NASHVILLE – The Titans beat the Raiders 42-21 on Sunday in Oakland.
Here's a look at six things that stood out from the game as the team begins to turn its attention to the Houston Texans.
Tannehill Stays Hot
Ryan Tannehill is now 6-1 since taking over as the team's starting quarterback, and he's posted a passer rating of 100-plus in six of those contests and 130-plus in four of those games. Tannehill's 391-yard game, with a 140.4 rating and three touchdown passes, on Sunday in Oakland was a dandy. The veteran QB continued to spread the ball around, finding 10 different targets on the day. How hot is No.17? Well, Tannehill joined Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (three games in 2011) as the only players to complete at least 75 percent of their passes with a passer rating of 130 or higher (minimum 10 attempts) in three consecutive games in a single season in NFL history. He also joined Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (five games in 2015) as the only players with four consecutive games with at least two passing touchdowns and a passer rating of 125 or higher in NFL history.
Henry's Still Rolling
The one-two punch of Tannehill and Titans running back Derrick Henry has paced the red-hot offense, and Henry did his part again on Sunday with a 103-yard effort. Henry battled through a hamstring injury during the contest, but he refused to be sidelined. He also refused to be contained on a pair of touchdown runs, and he now has 13 rushing touchdowns on the season. Henry has 599 yards and seven touchdowns in the last four contests, and he's averaged 8.2, 8.4, 5.7 and 5.7 yards per carry in those contests. The big back is rolling and right now.
The Titans keep lighting up scoreboards, from coast to coast. The points on Sunday came at a fast and furious pace – 21 in each half -- and it's suddenly becoming the norm. The team reached 30 points for the fourth consecutive game, accomplishing the feat for the first time since 2003. In the past four games, the Titans have scored a whopping 150 points. Titans OC Arthur Smith has his offense putting up big numbers – the team's 552 net yards vs the Raiders was the most in the "Titans era" and the most since Nov. 10, 1991, when the Oilers racked up 583 vs. the Dallas Cowboys. Also, the yardage total was sixth-highest single-game total in franchise history, and it amounted to the fifth-best total by any NFL team in 2019.
A.J. Brown's Toughness
Titans receiver A.J. Brown is a physical specimen who is hard to corral with the football in his hands. Exhibit A came on Brown's 91-yard touchdown catch, when he caught the ball near midfield and then brushed off a would-be tackler with ease. But Brown really showed his grit on the 16-yard touchdown grab, when he bounced off three would-be tacklers like he was in a pinball machine on the way to the end zone. Brown finished with five catches for 153 yards and the two scores. He became the first rookie in the "Titans era" with three 100-yard receiving games. The franchise's last rookie to accomplish the feat? Oilers receiver Ernest Givins (four in 1986).
Defense Rises to the Occasion
Things didn't look great early for the Titans defense. The Raiders mounted long scoring drives and seemed to match the Titans' every move. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw just three incompletions in the first half as Oakland scored 21 points. But the Titans stiffened up in the second half, when they held the Raiders scoreless. Cornerback Tye Smith forced a fumble that linebacker Jayon Brown picked up and ran back for a touchdown, the defense got a goal-line stand late in another defend-every-blade-of-grass moment. When the Titans took over the game late in the third and early in the fourth quarters, the defense forced three straight three-and-outs and then got the defensive touchdown. It was a critical stretch that helped change the game.
The Titans once again got big plays from all over the roster. Fullback Khari Blasingame made a pair of nice catches, and finished with two grabs for 47 yards. Tight ends MyCole Pruitt (1-42) and Anthony Firkser (1-39) made big catches behind Jonnu Smith, whose 17-yard touchdown grab gave the team a two-touchdown lead. Kalif Raymond had a big third down catch. The entire offensive line deserves props for giving Tannehill time – he wasn't sacked once on Sunday. The Titans continue to get top-notch performances from some of the team's front-line guys, but the team is now at the front of the line (tied with the Texans) in the AFC South because players everywhere are stepping up and making big plays.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Oakland Raiders in Week 14 of the 2019 season at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. (Photos: Donald Page)