Reaction to over-reactive Titans' tweets after they beat the Bengals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans 24, Bengals 20 edition of the ever-popular reaction to over-reaction file!

PK: Called it. You were dead on. There they are in the standings, 5-4 after being lost for the rest of the game. Oh, wait, actually they won and they are 6-3.JacksonCIN

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Terrific first drive in win over Bengals showed us what the Titans offense can and should be

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The opening drive was wonderfully orchestrated. The finishing drive secured the win.

The offense the Titans played in between was patchy at best, including a dropped touchdown pass, a missed field goal, an interception, a fumbled touchdown pass and the sort of inconsistency that’s been a hallmark of the 2017 Titans.

The home team never trailed during its 24-20 win until A.J. Green’s 70-yard catch and dash for a touchdown with 5:03 left.DeMarcoCIN

Marcus Mariota answered in franchise quarterback style, and he hit third read DeMarco Murray with a little dump off pass from 7-yards out and Murray fought his way in with a stretch to put the Titans ahead for good with his third score.

The Titans are 6-3, still a half game up on Jacksonville thanks to their head-to-head win. Tennessee faces a huge challenge with a Thursday night trip to Pittsburgh, looking to finish off a four-game AFC North run with a fifth consecutive victory.

As good as the last drive was, I want to focus here on the first one.

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Adoree' Jackson is jet fuel for an offense that should show more firepower without him

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Adoree Jackosn played at least six snaps on offense Sunday, and he was a threatening presence who gained 30 yards on three touches in a 24-20 win.

Sure, Mike Mularkey and Terry Robiskie should use all the weapons at their disposal, Even with the biggest contribution yet for Jackson, the Titans needed late heroics in order to win a game where they should have crushed it based on a 416-308 net yard advantage and 40:09 to 19:51 edge in time of possession.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  Call it to close, call it ugly, call it lucky.

It’s all accurate.

But there was something that felt different about this one at the end, where the Titans found a winning drive and put up the winning score with 36 seconds left against a top-flight red zone defense.IMG 3935

Titans 24, Bengals 20.

I said last week you should expect a zig-zagging team, and the Titans delivered that again while winning a fourth consecutive game sof the first time since 2009.

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Mailbag: On Marcus Mariota's stats, the Titans' use of three-wide and must-wins

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Welcome to the weekly mailbag, where we cover a lot of ground, not just one item like you will find in some mailbags.

PK: Yes, but this is a fan problem, not a team problem. If you’re a fan of a team you need to remain conscious of where fantasy football ends and real football starts. He’s hardly played his best and his stats aren’t impressive. And they’re 5-3. I think his best football this season is still ahead of him, which bodes well for him. But whether his numbers are good or not, I think if you’re a football fan in Nashville and this team stays on its current course, you should probably be more excited about it. (You can not be excited if you don’t want to be of course. But I don’t know that you can claim to be a giant fan if they are 6-3 heading to Pittsburgh and you say “meh.”)

Check out this picture I took Friday. (Yes, I tinkered with some settings.)IMG 3880

How the Titans use Marcus Mariota and why it's not a tragedy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – From the outside looking in, some media and fans have a persistent question about the Titans. It buzzes around and I’ve swatted at it, but never landed a direct shot.

Are the Titans maximizing Marcus Mariota?MariotaHeadPointBAL

Many of you will scream no, right away.

But let’s go a bit deeper as I remind you that the league, and the world, is built with shades of gray and things are rarely black or white, yes or no.

Let’s start with what Greg Cosell of NFL Films said on The Midday 180 this week and build from there.

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Do the Titans need to run it well for effective play-action, or just run it?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When play-action teams don’t run much play-action, they usually say it’s because they aren’t having success running it.LewanDoor

But time and time again over the years I’ve see play-action passing work even if runs aren’t successful. It seems it’s not so much about running it well as it is just about running it at all.

“It’s because you still have to respect our run game, no matter what the situation is, if it’s a 1- or 2-yard gain, you’ve got to respect or run game and what we’re able to do,” Murray said. “Obviously they are stacking the box so I think that left some one-on-one matchups. It all plays in in the end, but at the end of the day I think defenses do respect our run game no matter what.”

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