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Week 14 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 7, Arizona Cardinals 12
What you need to know
The Titans offense left a lot to be desired here as nobody looked good here. Demarco Murray saw more carries then Derrick Henry
again, but Henry got the team's lone touchdown on a six-yard run. Eric Decker
led the team in receiving while Rishard Matthews
was lackluster in his return from injury. Marcus Mariota
had one of the worst games of his career as he continues to struggle with accuracy and now has thrown 12 interceptions to just 10 touchdowns on the season.
Fitzgerald’s milestone accomplishment aside, there was absolutely no upside or positive takeaway from Sunday’s win. This team is neither playoff bound nor helping itself achieve a top-10 pick; instead, they find themselves stuck in middle. The players who most contributed to Sunday’s win were old veterans and journeymen, players who will not play a significant role in the team’s future. Obviously, players are not expected to throw games once they are on the field, but objectively speaking, Sunday’s result absolutely damaged the franchise’s long-term health and well-being.
|QB Marcus Mariota, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 31 - 159 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 11 - 0|
had one of the worst games of his career this last week as he completed just 51.6% of his passes for 159 yards and two interceptions. Mariota continued to struggle with throwing downfield here as he completed just five of 16 attempts of 10 or more yards downfield for 88 yards and two interceptions. Mariota made a nice throw on the run do Decker late in the third quarter that went for 29 yards, his longest play of the game. Shortly after this nice throw by Mariota, he made a horrible decision throwing downfield near the goal line with no Titans receiver in sight as the Cardinals picked him off for the first time in the game. Mariota then helped seal the deal for the Cardinals late in the fourth quarter as he completely overlooked linebacker Josh Bynes on a low throw across the middle of the field, letting Bynes jump up to snatch Mariota's second interception of the game. Mariota had been making up for his inefficiency through the air with some fantasy points on the ground, but he only rushed for 11 yards without a touchdown in this game.
|RB DeMarco Murray, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 34 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (3 targets)|
Demarco Murray and the entire Titans offense could get nothing going against the Cardinals. Murray had a 54-yard run called back due to an offensive holding penalty in the first quarter. Outside of that play, Murray looked flat as a runner with no highlight plays worth mentioning. Murray's involvement in the passing game continued as he hauled in multiple receptions for the 10th straight game, but for just 13 yards as this didn't really help his stat line.
Henry's longest run of the game came early in the second quarter as he took a routine handoff up the middle for nine yards. On the same drive, Henry busted a run to the left from the six-yard line to find the end zone. The extra effort on the end of that run to use the stiff arm and dive for the pylon was spectacular. Outside of his plays on this drive though, Henry was bottled up as he finished with just 20 yards on eight attempts as the Titans offense floundered.
|WR Eric Decker, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 56 - 0 (5 targets)|
led the team in receiving with 56 yards on a rough day for the offense as a whole. He hauled in a 16-yard pass on the Titans' second drive of the game. Decker also caught an 11-yard pass for a big first down to set up the only Titans touchdown of the game. Decker accounted for the longest play of the game for the Titans as well - a 29-yard catch and run late in the third quarter.
Matthews could not get anything going on his first game back from a hamstring injury, hauling in just three receptions for 19 yards. He had to deal with coverage from Patrick Peterson for most of the game, which will limit the upside of any receiver regardless of who he is.
|WR Corey Davis, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 29 - 0 (6 targets)|
saw a few nice deep ball targets in this game, but he couldn't come up with any of them as he finished with a very meager stat line. One of those deep balls came early in the second quarter and would have been a big play for the struggling Titans offense, but Mariota's throw was just slightly behind Davis making it tough for him to make a play on the ball. Davis's best play of the game came on the two-minute drill going into halftime as Davis ran a great corner route to haul in a 22-yard reception to set up a long field goal that the Titans would miss.
led the Titans in targets and receptions, hauling in five of nine targets for 42 yards. Most of Walker's receptions were short passes near the line of scrimmage. Marcus Mariota
tried to find him deep on a few occasions, but he simply was not accurate enough for Walker to make a play. Walker dropped what was a nicely thrown ball on a wheel route on the Titans' final drive of the game. One play later, Walker had another quality target but had the ball dislodged after taking a huge hit that took a few moments for Walker to recover from. Walker would not return to the game after that hit.
|QB Blaine Gabbert, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 26 - 178 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 12 - 0|
Nothing about Gabbert’s performance on Sunday suggested the Cardinals should have walked away with a victory, but poor play by the opponent coupled with a truly mystifying coaching decision provided just enough wind in the Cardinals sails to see them pull off a close win. Gabbert was his usual mediocre self, missing open receivers, narrowly avoiding interceptions and running out of perfectly clean pockets, but connected on enough passes to continuously move his team into field goal range in the second half, sadly the difference in the game. There was no great pass or momentous offensive drive, it was simply a game where the Titans offensive incompetence was slightly worse than the Cardinals, and the Cardinals’ defense was able to capitalize on mistakes the Titan’s defense could not.
|RB Kerwynn Williams, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 73 - 0, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets)|
While 77 yards on fewer than 4 yards-per-carry likely does not qualify as a “bright spot”, Kerwynn Williams
was the closest to that the Cardinals offense had on Sunday. For the second straight week, the diminutive running back has found was to keep the Cardinals offense moving forward. Often in little burst, but rarely backward, Williams has become an offensive crutch for a team struggling through the air. Despite not having the team’s longest run of the day, Chad Williams
33-yard end around provided that, but his ability to keep the offense moving forward allowed for easier conversions and manageable 3rd downs for Gabbert, which proved vital for all of those second-half field goal drives. The Cardinals won Sunday via a death of a thousand cuts, and Kerwynn Williams
was often holding the blade.
The only noteworthy accomplishment on an otherwise dreadful game was Fitzgerald’s continued march towards history. With his 44 yards, Fitzgerald one of his passed childhood heroes, Randy Moss
, for third All Time in Receiving Yards. An incredible accomplishment for an incredible player who we will all look back on and wonder what could have been had he played the majority of his career with a non Blane Gabbert-esq quarterback. Within the game itself, Fitzgerald occupied his role as the team’s most targeted receiver; hauling in five of his seven passes, easily outpacing the rest of the team. With so few total completions and passing yards, even Fitzgerald’s relatively paltry numbers made up a large chunk of them. The fact that no other receiver bears mentioning truly shows how far this once great passing offense has fallen.
Gresham being mentioned is more by default, as he contribution to the game was minimal at best. In fact, the most noteworthy element of Gresham’s afternoon was his sideline spat with Head Coach Bruce Arians. Nothing became of it; it was an argument that can be seen on nearly any NFL sideline, but considering Gresham’s output on the field, it ended up being his most significant moment of an otherwise uninspired game.