The Analytics of the Titans' Week 6 Offensive Performance


Jake Downard is a law student who creates NFL and NBA content focused on analytics on Twitter as @JakeAndBall. He also works with fanspo.com. A glossary of the analytics terms he uses is available in this previous piece.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans flew across the pond on Thursday and hosted the Baltimore Ravens in London on Sunday.

Once again, we watched an offense struggle to get anything going whatsoever. Once again, we saw a team that was situationally inept and reeling for some sense of rhythm. The Titans offense was out-gained by the Ravens offense by more than 125 yards, they went one for nine on third downs, they averaged a little less than 2 yards per carry in the first half while attempting to establish the run and they went one for four in the red zone, coming away with one TD.  

Titans London

Here is where the Titans offense stands in a few noteworthy metrics through the Sunday Night Football game in Week 6: 

  • EPA/Play: -0.030 (12th of 28)
  • Success Rate: 46.3% (12th of 28)
  • Dropback EPA: -0.046 (13th of 28)
  • Rush EPA: 0.005 (12th of 28)

(These standings and numbers are for Week 6 only, not season-long.) 


Looking at the analytics, the Titans' offense was perfectly average. Right around the middle of the NFL in nearly every metric, the Titans objectively should have had more success offensively than they did. Unfortunately, these numbers are not the end-all, be-all. The Titans dug a hole in the first half on Sunday that they simply could not climb out of against a good Ravens team. Here is where they ranked in those same metrics in the first half against Baltimore: 

  • EPA/play: -0.125 (19th of 28)
  • Success Rate: 40.0% (15th of 28)
  • Dropback EPA: 0.013 (18th of 28)
  • Rush EPA: -0.381 (25th of 28)

On third downs, they were 25th in EPA/play, 26th in success rate, and 24th in dropback EPA. Last, and probably least, they averaged an abysmal 0.69 yards per play in the red zone, a fascinating number when you consider that this includes a 15-yard Derrick Henry touchdown run. Simply put, when you are that ineffective where it matters most, you cannot expect to beat a team like Baltimore, which went eight for 16 on third down, even if your defense is great against their red zone offense -- The Ravens were one for six and Justin Tucker kicker six field goals.

The Titans' passing attack was dreadful once again on Sunday. The two quarterbacks completed 57.1 percent of their passes for just 104 net passing yards when factoring in sacks taken. With Treylon Burks still nursing a knee injury, and Chris Moore and Josh Whyle each entering concussion protocol after their first two targets, the passing game was nearly non-existent. Here’s how the 20 targets were spread out in London against the Ravens: 

  • DeAndre Hopkins: 5 targets (25%)
  • Chigoziem Okonkwo: 4 targets (20%)
  • Nick Westbrook-Ikhine: 4 targets (20%)
  • Derrick Henry: 2 targets (10%)
  • Kyle Philips: 2 targets (10%)
  • Josh Whyle: 1 target (5%)
  • Tyjae Spears: 1 target (5%)
  • Chris Moore: 1 target (5%)

A week after Hopkins looked unstoppable in Indianapolis the Titans QBs were only able to connect with him once for 20 yards, Okonkwo caught just two of his four targets for 18 yards, Westbroook-Ikhine led the Titans in receptions with three and Spears led the team in receiving yards despite recording just one single target. 

After Ryan Tannehill went down with an ankle injury, Malik Willis took over at quarterback with a chance to be a spark plug for the Titans offense. Willis’s counting stats were better than you might expect, and he was effective analytically as well. Here is the full run-down of the Titans' backup quarterback on Sunday in London: 

  • 4 for 5 (80 Cmp%)
  • 74 Passing Yds (14.8 YPA)
  • 118.8 Pass Rtg
  • 3 Carries, 17 Rushing Yds (5.7 YPC)
  • 0.192 EPA + CPOE (4th of 31)
  • 0.184 EPA/play (4th of 31)
  • 53.3% Success Rate (7th of 31)
  • +14.4% CPOE (1st of 31)

I think Willis has the physical abilities of a productive quarterback in the National Football League. The arm talent is there, the arm strength is there and the athleticism is there. Despite the traits, he simply has not shown the ability to process the field and advance through his progressions at the NFL level, and to this point in his career, he is unplayable in the regular season. 

Despite the progress he made in training camp and the preseason, Willis is not the answer. In a late-game situation where your QB's number one priority is avoiding sacks, Willis was taken down behind the line of scrimmage six times, including four sacks, one sack that was waived off due to defensive holding, and a TFL that was waived off due to a block-in-the-back. You cannot reasonably place Malik Willis behind an offensive line that consistently allows pressure and expect him to perform at a level high enough to win NFL games.  

With Tannehill nursing an ankle injury, Willis showing us more of the same, and two weeks until Arthur Smith and the Atlanta Falcons come to Nashville in Week 8, does the coaching staff make the move to their presumed quarterback of the future?

Ran Carthon and Co. moved up in the 2023 NFL Draft to select Will Levis 34th overall. The slower-paced play-action style offense he operated at Kentucky was eerily similar to the offense Tim Kelly is trying to implement in Tennessee. Here is a brief look into the 2021 numbers of the QB you may see the next time the Titans take the field: 

  • 232 for 352 (65.9 Cmp%)
  • 2,827 Passing Yds   
  • 30 Total TD’s
  • 13 INT’s
  • PFF Grade: 90.6 (2nd in the SEC)
  • ADOT: 9.5 (exact same as Ryan Tannehill in 2023)
  • Time to Throw: 2.62 (4th fastest in the SEC)
  • Turnover Worthy Play %: 2.6% (5th lowest in the SEC)

With Ryan Tannehill currently throwing for just 188 yards per game, totaling two TDs to six INTs through six weeks of football, and ranking 31st in the NFL in Total QBR, could Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons be the beginning of a Kuharsky megaphonenew era of Titans football? Could Will Levis’s advantage over Malik Willis in processing, advantage in athleticism over Ryan Tannehill, and experience in a similar offense be the spark that this Titans offense so desperately needs? Time will tell.

With Tannehill currently throwing for just 188 yards per game, totaling two TDs to six INTs to through six weeks of football, and ranking 31st in the NFL in Total QBR, could Week 8 against the Falcons be the beginning of a new era of Titans football? Could Will Levis’ advantage over Willis in processing, advantage in athleticism over Tannehill, and experience in a similar offense be the spark that this Titans offense so desperately needs?

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