By Karen Christensen @ksc47
Broncos 10 Titans 13
It was a windy day at Nissan stadium (winds up to 27 mph) and the winds were another problem for the Tennessee Titans to have to overcome.
The stands were filled with about 60% Titans two tone blue fans and the other 40%, of course, were the bright orange Denver Broncos fans with a few UT orangies mixed in. The Broncos fans that were in my 300 section were mostly local Tennesseans that loved the Broncos since former UT Peyton Manning was the quarterback, and they were still supporting their team even though Manning is retired.
Dear local TN Manning fans: retire that Manning jersey and get on the Titan train, support your local team. Buy a #8 Marcus Mariota jersey. I was rather offended when I heard on sports talk radio that there were more Broncos fans than Titans fans in attendance. That was NOT true this time.
Mariota did not have a stellar day with a bunch of long passes and completions, the wind might have been part of the problem. More likely is that the Broncos had the Titans wide receivers covered very well. The wide receivers could not break free from the Denver cornerbacks at all so Mariota did not have the opportunity to throw the ball.
He did run for 38 yards. He also has learned to tuck the ball when he is running and to not try to make a pass while running. And he’s learned to throw the ball out of bounds when there isn’t a play to be made. Hallelujah. He didn’t fumble and he didn’t throw any interceptions. I don’t care that his passing rating went down to 99. Team wins > QB statistics.
The only touchdown by the Titans for the entire game was on their opening drive, with RB DeMarco Murray running the ball in from the 3 yard line. My man DeMarco didn’t get 100 yards this game, he had 92 yards, and RB Mr. Derrick Henry had 42 rushing yards. The Titans offense was on the sidelines more than on the field. So praise the football gods that the Titans defense was pumped up and working this last game. We saw a lot of them, the Titans defense that is, and they were earning their quarter this game.
The Titans defense kept the Broncos scoreless through three quarters. I was hoping it would be a game where the Super Bowl champs would remain scoreless, but it wasn’t to be. The Titans defense had three quarterback sacks and two takeaways, with the last takeaway being a ball strip by Avery Williamson with Damion Stafford securing the ball during the last minute of the game. The crowd was LOUD when the realization hit that the Titans were now sure to get the win.
Other notable events within this game was the crowd voicing their displeasure with the referees, it did look like Delanie Walker had gotten a touchdown and it was ruled not a reviewable play. Plus, some pass interference calls were missed by the refs which lead to a not so friendly chant ringing throughout Nissan Stadium, more than once.
Then we had a fist fight between Harry Douglas and Broncos CB Aqib Talib. Talib took offense against a cut block Douglas did against Broncos’ Chris Harris. Talib thought it was a dirty play and that it was to intentionally injure Harris. Douglas’ helmet was pretty dern close to Harris’ knee, but Coach Mularkey said it was a legal play and only Talib received a penalty during the game, neither player was thrown out.
The fight was a bench clearer for a few minutes with many Titan players jumping in to defend their teammate, except for known bad boy, Taylor Lewan, who was a peaceful observer, just sitting out in the middle of the field by himself. Of note, Lewan and his counterpart Jack Conklin did a great job on Sunday as they didn’t allow last year’s SB MVP Von Miller to get a QB sack.
It wasn’t a high scoring game, and Marcus Mariota did not have a high passing ratio, but it was a home game win and it felt wonderful in spite of the wind and colder weather. The Titans are now tied for first place in the AFC South standings with the Houston Texans.
Next up for Tennessee is the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. While I was driving home from the game, the sports radio station 104.5 mentioned that the Titans have won against the Chiefs during away games the last three times! The Chiefs are 10-3 this season and have got some major weapons in Eric Berry and Tyreek Hill.
This game is definitely the toughest game out of the final three that remain this season. The Titans are going to have to dig deep, force turnovers and have an improved passing game for this matchup. The promise of getting in the playoffs this year might be the one thing that gives the Titans the spark to actually get another win.
Featured image of Happy Titans winning with Damion Stafford celebrating after recovering the ball, stripped by A. Williamson courtesy: Donn Jones/AP
For the latest Titans updates, follow: ksc47