Rocky Start For The Boys
After the first quarter, it looked like the Titans were going to be licking their wounds back to Nashville. Dallas came out of the gates and marched downfield with ease. However the Cowboys did what they have done so well the last two decades… get in their own way. Dallas missed the opening field goal. Still, on the Titans first drive, quarterback Marcus Mariota fumbled and Dallas had the ball inside the red zone. Dallas struck first on a four yard pass to newly acquired receiver Amari Cooper.
On the next drive, running back Dion Lewis puts the ball on the turf again. Again, Dallas had the ball inside the red zone with the chance to put the Titans down 14-0. The Titans defense stepped up after Kevin Board picked off Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott in the end zone. The Titans escaped a potentially disastrous first quarter only trailing 7-0.
Turning Up The Juice
The Titans answered exactly how head coach Mike Vrabel wanted them to. With a powerful and surgical 15 play 80 yard drive that milked 8:55 off the clock. This drive did much more than show the Titans weren’t going to just roll over, it set the tone for the rest of the game. The defense continued to pressure and stifle the Cowboys offense in the second quarter, setting up their next strike. Lewis and Mariota made up for their first quarter miscues with an 18 yard strike on a screen pass from Mariota. Dallas made the second quarter interesting with a drive of their own. Maligned cornerback Malcolm Butler continued his dreadful play by allowing Allen Hurns to squeak behind him for a 23 yard touchdown catch from Prescott. The rest of the game was all for the boys.
Titans On The Rise
This was a statement game for the Titans. With this dominating performance on the road, Tennessee showed it could lay down the thunder on the road. This game also marked back to back games in which the offense began clicking. To add lemon meringue on top of this football pie, the Titans receivers appeared to shore up their drop issues.
What’s most encouraging about this game was the performance of the defense. Now Dallas is, by no stretch of the imagination, an offensive powerhouse. They do have Ezekiel Elliott who is, without a doubt, one of the top running backs in the league. In the first half, Elliott accounted for 95 total yards of offense. In the second half he only managed to get six touches for 17 yards. The Titans set the tone and forced Prescott to rush throws with their suddenly vicious pass rush.
This game was just what the Titans needed to begin their ascent in the division. A key road stretch is ahead of them with the mighty Patriots looming. Sunday’s throw down in Foxborough will say a lot about this young Titans team going forward.