MINNEAPOLIS -- The Titans beat the Minnesota Vikings 31-30 on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Here's a look at six things that stood out from the game as the team begins to turn its attention to Sunday's game against Pittsburgh Steelers:
Tannehill Deep Ball
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill got hot just in time on Sunday while registering his first 300-yard game of the season. Tannehill also continued to impress throwing the deep ball, as he completed tosses of 44 and 61 yards to receiver Kalif Raymond. If it looked familiar, it's because Tannehill also hit Raymond in stride on a pair of deep ball touchdowns last season. Tannehill's touch hasn't gone unnoticed. Said former NFL quarterback and NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms: "Ryan Tannehill has injected himself into the conversation for one of the best deep-ball throwers in the game."
Titans outside linebacker Vic Beasley didn't play a whole lot in his debut with the team, but it was at least a start. And he showed up a few times as well. Beasley played in 16 snaps, and while he wasn't credited with a tackle or a sack, he was around for the clean-up on a sack credited to defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, and he also pressured Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins on the final pass of the game. It's safe to say he's now trending in a positive direction. "It felt good to be out there with a group of guys that love to compete, love to work," Beasley said. "We had a lot of effort, a lot of guys playing in unison a lot of guys working together, hungry to get to the quarterback."
Let's keep it real in here – the Titans were shaky on defense for the second week in a row. And they'd better get some things before Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers roll into town. A week after allowing 30 points vs the Jaguars, the Vikings also put up 30 on the Titans while racking up 464 yards of offense. Running back Dalvin Cook ran for 181 yards and a score, quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 251 yards and three TDs and receiver Justin Jefferson tallied seven catches for 175 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown catch. If you've played the Titans defense in fantasy football the past two weeks, you're probably not happy. The Titans have been able to smile through the struggles, but the defense needs to get some things cleaned up.
Gostkowski's Still Got It
OK, were you among those tweeting to me the Titans should leave kicker Stephen Gostkowski in Denver after he misfired on three field goals and an extra point in the opener? Go ahead, admit it. Well, Gostkowski has now made nine straight field goals since, including six on Sunday, and game-winners three weeks in a row. Gostkowski has figured things out. Now, the Titans need to get back to producing in the red zone, and keep him from being on the field so much. Unless it's for extra points, of course.
At the beginning of every season, when I'm asked how I think the Titans will fare, I always say it depends on the team's ability to stay healthy, and to win close games. Well, the Titans have been clutch so far this season, and Tannehill has proven he's clutch under pressure. The Titans earned their 14th one-point win in franchise history on Sunday, and their first since a 16-15 win at Detroit on Sept. 18, 2016. Sunday's win was the team's third consecutive game decided by three points or less to begin the season – the Titans have won their three games by a total of six points. As for Tannehill, in the 13 regular season games he's started since taking over as the fulltime starter in Week 7 of 2019, five of the team's 10 wins have been decided by three points or less. They own the most such wins in that time period.
Derrick Henry Rolling
After three games last season, Titans running back Derrick Henry had 210 rushing yards. He ended up leading the NFL in rushing yards with 1,540. After three games this season, Henry already has 319 yards. Henry notched his 15th career 100-yard rushing game on Sunday with a 119-yard effort and he scored two touchdowns in the process. He has two 100-yard rushing games through three games in 2020. Henry has once again been a workhorse. On Sunday, Henry became the fifth player in NFL history to have 25 or more rushing attempts in each of his team's first three games of a season, joining Buffalo's O.J. Simpson (1975), Dallas' Emmitt Smith (1994), Indianapolis' Edgerrin James (2002) and Houston's Arian Foster (2012). He also moved into fourth place on the franchise's all-time rushing list with 4,152 career rushing yards, and he trails only Eddie George (10,009), Earl Campbell (8,574) and Chris Johnson.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3 at U.S. Bank Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)