Going into week 2 of the NFL season, Titans fans were considerably worried. Earlier in the week, it was reported that Gabbert and Mariota would both take snaps. That didn’t fool everyone though, I think it was certain this was Gabbert’s game. It didn’t make much sense for Vrabel to say that unless he just wanted the Texans game planning for both quarterbacks. None the less, there was a valid reason for concern entering the game.
The Texans opened up the game with the ball and only managed to muster 8 yards on their first possession. The Titans followed up the Texans lackluster drive with a 3 and out of their own. Except rather than punting, the Titans decided to get tricky. A direct snap to Kevin Byard who immediately threw it to an uncovered Dane Cruikshank who made a house call for 66 yards. Who would have thought that the first passing touchdown for the Titans would be from Byard? Stop it, you’re lying, you didn’t guess that.
Not only did this give the Titans a 7-0 lead, but it also seemed to provide the players with added life. On the next possession, the Texans missed a field goal, giving the Titans good starting field position. The Titans capitalized, starting the series off with 5 consecutive wildcat plays to Derrick Henry. Henry ran the ball four times and even completed a pass for 8 yards to Taywan Taylor. The Titans finished off their 9 play 58-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Taywan Taylor. Taylor made multiple people miss en route to the end zone. This had the Titans celebrating an early 14-0 lead.
After getting out to a 14-0 lead in the first, the Titans forced the only turnover of the game on the very next possession. Adoree’ Jackson made an incredible play to collect his first career interception in the end zone over DeAndre Hopkins. Unfortunately, the Titans were unable to capitalize on their interception. They actually let the Texans all the way back into the game, even surrendering the lead at one point. The Titans played poor two-minute defense to end the first half, letting Hopkins score with just 58 seconds left in the half.
The Titans first 3 offensive possessions in the second half were borderline atrocious. Managing only 9 plays and 3 total yards, the Titans managed to squander their 14-0 lead and now trailed 17-14. Something changed when the Texans took the lead, and the Titans woke up. Immediately going on an 8 play 51-yard drive leading to a game-tying field goal. After a Texans punt, the Titans had the ball with 6:41 remaining and the score tied 17-17. If you had doubts, the Titans alleviated them on this drive, using the majority of time remaining in the quarter for a go-ahead 31-yard field goal.
The Final Stand
The Texans had one last chance to tie or win this game. One minute left, and ball on their own 25-yard line. DeShaun Watson managed to get the Texans to their own 48 with 17 seconds left, giving them one or two plays to get into field goal range. Instead, the Titans locked down the secondary, forcing Watson to hold onto the ball longer than he wanted to. Watson completed a pass over the middle for 31 yards, but time had already expired.
The Titans should enjoy this victory, as they were playing without some key offensive players. However, they should also feel lucky, as they were outplayed in most areas today. When it mattered most the Titans stood tall and got the job done. Hopefully, the return of Mariota, Lewan, and Conklin can bring some added life to this Titans team. In the meantime, let’s enjoy this victory and get ready to head to Jacksonville.