Titans At Rams Recap – Happy Days Are Here Again

The 3-4 Tennessee Titans traveled to St. Louis to take on the 3-5 Rams and former head coach Jeff Fisher in an emotional match up for the two teams. There is a laundry list of former Titans connections currently in St. Louis including former Titans defensive back Cortland Finnegan, former Titans defensive lineman William Hayes, and former Titans tight end Jared Cook. So how did the former Titans fare against the new Titans team? Let’s take a look.

Titans quarterback Jake Locker had a decent game against a Rams defense with a pretty good defensive line. Locker was 13 of 22 for 185 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked four times for a loss of 20 yards, including a sack by former Titans defensive lineman William Hayes. Hayes would also add three quarterback hits. Locker would add 3 rushes for 10 yards and a touchdown.

In his second game since returning from injury, Locker made the plays he needed to make for the Titans to win. I would grade his performance a solid B. As for former Titan Cortland Finnegan, he intercepted a Locker pass on a really great read and play so kudos to him.

The news of the day of course was the Titans run game which got back on track and produced 188 yards rushing for the running backs. Collectively, Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene averaged 5.9 yards per carry and the run game produced three touchdowns. Chris Johnson had his best day running since Week 9 of the 2012 season though it’s easy to discount numbers in a blowout loss. Prior to that game, CJ’s best game was the Buffalo game in Week 7. In any event, suffice it to say CJ had gone long extended stretches without putting up these good numbers. The obvious question is whether CJ can sustain those numbers. Only time will tell.

Just to recap the numbers, Chris Johnson rushed 23 times for 150 yards (6.5 YPC) and two touchdowns. The last time CJ had two rushing rushing downs was that 2012 Buffalo game. Shonn Greene had a fantastic day as well adding adding nine carries for 38 yards (4.2 YPC) while taking a screen pass 28 yards. Speaking of which the Titans ran several screen plays and very successfully so hopefully we will see more of that in the future. Collin Mooney had one and it went for 22 yards.

In regard to the Titans wide receivers, Kendall Wright was easily the star of the day though most everyone contributed in some fashion. Damian Williams only had one catch but it was a crucial first down. Justin Hunter converted two crucial third down plays including this one.

It was these big plays by Kendall Wright in the passing game that kept the Titans alive however.

Kendall Wright had three catches for 69 yards in the game. It is telling that the next 3 leading receivers were all running backs who caught passes in the screen game. Kendall Wright had five targets in the game while Nate Washington had four but was held without a reception. Washington did have a big game blocking in the run game.

After going back and reviewing the film, I thought the offensive line performed better than I initially thought. There were a few breakdowns but the Rams have a good defensive line that played well. The run blocking was particularly exceptional and he Titans very wisely chose to use two and three tight end sets as well as their fullback. Craig Stevens, Taylor Thompson and Collin Mooney played the most snaps of the year against the Rams. Stevens played 43 snaps, Taylor Thompson played 15 and Collin Mooney played 28.

On the defensive side of the ball, it was bend but don’t break all day. The Titans run defense gave up 160 rushing yards in the game and allowed rookie tailback Zac Stacy to rush 27 times for 127 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams entered this game without a rushing touchdown on the season. The Titans gave up a 9 yard rushing touchdown on the first series in the 3rd quarter. I would give the run defense a D.

In the passing game, the Titans gave up some plays underneath but didn’t give up a big play which seemed to be the game plan. They played a lot of zone and seemed willing to let the Rams work the middle underneath. The longest pass play they gave up was 25 yards late in the 4th quarter on a play where the Titans looked confused in the secondary.

All in all the Titans did a pretty nice job defending the passing game. Clemens was 20 of 35 for 210 yards and a touchdown. As for former Titan Jared Cook he caught three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. Bernard Pollard had an excellent breakup of a pass intended for Jared Cook late in the second quarter.

I would give the pass defense a solid B.

In regard to the linebackers, after reviewing the game film I thought they did better than I initially thought. There were some oops moments but also some really nice plays. Colin McCarthy, Zach Brown and Akeem Ayers all made some nice plays.

Per Pro Football Focus, there were ten missed tackles in the game which is concerning. The Titans only had two sacks in the game and they were credited to Jurrell Casey but Derrick Morgan played a part in one. Casey and Morgan teamed up for a forced fumble and a recovery as well.

Also, it was nice to see Kam Wimbley out there making some nice plays as well.

On special teams, Damian Williams did a really nice job in his first start as a returner. The punt game is struggling a bit but nothing to be extremely concerned about yet. Rob Bironas was called upon to make a field goal but was perfect on extra points. I leave you with this from Damian Williams.

Final score:

Titans 28

Rams 21

Final game stats:

BOX SCORE

Tennessee Titans (4-4-0) St. Louis Rams (3-6-0)
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
J. Locker 13/22 185 0 2
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
C. Johnson 23 150 2 24
S. Greene 9 38 1 15
J. Locker 3 10 1 6
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
K. Wright 3 69 0 45
S. Greene 1 28 0 28
C. Mooney 1 22 0 22
C. Johnson 3 20 0 10
D. Williams 1 20 0 20
J. Hunter 2 13 0 8
D. Walker 2 13 0 8
Fumbles FUM LOST REC YDS
D. Williams 1 0 1 0
J. Casey 0 0 0 0
D. Morgan 0 0 1 0
C. Sensabaugh 0 0 1 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
R. Bironas 0/0 0 4/4 4
Punting NO AVG I20 LG
B. Kern 5 35.0 1 55
Kickoff Returns NO AVG TD LG
D. Williams 2 29 0 37
J. Battle 1 26 0 26
Punt Returns NO AVG TD LG
D. Williams 2 4 0 8
Defense T-A SCK INT FF
C. McCarthy 8-1 0.0 0 0
J. Casey 6-0 2.0 0 1
B. Pollard 6-0 0.0 0 0
A. Verner 5-0 0.0 0 0
R. Pitoitua 4-0 0.0 0 0
Mi. Martin 3-0 0.0 0 0
A. Ayers 3-0 0.0 0 0
Z. Brown 3-1 0.0 0 0
S. Hill 3-0 0.0 0 0
C. Sensabaugh 3-0 0.0 0 0
J. McCourty 2-0 0.0 0 0
A. Johnson 1-0 0.0 0 0
D. Morgan 1-0 0.0 0 0
G. Wilson 1-0 0.0 0 0
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
K. Clemens 20/35 210 1 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
Z. Stacy 27 127 2 32
K. Clemens 1 16 0 16
B. Cunningham 3 11 0 6
T. Austin 1 6 0 6
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
C. Givens 4 55 0 25
Z. Stacy 6 51 0 13
J. Cook 3 36 1 17
B. Quick 2 30 0 20
L. Kendricks 3 13 0 11
A. Pettis 1 13 0 13
S. Bailey 1 12 0 12
Fumbles FUM LOST REC YDS
K. Clemens 1 1 0 0
B. Cunningham 1 1 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
G. Zuerlein 0/1 0 3/3 3
Punting NO AVG I20 LG
J. Hekker 5 46.8 1 57
Kickoff Returns NO AVG TD LG
T. Austin 1 25 0 25
Punt Returns NO AVG TD LG
T. Austin 3 11 0 24
Defense T-A SCK INT FF
J. Laurinaitis 9-0 1.0 0 0
K. Langford 6-0 2.0 0 0
R. McLeod 6-1 0.0 1 0
A. Ogletree 6-0 0.0 0 0
C. Finnegan 4-1 0.0 1 0
M. Brockers 3-0 0.0 0 0
J. Dunbar 2-0 0.0 0 0
W. Hayes 2-0 1.0 0 0
T. Johnson 2-0 0.0 0 0
R. Quinn 2-1 0.0 0 0
J. Cudjo 1-0 0.0 0 0
J. Jenkins 1-0 0.0 0 0
C. Long 1-0 0.0 0 0
D. Stewart 1-0 0.0 0 0
Total First Downs 22 Total First Downs 21
By Rushing 11 By Rushing 7
By Passing 8 By Passing 13
By Penalty By Penalty
Third Down Efficiency 7/12 – 58% Third Down Efficiency 5/13 – 38%
Fourth Down Efficiency 0/0 – 0% Fourth Down Efficiency 0/1 – 0%
Total Net Yards 363 Total Net Yards 363
Total Rushing/Passing Plays (includes Sacks) 61 Total Rushing/Passing Plays (includes Sacks) 69
Average Gain per Offensive Play 6.0 Average Gain per Offensive Play 5.3
Net Yards Rushing 198 Net Yards Rushing 160
Total Rushing Plays 35 Total Rushing Plays 32
Average Gain per Rushing Play 5.7 Average Gain per Rushing Play 5.0
Tackled for a Loss (Number-Yards) 3–5 Tackled for a Loss (Number-Yards) 0-0
Net Yards Passing 165 Net Yards Passing 203
Times Sacked (Number-Yards) 4 – 20 Times Sacked (Number-Yards) 2 – 7
Gross Yards Passing 185 Gross Yards Passing 210
Pass Comp-Att-Int 13 – 22 – 2 Pass Comp-Att-Int 20 – 35 – 0
Average Gain per Passing Play (includes Sacks) 6.3 Average Gain per Passing Play (includes Sacks) 5.5
Kickoffs (Number-In End Zone-Touchbacks) 5 – 5 – 4 Kickoffs (Number-In End Zone-Touchbacks) 4 – 3 – 1
Punts (Number-Average) 5 – 45.6 Punts (Number-Average) 5 – 48.4
Blocked 0 Blocked 0
Net Punting Average 35.0 Net Punting Average 46.8
FGs Blocked – PATs Blocked 0 – 0 FGs Blocked – PATs Blocked 0 – 0
Total Return Yardage (excludes Kickoffs) 8 Total Return Yardage (excludes Kickoffs) 36
Punt Returns (Number-Yards) 2 – 8 Punt Returns (Number-Yards) 3 – 33
Kickoff Returns (Number-Yards) 3 – 85 Kickoff Returns (Number-Yards) 1 – 25
Interception Returns (Number-Yards) 0 – 0 Interception Returns (Number-Yards) 2 – 3
Penalties (Number-Yards) 3 – 30 Penalties (Number-Yards) 6 – 44
Fumbles (Number-Lost) 1 – 0 Fumbles (Number-Lost) 2 – 2
Touchdowns 4 Touchdowns 3
Rushing 4 Rushing 2
Passing 0 Passing 1
Interceptions 0 Interceptions 0
Kickoff Returns 0 Kickoff Returns 0
Fumble Returns 0 Fumble Returns 0
Punt Returns 0 Punt Returns 0
Extra Points (Made-Attempted) 4 – 4 Extra Points (Made-Attempted) 3 – 3
Kicking (Made-Attempted) 4 – 4 Kicking (Made-Attempted) 3 – 3
Two Point Conversions (Made-Attempted) 0 – 0 Two Point Conversions (Made-Attempted) 0 – 0
Field Goals (Made-Attempted) 0 – 0 Field Goals (Made-Attempted) 0 – 1
Red Zone Efficiency 4/4 – 100% Red Zone Efficiency 3/3 – 100%
Goal To Go Efficiency 2/2 – 100% Goal To Go Efficiency 1/1 – 100%
Safeties 0 Safeties 0
Final Score 28 Final Score 21
Time of Possession 27:09 Time of Possession 32:51
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