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Titans' Loss to Steelers: Truths Revealed

Titans' Loss to Steelers: Truths Revealed

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans versus the Steelers was a matchup between two average NFL teams, that are undisciplined, highly penalized (total of 17 accepted penalties) and lacking identities in 2023. Both teams once prided themselves on being tough defensive teams that rushed the passer and would do just enough on offense to win ball games by controlling the ball and limiting turnovers.  

Thursday night the Titans gave up 326 total yards and the Steelers gave up 340 yards to mediocre NFL offenses.  

Nov 2, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) sacks Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
  T.J. Watt on Will Levis/ © Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Neither team has established an identity in the 2023 season and is moving forward with their young quarterbacks with what they are capable of providing.  

The Titans should feel good about Will Levis after his first two starts, but signs of inexperience showed in the second half of the Steeler game. 

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Get Anything: Conservative Titans Doom Themselves In Pittsburgh

Get Anything: Conservative Titans Doom Themselves In Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH – The Titans have changed their quarterback, but they haven’t changed their thinking.

Ryan Tannehill-style conservativism used with Will Levis, who made multiple throws as he was hit or with defenders bearing down, was a big factor in the Titans' 20-16 loss at Acrisure Stadium.

Nov 2, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) throws under pressure from the Pittsburgh Steelers defense during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
  Will Levis/ © Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Instead of returning to Nashville at 4-4 in a great position, Tennessee is 3-5 and left to scratch and claw with little realistic hope of registering what will be considered a successful season.

It might have all been different if they’d shown a little more faith and taken a little more risk. 

But Mike Vrabel and Tim Kelly played the game thinking anything they could get from Nick Folk would be of supreme value, while their opponent, the similarly low-scoring Steelers, found enough plays to get to the end zone when they needed to. [Unlocked]

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Beyond The Four TDs: Meaningful Plays By Titans' Will Levis From His Debut

Beyond The Four TDs: Meaningful Plays By Titans' Will Levis From His Debut

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

What the Titans got from rookie quarterback Will Levis in his NFL debut was more than anyone could have reasonably expected. Levis threw for four touchdowns – tying an NFL record for a debut performance that he now shares with Marcus Mariota and Fran Tarkenton – to go along with 238 yards and a 65.5 percent completion rate.

Will Levis
  Will Levis/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

Let’s talk, briefly, about the comparison to Mariota’s debut because there are some major differences between the two performances that, to me, make Levis’ far more impressive. For one, none of Mariota’s four touchdown passes traveled more than 15 yards in the air. They were good, accurate throws, but none were as eye-popping as Levis’ two second-half tosses.

But also, the 2015 Bucs proved to be one of the worst defenses in football, allowing 26.1 points per game, good for

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Titans-Steelers High-Stakes Showdown: The Scouting Preview

Titans-Steelers High-Stakes Showdown: The Scouting Preview

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Thursday is a quick turnaround for the Titans. 

The Titans played well in all phases on Sunday versus the Falcons but get very little time to enjoy it. That may be a good thing because it also gives the opponent a short window to dissect and plan against the Titans’ new offensive look under rookie quarterback Will Levis.

DeAndre Hopkins and Chig Okonkwo
  DeAndre Hopkins and Chig Okonkwo/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

The Steelers and Falcons have a lot of similarities to their offensive units. They’ve been low-scoring teams with average-to-poor quarterback play.

But that is where the similarities stop. The Steelers have a pass rush which the Falcons did not. The Steelers have arguably the best edge pass rusher in the league in T.J Watt and with his bookend rush partner Alex Highsmith, Pittsburgh has the best duo in the NFL. Watt has 8.5 sacks; Watt and Highsmith each have two fumbles caused.

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Podcast: Will Levis Changes The Titans' Vibe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The win over Atlanta wasn't just a win, it was a recharging win.

Will Levis isn't likely to duplicate his debut performance Thursday night in Pittsburgh. But he didn't just re-energize a fan base, he reinvigorated a locker room. I talked to a lot of guys about that new vibe, because it's so important. And that's where The Paul Kuharsky Podcast kicks off this week.

The Paul Kuharsky Podcast

The new episode awaits you on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, iHeart and YouTube, which is below.

Other subjects I dive into:

  • The big lecture on booing
  • Pass protection with two more quality edge rushers in Pittsburgh
  • Quarterbacks you'd trade Levis for
  • Extending Derrick Henry now?
  • My favorite stadiums

The podcast is the front door to PaulKuharsky.com.
 
If you like what you hear or see here, you'd love the rest of the site. Come join the fun.
 
We're sponsored by ZenSports. Download the app using TNPAUL and make a $10 bet and you get a free membership to this fine site, a must-have for a true fan of the Titans. 
 
Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-889-9789. Terms and Conditions apply. Must be 21+ and in Tennessee to bet.

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The Analytics On The Titans' Offense And Will Levis

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.

I am naturally optimistic. If you watched the first six games this season, you understand that it is easy to latch onto the positives, even if they were few and far between. In my Ravens review, I discussed the similarities between Kentucky’s Titans Winoffense and the offense that Tim Kelly is working to implement in Nashville. Will Levis’ time to throw, average depth of target, and completion percentage in 2021 were very similar to that of Ryan Tannehill this season. My conclusion was: why not give the young guy a shot against Arthur Smith and the Atlanta Falcons? 

 

Here is a fun question to get things started: how many quarterbacks have thrown for 230 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions in their NFL debut in the Super Bowl Era? The correct answer is one quarterback. His name is William Donovan Levis, he is the quarterback of the Tennessee Titans for the foreseeable future, and he boat-raced expectations against a very good Falcons defense on Sunday. The only other quarterback in the history of the NFL to put up those numbers or better in a debut was Fran Tarkenton way back in 1961. [Unlocked]

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Analyzing The Titans' Impressive Win: Will Levis, DeAndre Hopkins And More

Analyzing The Titans' Impressive Win: Will Levis, DeAndre Hopkins And More

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans were in desperate need of a game like they had on Sunday.

The offensive explosion couldn’t have been scripted any better.

Derrick Henry had 22 carries for 101 yards. DeAndre Hopkins: Four receptions for 128 yards and three touchdowns.

Will Levis
  Will Levis/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

Supplemental players: Chig Okonkwo with four receptions while Kyle Phillips had three. The Titans’ offensive line gave up only two sacks.  

There is still more potential ahead with Treylon Burks and Tyjae Spears not having productive days in terms of final stat production. Both had successful moments throughout the game.

None of the team’s veteran players’ success compared to the positive play of rookie quarterback Will Levis.

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Epic Debut for Will Levis Changes Titans' Tone

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The best quarterback ever to wear the Houston Oilers oil derrick logo was at Nissan Stadium, one of an expected 170 franchise alumni expected to watch the Titans play the Falcons in throwback uniforms.

Warren Moon may have seen the organization's next great quarterback's debut, with Will Levis wearing the same threads while throwing four touchdowns in his NFL debut, a 28-23 win.

"Very impressive performance by Will in his first start," Moon told me by text. "He showed great poise in the pocket, nice pace and command of the huddle and showed off his big arm several times for explosive plays. Excellent confidence booster game for Will and the team."

Oct 29, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) throws a pass just before getting hit by Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle David Onyemata (90) during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Will Levis/ © Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Did Levis remind Moon, a Pro Football Hall of Famer of anybody?

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