Titans' win: When the points come doesn't matter so much

Few wins are going to come easily, and Mike Vrabel predictably hit that theme shortly after the Titans held on to a 24-17 win in Indianapolis Sunday.

Inside a victory that boosted the team to 2-2, many of the troublesome issues from the first quarter of the season were neatly packaged.

This version of the Titans can’t create second-half points, but can still be effectively Derrick Henry-reliant. The team is subbing in too many newcomers on defense and thus doesn’t seem to communicate well, say when a tight end is crossing underneath. And it simply isn’t as crisp and smart as we’ve come to expect Mike Vrabel teams to be.

Derrick Henry

© Armond Feffer, IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tennessee got away with these bad elements because the Colts remain an overrated team that has issues of its own that simply rate as bigger than those of the team it’s chasing.

And so. while the Titans outclassed Indy again, I don’t know that doing so tells us a lot about where they stand in comparison to the AFC’s best, one of which destroyed them two weeks ago on a Monday night in Buffalo.

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Scout's take: Titans should attack Matt Pryor, Brandon Facyson

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With both the Colts and Titans getting their first wins last week, Sunday’s game will be important. In a very tight division this year each win becomes a premium.

The Titans established their old offense in their win over the Raiders, running the ball and working play-action passes. They need to continue with that focus this week.

Treylon Burks

Treylon Burks/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

The Colts have been one of the NFL’s biggest underperforming teams in the past few seasons. Despite good personnel on each level of the offense and defense, the team can’t find its winning formula.

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By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans earned a critical 24-22 win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday in Nissan Stadium, avoiding the team’s first 0-3 start since 2009 and staving off the vultures for a week.

After racing out to a 24-10 halftime lead, the Titans failed to score in the second half for a second straight week but were bailed out by a defense that performed admirably considering the dire injury situations at multiple key spots.

Austin Hooper

Austin Hooper/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

Through three games, Tennessee has been outscored in the second half by a combined 57-7 margin.

So, what gives with the second-half struggles?

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Scout's take: Good plan from Todd Downing and other keys to Titans' win

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A win was just what the Titans needed, but they aren’t out of the weeds yet.

The Titans played their best game of the year and were almost perfect from a production and strategic standpoint on offense in the first half.Derrick Henry

Courtesy Tennessee Titans

The second-half offense was not as effective or productive, but they were able to hold on to the win even though they didn’t add any points to extend their lead.

The Titans needed a big game from Derrick Henry, and they got one with his 20 rushes for 85 yards and a touchdown plus a role in the passing game.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The knee injury Taylor Lewan suffered on the Titans' first snap on offense in Buffalo Monday night is serious enough to end his season, Lewan's podcast Bussin' with the Boys reported.

It's the second big knee injury for Lewan in three years and leaves a weak offensive line without a player it was counting on. He was on crutches in the locker room of Highmark Stadium after the game.

TaylorLewanSideline

He was in the locker room Wednesday with no crutches or brace and moving fine, then was spotted at LAX that evening, presumably heading for a second opinion.

Dennis Daley replaced Lewan during the Titans' 41-7 loss to the Bills and when he declared Lewan out this week Mike Vrabel said Daley would start against Las Vegas  

Daley is listed as the backup for both tackle spots.

Dillon Radunz, a 2021 second-rounder, played at the spot in last year's game against San Francisco but is listed as a reserve guard.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Well before Mike Vrabel was their head coach, the Titans were a run-based team.

During their six-year streak of winning seasons with five playoff appearances, with Derrick Henry at the forefront since 2018, they’ve been especially so.

TannehillUnderCenter

In times of trouble – and at 0-2 they are in trouble now – they’ve looked to the offensive line to reset the tone, carve room for Henry, create time for Ryan Tannehill and set things right.

“Just think about every time throughout all of our lives when things haven't really been great,” Mike Vrabel said. “We've all faced adversity. You rally around what you believe, your core beliefs and your family, the people that you trust. That was what my message was, ‘Do the things that we believe in and that we know works.’”

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PodcastArtNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A new podcast episode awaits you and you can find it through the very friendly and helpful Linktree.

Whichever platform you prefer, please subscribe, rate and review.

Subjects I delve into:

  • Measuring Derrick Henry's slow start versus previous seasons
  • Looking at where Henry stands compared to some historically great backs
  • The Two OL who need to key a resurgence
  • The Raiders' big issues of their own
  • The punt return disaster and the danger of every "solution"
  • Stats you need to know
  • Much more

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Scout's take: Titans can get to Raiders' offensive line, Rock Ya-Sin

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This is a battle of the two-loss, zero-win teams.

The Raiders made a splash with the trade for Davante Adams and the free-agent signing of Chandler Jones.

Despite those two big-ticket acquisitions, the other big thing the new decision-makers did was deplete their depth by waving players who were drafted by the previous regime.

Jeffery Simmons

© George Walker IV -USA TODAY Sports

This has become a trend with new general managers and head coaches coming from the same team. They tend to sign and trade for players from their old team and discard players from the former regime.

Instead of picking the best players for the roster, they rely on comfort and familiarity.

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