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Week 8 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 6, Houston Texans 20
What you need to know
is not the answer for this or any other team. Kendall Wright
suffered a knee injury that could cost him multiple games.
The Texans tight ends continue to be small pieces of the offense. C.J. Fiedorowicz
had one reception while Garrett Graham
Texans are coming onto their bye week and could get Cecil Shorts
back from his hamstring injury.
It was another game in a string of games that highlight how limited Zach Mettenberger
is as a quarterback. His extremely slow process in the pocket led to constant pressure and too many sacks, while his accuracy and decision making limited the offense while giving the defense too many opportunities to catch the ball. On the very first drive of the game, he threw the ball straight to a Texans defender who failed to hold onto the catch. He kept the ball out of danger until early in the fourth quarter, though he did it by handicapping his offense to the point it was dysfunctional. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, he badly missed Dorial Green-Beckham
downfield for the interception on one play before losing a fumble when he took over again on the very next drive. Any talk of Mettenberger being a trade chip or taking over for Mariota should be quieted.
|RB Antonio Andrews, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 64 - 0, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (3 targets)|
The Titans have firmly moved Antonio Andrews
into the majority share of the touches at the running back position. He has assumed Bishop Sankey
's touches and opened this game with a nine-yard carry. Andrews was consistently showing off power through contact and some elusiveness in space, but his offensive line wasn't giving him many opportunities to be productive. Without Marcus Mariota
to hold backside defenders on runs from the shotgun, the Titans incorporated more under center runs where the team's limitations upfront hindered the running game as a whole. A huge percentage of Andrews' yards came on a sweep play to the outside in the third quarter when he broke multiple tackles before running down the sideline for roughly a 30-yard gain.
|RB Dexter McCluster, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 15 - 0, Rec: 4 - 23 - 0 (6 targets)|
didn't start the game at running back, but he was the second back onto the field during the first drive of the game. His first carry went for seven yards as he skipped through the line of scrimmage before making a cut on the second level. Despite his success on his first carry, he would only run the ball twice more for eight yards. McCluster was also targeted on third down to end that drive. He dropped a pass when he was wide open underneath, though even if he had caught it he wouldn't have had a chance to convert for a first down. Those were the types of targets McCluster received throughout the game, so even when he caught them the yards he gained were limited.
Sankey is no longer a contributor on offense and his poor performance as a kickoff returner has cost him that role. It feels inevitable that the Titans will move on from the running back.
|WR Kendall Wright, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 4 - 21 - 0 (7 targets)|
With Mettenberger at quarterback, the Titans had to try and create easy throws for him to put the ball in Kendall Wright
's hands. They even handed the ball off to him directly from under center on an end-around during the second quarter. Wright's extremely limited production reflected the kind of service he was receiving before he was sidelined by a knee injury. That knee injury came on a screen play in the third quarter when he took a blindside hit from the outside. Wright was able to walk to the locker room under his own power.
|WR Justin Hunter, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (3 targets)|
hasn't been given many easy catch opportunities this season. Most of his targets have come on contested catches and he has failed to impress in those situations. Early in the second quarter, Mettenberger threw him a deep pass that wasn't perfect but it gave him an opportunity to fight for the ball. He couldn't get ahead of the defensive back after breaking infield on his route. Hunter compounded his inability to make that catch by negating a first down gain on a screen play because of a penalty. Hunter eventually caught a comeback route for a first down in the third quarter. Another short reception was added in the fourth quarter, a comeback route where he showed off impressive feet on the sideline, but Hunter's display as a whole left a lot to be desired.
found himself in the peculiar position of catching a pass that wasn't intended for him and not having a chance to catch an intercepted pass that was intended for him. His reception came on the first drive of the game when Mettenberger threw the ball to a Texans defender and it was batted into the air. After that, he ran a deep corner route when Mettenberger's pass was limp and late to the point that he had no opportunity to make a play on the ball. The rookie receiver did catch a backshoulder throw in the fourth quarter down the field, but it was negated by a false start penalty.
When Delanie Walker
plays with Marcus Mariota
, he is a great possession receiver with the ability to create yardage downfield with his athleticism. When he plays with Zach Mettenberger
, he is still a great possession receiver but without the downfield threat. This game was much of the same as last week's, as Walker continually caught the ball underneath with little room to work in after the catch.
Fasano didn't see the football until the fourth quarter. He caught a pass underneath on Second-and-9 before finishing the play moving forward for a first down. It was his only reception of the game.
Stevens had one catch in the game. He caught a short curl route late in the third quarter before falling backwards for an extra gain. He had been left uncovered by the zone defense.
|QB Brian Hoyer, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 35 - 235 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0|
It was a conservative but another productive day for Brian Hoyer
at quarterback. Hoyer dink and dunked all after noon and hit his running backs all afternoon for short gains. He looked for Alfre Blue and Chris Polk
out of the back field for consistent chunks of 5 to 6 yards. When Hoyer pushed the ball downfield he had success. He took advantage of the space DeAndre Hopkins
and Nate Washington
had against the Titans secondary. He hit Hopkins for gains of 12, 13 and a 21 yard one on one ball in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. As for Washington, he hit him with gains of 11, 15 and and the game clinching 42 yard touchdown. On the touchdown, Hoyer threw to the end zone and let Washington run under neath it in stride to beat the defender. Hoyer was methodical but took calculated chances that paid off for the offense.
|RB Alfred Blue, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 39 - 0, Rec: 5 - 33 - 0 (5 targets)|
is getting the start with Arian Foster
out for the season and is getting his fair share of work. Blue had 19 total touches to lead the team and had 72 all purpose yards. On the ground his longest run was 8 yards but he did most of his work on underneath routes as an outlet for Hoyer. Blue had four receptions for 6 yards and one for nine yards. The running backs are getting touches as an extensions of the running game.
|RB Chris Polk, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 18 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)|
much like Blue is getting touches when he comes in for Blue. Second on the team with 13 total touches for 22 total yards and he has been not been eating up yards like his counterpart in Blue. Polk is getting work on the field but not producing from a number standpoint.
The Texans continue to get DeAndre Hopkins
into formations for one-on-one match ups. Hopkins had eight receptions and he continues to evolve his game and against the Titans he worked the under neath routes. Hopkins had four of his receptions targeted 9 yards or less but he was able to turn those into some YAC yards. He turned a simple three yard reception into a 13-yard gain by making defenders miss to pick up a key first down. Hopkins had a touchdown reception for 21 yards when he went over the Titans cornerback for another impressive catch on a 50/50 ball for his sixth touchdown on the season.
The veteran wide receiver continues to make plays for the offense and three of his four receptions want over 10 yards or more. His big play came on a 42 yard deep ball touchdown from Hoyer when he ran past the cornerback to win a one-on-one ball but was knocked out of the game after he landed hard on his hip in the end zone. Washington did have two drops early in the game that would have been first downs, which he has struggled with all season.