First-half offense killing Titans, especially in losses

CHARLOTTE – The Titans are no first-half team.

In their five losses, the Titans’ first-half averages: 26.8 plays, 99.8 yards, 36 rushing yards, 63.8 passing yards, 13.3 percent on third down and 1.4 points. They’ve been held scoreless in four of the five and scored a first-half TD against the Colts.IMG 1800

Sunday at Bank of America Stadium they had a four-play drive end with a missed field goal, a three-play drive end with a punt, a three-play drive end with a fumble, a two-play drive end with a pick, a three-play drive end with a punt and an eight-play drive end with a missed field goal.

“Starting slow, those penalties killed us,” Derrick Henry said. “Self-inflicted wounds, we can’t start off like that against a team like this. We just gave them all the momentum with all of those penalties.

“We’ve got to start faster, be better as a whole, just be focused.”

But this has been an issue time and time again, and it’s one Mike Vrabel and Arthur Smith have not been able to solve.

In all nine of their games, the Titans have run 45 percent of their plays in the first half this season, gaining just 40 percent of their net yards in the first half (with 41 percent of their rushing yards and 40 percent of their passing yards). In the first 30 minutes of games, they’ve converted only 19.6 percent of their third downs.

I included this in the first piece from Charlotte for the part about energy and redundancy, but the element about the need for faster starts applies here.

That the Titans are more effective offensively after halftime – with a 44.6 third-down conversion rate – suggests a halftime discussion can do more for them to sort through an opponent’s defense than a week of game-planning to script an opening plan.

And that’s a problem they’ve got to work furiously to correct.


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