NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Here's a look at six things standing out for Titans at the season's halfway point.
Top 10 rankings**
Through Monday's games, the Titans are ranked in the top 10 in the NFL on both offense and defense. The Titans are ranked 9th on offense (3rd rushing, 26th passing) and 10th on defense (5th rushing, 20th passing). The Titans have scored 26-plus points in four straight games for the first time since 2003. The Titans have made strides on both sides of the ball. The Titans finished 30 in the NFL in total offense (25th and 25th) in 2015, and 12th on defense (18th and 7th).
At the season's halfway point, Mariota has thrown for 1,874 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. Mariota is on pace for 3,748 passing yards, 28 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions this season. The passing yards total would be biggest in the "Titans era" and the most passing yards for a QB with the franchise since Warren Moon (4,690) in 1991. No, he hasn't been perfect. But he's been pretty darn good.
When the Titans traded for Murray, many national observers wondered how much he had left after a sub-par year in Philadelphia. Murray has shown he has plenty of gas left in the tank. At the season's halfway point, Murray has 756 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, and 28 catches for 197 yards and two more scored. He's eclipsed the 100-yard mark in four of the last six games, and he's on pace to finish with 1,512 rushing yards.
Offensive line play**
Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin haven't just been solid for the Titans, they've been among the top linemen in the NFL this season. Pro Football Focus has Conklin as the NFL's 3rd ranked tackle, and Lewan is ranked fourth. Neither player has allowed a sack all season. They've been part of an offensive line that's been much improved. Mariota has only been sacked 12 times in eight games after being sacked 38 times in 12 games last season. Across the board, the unit has been solid.
The Titans have 22 sacks on the season, and outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan have led the way. Orakpo has a team-high seven sacks, and he's been disruptive in the first half of the season. Morgan has been making a lot of noise of late, with 5.5 sacks in the last four games. The Titans are ranked (10th) in the NFL in sacks per play on defense.
Go get it
A year ago, the Titans were 2-6 at the halfway point. They were also 2-6 at the turn in 2014. Today, the team is 4-4 and in the thick of things in the AFC South, where the Texans (5-3) lead them by the game. The Titans went 3-1 in the second quarter of the season, and will carry momentum into the second half of the year at San Diego. The combined record of the opponents in the final eight games is 30-31. The division is there for the taking. The Titans just need to go get it.