Analytics Of The Mike Vrabel, Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry Titans' Era


With a win at Nissan Stadium Sunday, the Jaguars would clinch the AFC South, the 4-seed in the playoffs, and welcome Joe Flacco and the Cleveland Browns to Jacksonville next weekend. With a loss, they would find themselves in the exact same position as the Titans and fans around the world next weekend, watching from home. In contrast, the Titans waltzed onto the field eliminated from playoff contention, with the majority of the fanbase already perusing mock drafts and conflicting reports on the future of Mike Vrabel that swirling right through kickoff.

Ryan Tannehill and Derick Henry
Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry/ Angie Flatt

By all accounts, it was a game the Jaguars should win, but once again they were outplayed, outworked, and ultimately beaten by the trio of Mike Vrabel, Ryan Tannehill, and Derrick

Henry in a performance eerily microcosmic of the Titans throughout the trio’s tenure running the show. The win moved the Titans to 5-1 over the Jaguars in games under Vrabel with Tannehill under center and Henry in the backfield. Despite the noise surrounding each of their respective futures in Nashville, the three got together for one last performance like a 70s rock band and brought down the house.

Let’s get into the game and their time in two-tone blue.

In what we could soon look back on as the true curtain call of this era, it was only right that the Titans performed the way they did on Sunday. On offense, they were creative, physical, and run-heavy, with Henry racking up 153 yards on the ground at 8.1 yards per tote. On defense, they were aggressive, opportunistic, and composed, allowing just one explosive play when Calvin Ridley got loose over the middle early in the second quarter for a 59-yard score. Here’s where the Titans offense stands in some noteworthy analytics through the Sunday afternoon games:

  •        EPA/play: 0.138 (7th of 30)
  •        Success Rate: 47.2% (11th)
  •        Dropback EPA: 0.040 (14th)
  •        Dropback Success Rate: 50.0% (14th)
  •        Rush EPA: 0.265 (1st)
  •        Rush Success Rate: 43.5% (11th)

Whether it was the 69-yard Henry burst, the Terrell Edmunds interception off the Azeez Al-Shaair pass break-up, the fourth-and-goal stop on the Trevor Lawrence sneak, or Dillon Radunz, Andrew Rupcich, Peter Skoronski, Treylon Burks, and seemingly everyone else in a blue jersey fighting for their lives to push Kyle Philips 6-yards for a crucial first down conversion late in the fourth quarter, this performance was fittingly reminiscent of this era of Titans football. Despite the turmoil and adversity accompanying the last two years of the franchise, they managed to get back to their roots and grind one out one last time, and damn it if it was not beautiful to watch. It is only right to look back on some of the highlights of the era.

It is the year 2019. Vrabel is entering his second season as the head coach of the Titans, Marcus Mariota is entering year five under center, and Henry is officially the bell-cow back. After a sluggish 2-4 start, Vrabel and company decide it is time for a change, turning to veteran quarterback and offseason addition Tannehill, and the team that looked dead in the water, suddenly started stacking wins.

From Week 7 to the end of the regular season, the Titans registered an EPA of 0.150 (second in the NFL) and a Success Rate of 49.6% (first), scoring 30+ points in four consecutive games from Week 10 to Week 14. The offense had life, the team snuck into the playoffs, and it was matched up with the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Tannehill threw an early touchdown to Anthony Firkser, Henry accounted for 204 yards, and Vrabel got to put the nail in the coffin of the dynasty he played a paramount role in building as a player. The Titans walked away with a 20-13 win.

After the stunner in Foxborough, the Titans traveled to Baltimore, where they took on the No. 1 seed Baltimore Ravens and MVP Lamar Jackson. After Tannehill’s second quarter shot to Kalif Raymond put the Titans up 14-0, they never looked back. Henry’s 205 total yards and the defense’s three takeaways and key fourth down stops stymied the Ravens, with the Titans ultimately winning by a comfortable margin of 28-12. Despite the subsequent loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship, Vrabel, Tannehill, and Henry put the world on notice. The Titans had arrived.

In 2020 and 2021, the Titans continued to find success in their physical, efficient, run-heavy brand of football. During that span, they boasted an EPA/play of 0.103 and a Success Rate of 47.6%, both fifth in the NFL. Tannehill recorded 68 total touchdowns, the eigth most in the NFL, from 2020 to 2021, and Henry became just the eighth running back in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards in a season in 2020. When Henry went down midway through the 2021 season, Vrabel’s influence and coaching ability truly began to show. The Titans finished with the best record in the AFC despite setting the NFL record for most players fielded in a season due to the endless injuries. Vrabel earned AP NFL Coach of the Year, and the Titans were ultimately eliminated in the Divisional Round by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Even the 2022 Titans found ways to win as they got off to a 7-3 start before dropping seven straight and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2018. Since that point, they are 6-18, they’ve seen franchise cornerstones like Taylor Lewan, Kevin Byard, and Ben Jones Kuharsky megaphonereleased or traded, fired general manager Jon Robinson, hired his replacement in Ran Carthon and announced the plan for a new stadium.

Throughout all the early highs and all the recent lows, the trio of Vrabel, Tannehill, and Henry remained, with the upset win over the Jaguars being the final time we will see them take the field together. Despite the last two years, history will be kind to this era of Titans football. This group accomplished a lot, and there are plenty of memories to look back on and smile. Tannehill is certainly gone, and with Vrabel and Henry’s future up in the air, this may be the end of the road. You can say a lot about it, but you can’t say it wasn’t fun.

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