just one touchdown (and it was a questionable one) vs. the Jaguars. The Jets didn't score a touchdown on offense either. So in the past 12 quarters, opposing offenses have score just one TD. That's pretty impressive.
The Titans need to beat the Redskins. The Titans need to beat the Redskins. The Titans need to beat the Redskins. OK, so we've established the Titans have to take care of their own business to give themselves a chance for a win-and-in scenario vs the Colts in Week 17. They also need help, and the help needed is down to this: either the Steelers (at Saints, vs Bengals) or Ravens (at Chargers, vs Browns) have to lose just once. Buckle up.
Titans tackle Dennis Kelly has been a pro since arriving in town, and his commitment to the team was on full display last week. Kelly lost his father during the week leading up to the game. He missed just one practice, and he was on the field Sunday. With a heavy heart, he played at a high level against the Giants. Debate all you want about whether Kelly's currently an upgrade over Jack Conklin. There's no disputing his tough-mindedness.
All Quiet Around Butler
Remember all the noise surrounding Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler earlier in the season? Yeah, Butler heard it, too. He acknowledged it in the locker room on Tuesday. Well, it's quiet now, as Butler has done a solid job while keeping receivers across from him in check. Butler doesn't want props. He said he just wants to keep doing his job, which he's doing well right now.
The Tennessee Titans take on the New York Giants in Week 15 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018 at MetLife Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)