NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** Here's a look at six things that stood out from Sunday's 13-10 win over the Broncos.
The young DBs
Rookie cornerback LeShaun Sims rose to the occasion. He made a number of big plays in coverage, including a pair of big plays on a defensive stand at the end of the third/start of the fourth quarter. Rookie safety Kevin Byard also continued to show up on defense. He was in Trevor Siemian's face time and again in blitz packages. And I'm not going to forget rookie linebacker Aaron Wallace here. He had a huge sack at a critical time in the contest.
Props to second-year receiver Tre McBride for making one of the biggest plays of the game on Sunday. McBride, inactive the four previous weeks after being promoted from the practice squad, downed punter Brett Kern's punt at the two-yard line in the closing moments of Sunday's game. McBride got the call after the Titans elected to make Kendall Wright inactive for being late to meetings. McBride stepped up in a big way.
Finding ways to win
Titans coach Mike Mularkey has been preaching to his players about making big plays at critical times. It happened in all three phases on Sunday. First, Marcus Mariota completed a difficult pass to receiver Rishard Matthews to flip field position. Then, Kern's punt was downed by McBride at the two. Finally, linebacker Avery Williamson stripped the football from Broncos tight end A.J. Derby, and it was recovered by Daimion Stafford. All three phases made a big play in the end to win.
Speaking of fumble recoveries, were those well-timed or what? It's hard to believe, but the Titans didn't force a fumble in their first 12 games. The first one of the season came in the first quarter on Sunday when safety Rashad Johnson stripped Broncos running back Justin Forsett, and cornerback Jason McCourty recovered it. Then came Williamson's strip in the final minute. They say things happen in bunches, so maybe this will be the start of something?
Not Von Miller**
I'm not taking a shot at Miller here. He's a heck of a player – one of the league's best, in fact. But for the most part he had a pretty quiet performance on Sunday, largely because the Titans did such a nice job of keeping him in check. Right tackle Jack Conklin held his own against Miller, who finished with seven tackles but didn't create havoc around the quarterback like he does on most Sundays.
I couldn't help but notice Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan taking a seat on the Nissan Stadium turf when the skirmish broke out between Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib and Titans receiver Harry Douglas on the sideline. It was pretty funny. No, Lewan hasn't gone soft. I thought he was smart to stay away from running into that one from 40 yards away, and risk a penalty/ejection. It's sure to keep him off of Mularkey's naughty list for the week as well.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Denver Broncos in Week 14 action at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)