Mortar guys help build another giant day for Titans' offense in runaway win in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. – The hot quarterback, the dominant running back and the rising rookie receiver were on full display for the Titans Sunday.

Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown keyed a win that got the team three games over .500 and kept it on the wonderfully steep trajectory that’s got the AFC on alert.RaidersFlameheadOak

But in the sad final days of the Oakland Coliseum, what stuck out to me was the contribution the Titans got out of second-and third-level guys on the ever-expanding offense.

“They’re proving to be an all-round hard to deal with offense,” Jon Gruden said. “They have shown it on tape and they again put an exclamation point out here.”

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Scout's Take: Raiders' young talent can be exposed by Titans

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Both teams need a win, but the Raiders can’t afford a loss.

The Titans need to continue to focus on the run game with Derrick Henry to allow the play-action to work.HenryRunAway

This will be the game plan for the rest of the season.

The Raiders personnel is young in a lot of areas and can be exposed. The Raiders start to rookie defensive ends in Clelin Ferrell (first-round) and Maxx Crosby (fourth-round), Trayvon Mullen (second-round), Josh Jacobs (first-round).

The defensive line is a strength of the Raiders defense, while the linebackers are the weakness.

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Yazoo Podcast: Ryan Tannehill and analytics talk with Ben Baldwin

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  -- Twitter is loaded with great accounts that teach me analytical outlooks, ever-adjusting the way I look at football.

One of them, Ben Baldwin of The Athletic, titles his account "new-age analytical." He joined me for this week's edition of the podcast and we delved into a bunch of stuff that will likely perk your ears up.PodcastYazooArtSquare

After I talk a bit about the Titans-Raiders matchup, I quizzed Ben on several areas where he doesn't buy into old-school, conventional thinking. We start with his belief that Aaron Rodgers has been an average NFL quarterback since 2017 and then move on to much that applies to the Titans.

Do teams really need to run effectively to set up play-action? Do running backs actually wear down offenses over the duration of a game? These are two long-standing football mantras that people think Derrick Henry and the Titans are plugging into, but there is evidence that suggests old beliefs need new thinking.

We also cover the extent to which a quarterback controls his own sack rate, COPE -- completion percentage over expected -- an area where Ryan Tannehill is performing off the charts and how running back production is mostly driven by their environment.

Part 1 of the podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSticher, Spotify and TuneIn as well as directly through the Vokal website. (Please subscribe and offer a nice rating!)

If you're a member of the site, Part 1 and Part 2 are together, and all you have to do is log in and head below the line. (Here's the path to membership, where there is currently a great Cyber sale.)

You can find the history of this site's podcasts that require membership right here.

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Of course the Titans will be able to afford both Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As the Titans prepare for a crucial game in Oakland, a lot of the conversation about them centers on the future of the two guys who have keyed the team’s resurgence.

Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry do not have contracts beyond this season, and paydays await them, with the Titans or elsewhere.TannehillFistChiefs

I’ve heard a lot of people wondering about the economics of keeping both, so let’s run through that.

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As Titans time up field-goal blocks, here's how they're preventing the same thing from happening to them

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After Joshua Kalu blocked a potential game-tying field goal for Kansas City and after Dane Cruikshank blocked one in Indianapolis that the Titans returned for a touchdown that would up providing the game-winning points, each said he timed things up over the course of the previous attempts in the game.

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The Chiefs had lined up for three field goals and three extra points before Kalu’s big play.

The Colts had lined up for three field-goal attempts and two extra points before Cruikshanks’ big play.

This left me wondering, what do the Titans do to prevent such things why would those teams not change up their timing over the course of a game to make it more difficult for an opponent to make such a play?

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After six games each, one Titans' QB is superior but the other still garners some fan sentiment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Twelve games into the season, the Titans have reached a point where their starting quarterback time is evenly split.

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Which made it a perfect time for a comparison between Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill, one I offered Sunday evening after the Titans’ win over the Colts.

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Scout's Take: Titans' pass protection in win over Colts was better than you might think

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans simply couldn’t lose a game to the Colts when they had no playmakers.

Tennessee used the running game and special teams to overtake Indianapolis..

The Titans turned the second half around behind the running game of Derrick Henry, who was a force and continues to carry the offense.TitansvColts

Arthur Smith did a very good job calling the screen game and I like that he is using Henry in the passing game.

Fumbles started the game for the Titans with one each by Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill.

The Colts converted a touchdown on one turnover but were unable to kick field goals.

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Titans timed up another field goal block, sparking go-ahead play in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts’ field goal unit has hardly produced guaranteed points this season, but lined up for a 46-yarder with 5:12 left in Sunday’s game it was ready to break a tie and give the home team a lead.CruikshankColts

Then Dane Cruikshank timed things up and Margus Hunt got tied up with someone he shouldn’t have.

Cruikshank blocked Adam Vinatieri’s kick with ease, Tye Smith grabbed it out of the air and raced to a 63-yard TD. A potential 3-point Colts edge was a 7-point Titans lead.

“I just timed up the snap count as the game went by and got a good feel for it and next thing you know I just kind of came free and just tried to block it,” Cruikshank said. “It worked out perfectly for me.”

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