Scout's Take: How the Titans' season came apart against the Ravens

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans defense did a great job of handling Lamar Jackson for most of the game.

The defense did enough to win the game.

The key to their success was the tackling from the linebacker and cornerback positions of the Titans.

Titans special team’s linebacker Nick Dzubnar played a major role in run defense as an OLB against the run.

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Photo: Tennessee Titans/ Caleb Jones

Dzubnar played hard and was very solid at being a strong-side outside linebacker, playing against tight ends and tackles to contain and hold the edge.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – What an utter waste.

The Titans took a team that was one game away from the Super Bowl, and despite making its defense significantly worse, they improved by two regular-season games, won the AFC South and earned a home-field playoff game.AJBrownRavensCJ

And then they got pulled away from the only formula they can win with – the one where they have to outscore people -- in a 20-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

It ended their season

And it should trigger some serious soul-searching, roster reconstruction, staff revision and an evaluation of their personnel acquisition methods.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Please let this mailbag help you feel connected to your team as you pass the time between now and kick off of its playoff opener.

I also encourage you to go back and review the week of work here to help get you ready. You'll find a review of just how good Ryan Tannehill's passing production was for what comes with a 2,000-yard rusher, a look at how Derrick Henry's elusiveness keys his durability, five big thoughts about the team right now and Blake Beddingfield's monster scouting preview.

Now, onto the best of the mail.

Keith Stevenson Despite our overall poor performance on defence, Malcolm Butler has shown up & balled every game, plays with heart on his sleeve. He gets alot of heat from fans but i feel only because he is one of our best we all expect more. What's your take?

NeverSatisfied

I haven’t seen Butler take much heat this year. Given how poor the defense has been, I think most fans realize Malcolm Butler is a fighter and while he’ll lose some plays he’s got a mentality that is lacking in a lot of other spots that the Titans need in much heavier doses.

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Scout's Take: How the Titans can beat a different version of the Ravens

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Ravens-Titans playoff game Sunday will be a much different game than Week 11.

The Ravens were without their two best defensive linemen in Calais Campbell and nose tackle Brandon Williams.

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Because of the lack of run-stoppers along the defensive line in the first matchup, the Ravens’ defense was forced to play more base defense than the heavy nickel and dime packages they like to use.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As I’ve contemplated the Ravens-Titans’ Wild Card game Sunday, I’ve thought a good deal about last year’s games.

Many like to downplay Ryan Tannehill’s role, but without two perfect throws early on, Tennessee never could have pulled the upset at M&T Bank Stadium.

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His placement on a first-quarter sprawling touchdown catch by Jonnu Smith (12 yards) and a diving early second-quarter 45-yard Kalif Raymond touchdown shaped the entire game.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As he’s taken 764 handoffs in his last 34 games, Derrick Henry has amassed 3,532 yards.

A giant man at 6-foot-3, 247-pounds, he provides a lot of target.

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Photo: Alison McNabb/ Tennessee Titans

While he took a handful of big shots in his 2K season, they’ve been infrequent. Josey Jewell got him opening night in Denver. DeShon Elliott of the Ravens smashed him in the chin and left him on his knees, slow to get up back in Week 11, perhaps the most memorable hit against him of his career.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Before Sunday, six of the NFL’s seven 2,000-yard rushers had unsurprisingly carried their teams, doing the bulk of the heavy lifting.

The first, O.J. Simpson, was of a far different era.

He got just seven touchdown passes of help from the Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Joe Ferguson in a 14-game season, and the team’s QBs averaged only 88.3 passing yards a game over the historic season while he ran for 143.1.

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When Derrick Henry’s 250-yard game in Houston pushed him to 2,027 for the year, it came paired with the best touchdown total, the lowest interception mark, the highest completion percentage, the most yardage and the most passing yards for any 2K running backs quarterback or quarterbacks.

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Scout's Take: Unsettling signs in Titans' division clincher

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Does the ending of the Texans’ game energize the Titans team heading into the playoffs or do they come to the realization they had to go toe-to-toe with the third-worst team in the NFL?

I didn’t see a lot of quit in the Texans this week, but I also didn’t see a lot of talent.

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The Texans’ roster has been depleted through poor drafting and even worse trades.

Just like watching Matthew Stafford, I struggle watching top tier quarterback like Deshaun Watson playing with suspect talent.

Watson gave the Titans’ defense everything they could handle.

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