The 1-0 Tennessee Titans traveled to Houston to take on the 1-0 Houston Texans in a game not many people expected the Titans to win. In fact, some even doubted the Titans would be competitive in the game but the Titans quickly let people know the Week 1 win against the Steelers wasn’t a fluke. So how did the game go down? My thoughts after the jump.
The Titans offense sputtered throughout the game but surprisingly the Titans held the ball almost as long as the Texans. The Titans TOP was 31:14 and the Texans 33:14. The difference between the teams shows the most in yards per play as the Titans averaged only averaged 3.8 yards per passing play and 3.6 yards per rushing play. The Texans averaged 5.6 per passing play and 6.1 per rushing play. Still, if the Titans convert a field goal midway through the 2nd quarter there is no overtime and they win this game. The safety obviously changed the complexion of the game as well.
Jake Locker was 17 of 30 for for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns while not throwing any interceptions. He did fumble a snap but got it back. The worst stat line of the day came in the form of 4 sacks for 19 yards. Locker absolutely has to get rid of the ball faster and not hang onto it. I can live with erratic play with no giveaways if he can just get better there. Having said that, you certainly hope the passing game starts to gain some momentum. The Titans had 248 nets yards to the Texans 452.
The Titans running game was better than the stats suggest as they started off running the ball very well. At the end of the first half, Chris Johnson had 68 yards and a 5.2 yards per carry average. By the end of the game, he had 96 yards on 25 carries for a 3.8 YPC. Jackie Battle didn’t get many carries after he was ineffective early on. He would get stuffed on a 4th down conversion attempt. He finished with 6 carries for 13 yards and a 2.2 YPC.
One of the issues for the Titans was bad starting field position. They twice started drives at their own 7 yard line and both times was a 3 and out. They also had good starting position twice beginning at their 40. The first drive ended in a failed 4th down conversion and the 2nd ended in a missed Rob Bironas field goal. They also did have a drive that started at the one yard line and which ended in a 10 yard touchdown pass from Locker to tight end Delanie Walker.
If the Titans are going to continue to be conservative on offense they need to do better with the opportunities they have. They only saw the red zone twice to the Texans 4 times. They did convert both times. Darius Reynaud returned 4 punts for 18 yards for a 4.5 yards per return average. The Titans were penalized 9 times for 70 yards while the Texans were penalized 5 times for 40 yards.
Kendall Wright led the Titans receivers with 7 catches and 11 targets for 54 yards and 1 touchdown (7.7 yards per catch average). Nate Washington was next with 3 catches and 5 targets for 50 yards (16.7 YPC). Kenny Britt caught 4 passes with 9 targets for 28 yards and had 2 bad drops. Britt needs to play better for the Titans to be successful this season. Delanie Walker had 2 targets and caught the previously mentioned 10 yard touchdown pass.
There aren’t enough words to describe how well the Titans defense played today. The “Bend Don’t Break” theme gets overused but it applied today. The Texans did put up a lot of yards but the Titans defense kept them in the game and the Texans only managed 24 points in regulation. The Texans were also the beneficiary of two missed offensive pass interference calls on rookie wide receiver Deandre Hopkins.
Linebacker Zach Brown continues to play extremely well and led the Titans in tackles with 12, 11 of them solo. Bernard Pollard was next with 9 tackles, 8 of them solo, a pass defended, a quarterback hit and 1 interception. Alterraun Verner continued his excellent play and was 3rd on the team in tackles with 6, 5 solo, 3 passes defended and a pick six. Derrick Morgan and Kam Wimbley each had a sack. I suggested the Titans use safety George Wilson to help with the Texans 2 very good tight ends and they did so. He was a difference maker when on the field.
As more defensive stats become available I will look at updating this recap. The Titans did really well getting the Texans off the field on 3rd down as the Texans were 6 of 17 for a 35% 3rd down conversion rate. Matt Schaub was 26 of 48 for 298 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The Texans would punt 7 times on the day and Texans place kicker missed 3 field goals.
Ben Tate rushed 9 times for 93 yards for a 10.3 YPC average. Arian Foster ran 19 times for 79 yards and 1 touchdown for a 4.2 YPC average. The Texans had 172 rushing yards and averaged 6.1 YPC.
Deandre Hopkins was the star receiver of the game though as I have mentioned he benefited greatly from some uncalled pass interference. He finished with 7 catches, 13 targets and 117 yards with one touchdown (16.7 YPC). Andre Johnson had 8 catches, 13 targets and 76 yards (9.5 YPC). Tight end Garrett Graham caught 3 passes on 5 targets for 30 yards and 1 touchdown. Owen Daniels caught 2 passes on 5 targets for 24 yards and 1 touchdown.
The heartbreaking thing about the game is that the Titans had plenty of opportunities to win they just couldn’t seal the deal. If Rob Bironas makes his field goal the game isn’t tied at the end and the Titans win. If the Titans don’t go uber conservative backed up in the end zone and take a safety the complexion of the game changes. Ultimately, the Titans couldn’t stop the Texans from scoring in the end with a tired defense that fought hard all game long.
Titans 24 Texans 30
|Tennessee Titans (1-1-0)||Houston Texans (2-0-0)|
|Total First Downs||14||Total First Downs||25|
|By Rushing||6||By Rushing||9|
|By Passing||6||By Passing||15|
|By Penalty||By Penalty|
|Third Down Efficiency||4/16 – 25%||Third Down Efficiency||6/17 – 35%|
|Fourth Down Efficiency||0/1 – 0%||Fourth Down Efficiency||0/0 – 0%|
|Total Net Yards||248||Total Net Yards||452|
|Total Rushing/Passing Plays (includes Sacks)||67||Total Rushing/Passing Plays (includes Sacks)||78|
|Average Gain per Offensive Play||3.7||Average Gain per Offensive Play||5.8|
|Net Yards Rushing||119||Net Yards Rushing||172|
|Total Rushing Plays||33||Total Rushing Plays||28|
|Average Gain per Rushing Play||3.6||Average Gain per Rushing Play||6.1|
|Tackled for a Loss (Number-Yards)||7–9||Tackled for a Loss (Number-Yards)||3–9|
|Net Yards Passing||129||Net Yards Passing||280|
|Times Sacked (Number-Yards)||4 – 19||Times Sacked (Number-Yards)||2 – 18|
|Gross Yards Passing||148||Gross Yards Passing||298|
|Pass Comp-Att-Int||17 – 30 – 0||Pass Comp-Att-Int||26 – 48 – 2|
|Average Gain per Passing Play (includes Sacks)||3.8||Average Gain per Passing Play (includes Sacks)||5.6|
|Kickoffs (Number-In End Zone-Touchbacks)||6 – 4 – 2||Kickoffs (Number-In End Zone-Touchbacks)||4 – 4 – 4|
|Punts (Number-Average)||8 – 47.8||Punts (Number-Average)||7 – 48.3|
|Net Punting Average||46.6||Net Punting Average||42.9|
|FGs Blocked – PATs Blocked||0 – 0||FGs Blocked – PATs Blocked||0 – 0|
|Total Return Yardage (excludes Kickoffs)||73||Total Return Yardage (excludes Kickoffs)||9|
|Punt Returns (Number-Yards)||4 – 18||Punt Returns (Number-Yards)||5 – 9|
|Kickoff Returns (Number-Yards)||0 – 0||Kickoff Returns (Number-Yards)||4 – 104|
|Interception Returns (Number-Yards)||2 – 55||Interception Returns (Number-Yards)||0 – 0|
|Penalties (Number-Yards)||9 – 70||Penalties (Number-Yards)||5 – 40|
|Fumbles (Number-Lost)||1 – 0||Fumbles (Number-Lost)||0 – 0|
|Kickoff Returns||0||Kickoff Returns||0|
|Fumble Returns||0||Fumble Returns||0|
|Punt Returns||0||Punt Returns||0|
|Extra Points (Made-Attempted)||3 – 3||Extra Points (Made-Attempted)||3 – 3|
|Kicking (Made-Attempted)||3 – 3||Kicking (Made-Attempted)||2 – 2|
|Two Point Conversions (Made-Attempted)||0 – 0||Two Point Conversions (Made-Attempted)||1 – 1|
|Field Goals (Made-Attempted)||1 – 2||Field Goals (Made-Attempted)||0 – 3|
|Red Zone Efficiency||2/2 – 100%||Red Zone Efficiency||4/4 – 100%|
|Goal To Go Efficiency||2/2 – 100%||Goal To Go Efficiency||3/3 – 100%|
|Final Score||24||Final Score||30|
|Time of Possession||31:14||Time of Possession||33:14|