Scouting review: How wins in the trenches led to Titans' big win over K.C.

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are on a roll, taking out two of the best AFC teams and most importantly two of the best NFL offenses and quarterbacks.

Right out of the gate, why does a team that likes to play ahead like the Chiefs defer after winning a coin toss?

That decision was one of many bad coaching decisions for the Chiefs.MyCole Pruitt

Pool photo/ Donald Page, Tennessee Titans

Coaching was only one issue for Kansas City.

The Chiefs couldn’t score and they couldn’t stop the Titans from running, passing, rushing the passer and scoring.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – That bad road loss to the Jets felt like years ago after the Titans stacked a smothering, 27-3 win over Kansas City on top of their Monday night victory over the Bills.

At 5-2, Tennessee can claim to be as good as anybody in the AFC.

Denico Autry

© George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

No one owns as impressive a pair… of wins as those two -- except perhaps the Chargers, who are on a bye this week but rattled off a trio of wins at Kansas City, against Oakland and against Cleveland before getting stomped at Baltimore.

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Scouting preview: How the Titans can make Patrick Mahomes less effective

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Chiefs are a confusing team this season.

They have two of the most dynamic offensive players in the NFL in Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill.Titans vs. Chiefs

In the past three years, Mahomes has been electric because of his ability to adlib and make plays off-script.

The problem is the NFL defenses have spent the past few years trying to figure him out and at least come up with a plan to slow down the talented QB.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When the Titans’ defense withstands the early, scripted element an opponent brings into a game, Shane Bowen considers it a mini-victory.

“Yeah, absolutely,” he said. “Anytime you’re kind of going into a game, you’re never really knowing what you’re going to get. Certain teams do a little bit more early on than other teams. But (we’re) just trying to get into the flow of the game, make sure we can handle all their punches early as best we can.”

Todd Downing

© George Walker IV / Tennessean.com

When the Titans held the Bills to a field goal after some mistakes and missed tackles, Bowen said it added a little bit of confidence, “Give you a little jolt of life like ‘Hey, we’ll be OK, we’ll regroup, we’ll be OK.”

On the other side of the ball, the Titans have regularly helped provide that jolt to the defenses they’ve faced.

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NASHVILLE, TENN. – Roughly three months after the Titans lost the 2019 AFC Championship Game to the Chiefs, Logan Ryan was a floating free agent and Mike Vrabel was redefining what the Titans needed out of the nickel position.

He said a slot corner still has to be able to cover a speedy tight end, play man and zone and blitz.

“And more so now to be able to match up on some vertical routes inside,” he said. “I think for so long, in the slot there was this horizontal thought -- that guys had to work defenses horizontally.

Elijah Molden

Pool photo/ Tennessee Titans 

“And now we’re seeing a lot more vertical routes that are coming out of the slot so I think that is something that is always a challenge when you are looking for players that do all those things and do them very well.”

Tyreek Hill struck fear into the Titans in that game, and they did reasonably good work against him, holding him to five catches for 67 yards. But his two touchdowns were a big part of the Chiefs 35-24 win.

Sunday the NFL’s top slot receiver will be a giant storyline against cornerback-depleted Tennessee at Nissan Stadium.

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Scouting review: How Titans' coordinators keyed win over Bills

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Bills came to town hailed as the AFC’s best team.

They were outcoached and outplayed and didn’t look like a Super Bowl team.

The Titans don’t either, but they didn’t have that hype at kickoff.

A.J. Brown

Pool photo/ Donald Page, Tennesse Titans

Fans who don’t like Titans' coordinators Shane Bowen and Todd Downing should quit listening to NFL pundits and watch what is going on.

Against a top-rated offense and defense and the Titans' players leaving the game to injuries, the defense made plays when it counted, and the offense let their two best players, Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown, take over the game.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans kind of have this trick down.

They disappoint their diehards with something like a road loss to the miserable Jets and then, with slack in the rope, they make them grab back on, pull tight and take them on a tense and fun ride, coming out with something like Monday night’s terrific 34-31 win over Buffalo.

Amani Hooker

Pool photo/ Donald Page, Tennessee Titans

When it’s over it feels like a recommitment ceremony.

The Bills came to Nissan Stadium playing like the Titans aspire to, tops in the NFL in both scoring offense and defense and widely regarded as the AFC’s best team.

They left with a loss to an injury-depleted team that found a passing game to balance out Derrick Henry, that played well in the red-zone on both sides of the ball and finished things off with a glorious goal-line stop.

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