NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Here's a look at six things that stood out - good and bad - from Sunday's 28-26 win over the Cleveland Browns:
Titans receiver Kendall Wright was once again a difference maker in Sunday's win, and that's a good sign moving forward. Despite playing only 22 snaps, Wright caught eight passes for 133 yards, along with the beautiful 48-yard touchdown catch. Time and again Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota looked for him when he needed a big completion. Wright admittedly was too hurried on his route running when he initially returned to the lineup following a hamstring injury. He looked sharp against the Browns, and his presence should help the entire offense.
Mariota's deep ball**
Mariota hushed questions about his ability to throw the deep ball with accuracy on Sunday, when he showed he's made improvements in that part of his game. Mariota connected with Wright (48 yards) and receiver Rishard Matthews (43 yards) on well-thrown deep balls. While Mariota admittedly put a little too much air under them -- both receivers had to dive – the passes were in a good position to be caught. Mariota was a perfect 4-4 on passes that traveled 20 yards or more vs the Browns. The success going deep helped open up things underneath in the passing game, and it should benefit the offense moving forward.
Brett Kern was a "great weapon" on Sunday. That's what Titans coach Mike Mularkey said after the game, but it was easy to see. Kern's ability to pin the Browns deep on multiple occasions was huge in the contest. It put the Titans defense in a position to be more aggressive, and it also resulted in good field position for the offense. Kern's net average was 43.8. Following punts, the Browns started at their own 11, 8, 6, and 6-yard line.
"The other tight ends"**
Heading into Sunday, I was expecting a big game out of tight end Delanie Walker. After all, the Browns had given up some big games to tight ends heading in. Walker had just one catch for 25 yards on Sunday, but tight ends Anthony Fasano and Phillip Supernaw came up big. Fasano had a 15-yard touchdown, and Supernaw had two catches for 25 yards, including a big third-down catch that came the play before Wright's score. Supernaw has been an underrated contributor in 2016.
Close the deal!
The Titans never trailed on Sunday, and with 6:43 remaining they took a 28-13 lead on Fasano's touchdown catch. That should've taken the mystery out of the game, but it didn't. The Browns drove 75 yards on 13 plays, and they converted a pair of fourth down plays along the way. The Titans failed to recover the ensuing onside kick, and allowed the Browns to score again. Yes, the end result was the prize. But the Titans caused the blood pressure of a lot of fans to go up with that finish.
Nissan Stadium crowd
The Titans rewarded their fans with a home victory on Sunday, and after the game a number of players gave props to those cheering them on. There's no denying it's been a struggle at home in recent years. I don't need to dig up the record to confirm it. But the fans showed up with enthusiasm on Sunday, and made a lot of noise. They also impacted the game. They'll get two more chances to get loud in the near future – vs Indianapolis on Sunday, and vs. Jacksonville next Thursday.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 6 action at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)