It’s not easy being the most unpredictable team in a league the thrives on being unpredictable, but that’s exactly what the Tennessee Titans have turned into this year.
The idea of the Titans scoring 24 points this week didn’t even seem remotely possible after the loss in Jacksonville, a loss where Marcus Mariota was sacked nine times and the Titans offense was only able to muster seven points, but remember these are the unpredictable Titans, which means anything is possible.
In the win over Atlanta, the Titans scored 24 points before in the game’s first two quarters and Mariota wasn’t sacked a single time in the game. Thanks to the protection, Mariota was able to dice up the Falcons in a highly impressive first half where he threw for 183 yards and three touchdowns.
Two of those scores went to A.J. Brown, who was basically a human highlight reel in the first half. Just check out his 55-yard touchdown catch below.
That score put the Titans up 7-0 in the first quarter.
Brown’s second touchdown catch was all Mariota. With just under three minutes left in the first quarter, the Titans quarterback threw an absolute dime that Brown caught for an 11-yard score.
After watching Mariota struggle in Jacksonville, Titans coach Mike Vrabel was especially pleased with the way his quarterback responded in Atlanta.
“Accurate, he stood in the pocket, a lot timing and a lot of anticipation,” Vrabel said, via Paul Kuharsky. “Players were trusting what we were doing. We talked about discipline in the passing game with the post-safety looks. A lot credit to the O-line, not giving up any sacks today and I thought they protected very well.”
Mariota finished the game 18 of 27 for 227 yards, with 94 of those yards going to Brown and 91 going to Corey Davis.
The only thing more surprising than the play of the Titans’ offense might have been the play of their defense. In that loss to the Jaguars last week, the Titans got diced by a rookie quarterback, so it wouldn’t have been surprising to see Matt Ryan put up big numbers against Tennessee. But remember, these are the unpredictable Titans and the unpredictable Titans shut Ryan down.
Ryan was sacked five times in the game, including a first quarter strip-sack by Jurrell Casey that you can see below.
The Titans defense also came up with two monstrous fourth down stops in this game. On the first stop, which came in the second quarter, Devonta Freeman was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 from Tennessee’s 39-yard line. On the second stop, Ryan was sacked by Harold Landry for a loss on a fourth-and-1 from Tennessee’s 30-yard line.
Ten days ago, the Titans left the field in Jacksonville with a 1-2 record and their season looked to be going nowhere fast, but in the unpredictable AFC South, the NFL‘s most unpredictable team is suddenly tied for first and starting to look like maybe a not so unpredictable pick to win the division.
Here are the grades for every Week 4 game on Sunday, and remember to check back after Bengals-Steelers on Monday for the grades from that game.
Tennessee 24-10 over Atlanta
N.Y. Giants 24-3 over Washington
Oakland 31-24 over Indianapolis
L.A. Chargers 30-10 over Miami
New England 16-10 over Buffalo
Patriots-Bills grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Kansas City 34-30 over Detroit
Chiefs-Lions grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cleveland 40-25 over Baltimore
Browns-Ravens grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Carolina 16-10 over Houston
Panthers-Texans grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Tampa Bay 55-40 over L.A. Rams
Jacksonville 26-24 over Denver
Chicago 16-6 over Minnesota
Vikings-Bears grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Seattle 27-10 over Arizona
Seahawks-Cardinals grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)