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Titans Undone By Sacks Again As They Fall to 5-10

Titans Undone By Sacks Again As They Fall to 5-10

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The late game-losing drive we saw the Titans allow Seattle to piece together at Nissan Stadium Sunday to secure a 20-17 win didn’t hit as hard because the path to defeat has become so common, making us somewhat numb to it.

Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime for the Texans just a week earlier. Gardner Minshew connected with Alec Pierce for 55 yards, putting the Colts on the porch for an OT TD in Week 13. In Pittsburgh back on Nov. 2, the Steelers went 92 yards in 11 plays to move ahead for good late.

Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Peter Skoronski (77) picks up quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) after he was sacked by the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023.
Ryan Tannehill, post-sack/ © Andrew Nelles The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

So when the Seahawks got the ball down 4 with 3 minutes and 21 seconds left, it was not hard to envision what was about to unfold.

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Time For Titans To Really See Tyjae Spears, Treylon Burks, Josh Whyle, Colton Dowell

Time For Titans To Really See Tyjae Spears, Treylon Burks, Josh Whyle, Colton Dowell

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are officially eliminated from the playoffs. The one player most fans want to see in the teams’ remaining games is Will Levis, who’s questionable for the game due to a high ankle sprain.

These next three Titans' games are an evaluation of what they currently have on the roster and what they need for the future.

Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry finds no room/ Angie Flatt

The evaluation starts with the team's pending free agents. Do they find a role for Derrick Henry next season? This should be a serious evaluation of what the offensive plan is for next year and if Henry fits. This should not be an owner decision out of goodwill for what he has accomplished during his great Titans career. The owner should first sit down with the general manager and the head coach and demand a plan for next season. This should not wait until after the season. 

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Podcast: Remembering An Excellent Titans' LT Succession Plan

Podcast: Remembering An Excellent Titans' LT Succession Plan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The general manager who came before Jon Robinson drafted poorly and didn't score well with free-agent acquisitions, with a few exceptions.

The Paul Kuharsky PodcastBut from Ruston Webster's experience in the front office in Seattle, he had a keen understanding of the importance of a succession plan at left tackle. He was the reason that years after the Titans went from Brad Hopkins to Michael Roos, they made a similarly smooth move from Roos to Taylor Lewan.

The Titans had no such vision when the end was near for Lewan.

That's where we start this week's edition of The Paul Kuharsky Podcast. The new episode awaits you on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, iHeart and YouTube, which is also embedded below.

Other subjects I dive into:

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Envisioning The Titans' Rebuilt Offensive Line

Envisioning The Titans' Rebuilt Offensive Line

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

With the Titans officially eliminated from playoff contention thanks to a gouge-your-eyes-out performance in a 19-16 overtime loss to the Texans at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, I figured that our time here would be best spent looking forward to the single biggest task facing Ran Carthon and Mike Vrabel in the upcoming offseason: rebuilding the offensive line.

Before we jump into that discussion, I do want to state my belief that, yes, Mike Vrabel should be back as head coach in 2024 and continue to be a part of rebuilding this roster. I don’t buy the notion that Vrabel – a coach who went 48-27 over his first 75 games as Titans head coach without the luxury of an elite quarterback – suddenly forgot how to coach over the last 13 months.

Dec 3, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) celebrates with offensive tackle Robert Hunt (68) after a touchdown pass against the Washington Commanders during the first half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Hunt with Tua Tagovailoa/ © Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, things have gotten ugly on a lot of fronts over the 5-16 skid that seems like a decent bet to reach 5-19 by year’s end, but to me, this remains a personnel issue. After all, I spent the better part of this past offseason in this column warning that the offensive line fixes might not be an improvement over last year’s bad unit and noting that there was evidence that the defense might not be as elite as many believed they would be this year.

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Kindly Shut Up About The Titans Shutting It Down

Titans 615 WallNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Games are played all the time, in leagues all over North America and beyond, with no playoff implications.

Titans fans aren’t used to them. They haven’t happened for you since 2015, when they team went 3-13.

"It's new, right?" Mike Vrabel said. "It's a new experience for me. So, I'll have to give it some thought and try to make sure that we're doing everything that we can to continue to try to teach them, to develop them, inspire everyone the best that we can."

Let me remind the readership how it works.

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The Analytics of the Titans' Disastrous Performance in Week 15

By JAKE DOWNARD

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 at the bottom of the piece.

For a glossary of the metrics and terms used in this post, please see this earlier file.

The Tennessee Titans won the coin flip on Sunday and elected to defer. After the defense forced a three-and-out, the offense trotted onto the field coming off a 28-27 comeback win over the Miami Dolphins.

The first play was a first-down handoff to Derrick Henry that went for positive yardage. On second-and-8 later in the drive, Will Levis connected with Treylon Burks on a 37-yard-strike. Chig Okonkwo got involved, and a couple of plays later, Levis connected with Nick Westbrook-Ikhine on a free play, due to Sheldon Rankins jumping offsides, for 33 yards. The drive was then capped off by a 1-yard Levis keeper for the TD.

 

Will Levis
Will Levis/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

They moved OK for a bit on the second possession too. Throughout the first 12 minutes of the game, pass protection was great and Levis had a clean pocket to operate from. The Titans had just one negative play in the run game. They had already generated three X-plays in the passing game.

I hope you enjoyed it. 

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Titans' Review: Run Game Stall, Peter Skoronski's Struggle And Father Flanagan

Titans' Review: Run Game Stall, Peter Skoronski's Struggle And Father Flanagan

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – This game deserved to end in a tie. These were two poorly coached offensive units, with some poor plays out of them. 

The Titans were playing against a bunch of backups against the Houston Texans. So the Titans were clearly the best team with an offense that used multiple players in the run and pass game to have success early. Tennessee had early success without its most consistent offensive player this year in DeAndre Hopkins.

Azeez Al-Shaair
Azeez Al-Shaair/ Angie Flatt

Why wasn’t Hopkins used more?  

The Texans’ fire power was zapped without their standout rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, their two best receivers, Tank Dell and Nico Collins, and their top pass rusher in Will Anderson. But that didn’t keep the Texans from finding a way to pull out the win.

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PK TV: Discussing Texans 19, Titans 16 OT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The bad ones seem to get worse and worse.

First-down stubbornness on offense was a killer for the Titans in their 19-16 OT loss to the Texans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium. Give it to Derrick Henry, let him run into a penetrating brick wall and head The Paul Kuharsky Podcastback to the huddle. It was maddening, and it's what I wrote about off of the game.

I know you'll want to dig into that and the official end of the sliver of playoff hopes this team had. We also haven't spoken since the team decided to end things with Teair Tart, and while he was;t playing with a lot of effort, he'd probably have helped limit Devin Singletary a little considering he dominated this game with 121 yards on 26 carries and another 49 on four catches.

He was the sort of physical running back the Titans are supposed to put forth on a weekly basis, but that was a dead idea in this game.

Let's gather for our usual post-game discussion where you can vent and we can hash out what we saw and didn't see.

Just head to the private Facebook or below.

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