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Week 15 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 23, San Francisco 49ers 25
What you need to know
The Titans offense was lackluster throughout the first half, but Marcus Mariota
got going through the air in the second half to lead three straight scoring drives on his way to 242 passing yards - his highest mark in the last four weeks and his first game with multiple passing touchdowns since Week 9. Delanie Walker
led the team in targets and found the end zone, but amassed just 37 receiving yards in the process. Rishard Matthews
had the best fantasy performance of the day as he was a deep threat for most of the game, hauling in six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. The ground game slept for most of the game as Demarco Murray out-touched Derrick Henry
19-to-9, but neither had a single highlight-reel play.
Same thing, different week. Jimmy Garoppolo
connected with Marquise Goodwin
early and often -- at the expense of Carlos Hyde
. Trent Taylor
was the go-to receiver on third down. Louis Murphy
started, but No. 4 wideout Kendrick Bourne
was more involved in the passing game. Garrett Celek
and George Kittle
sprinkled in a few catches here and there, particularly because they were wide open. Speaking of which, although the stats suggest San Francisco's passing game once again fired on all cylinders with Garoppolo, a big reason for those stats was indeed that Tennessee's secondary blew coverages repeatedly.
|QB Marcus Mariota, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 33 - 241 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0|
and the Titans offense had a slow start with just a field goal to show until the last few seconds of the first half when Mariota found Delanie Walker
for a four-yard touchdown reception. From that drive forward, Mariota looked very refreshed as he led the Titans to three straight scores to help them get a lead in the fourth quarter that would ultimately be blown by their defense to lose the game. Mariota made some impressive throws throughout the day, including hooking up with Rishard Matthews
on four passes for over 20 yards as Matthews. Mariota's second touchdown pass of the day was also to Matthews, coming on a short stop-and-go route near the goal line that left Mariota with a very easy throw to make for the score. Mariota did not do much at all with his legs here as he had only two scrambles for four yards, but he was well protected as he took just one sack. This game did mark the first time in five weeks that he has thrown for multiple touchdowns and just his second game in the last seven he has finished without throwing an interception.
|RB DeMarco Murray, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 59 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets)|
Demarco Murray saw the vast majority of carries this week as he out-touched Derrick Henry
18-to-7 on the ground. The Titans really tried to establish their ground game here, but they simply could not find a rhythm with either Murray or Henry. Murray had a pair of nice nine-yard gains on first downs in the first half, including one run where he absolutely ran over rookie linebacker Reuben Foster. Outside of those plays though, Murray he was not getting much separation at all beyond the line of scrimmage as holes to run through were few and far between. His longest play of the game came just after halftime as Murray ran off the right side for 11 yards, but as the game progressed, the Titans were forced into a pass-heavy game script in which Murray was very involved as he had just one target resulting in a four-yard reception.
|RB Derrick Henry, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 19 - 0, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (2 targets)|
was relatively invisible during this week's game as he was out-touched by Demarco Murray 19-9. With a pass-heavy game script for much of the game, the Titans elected to give more snaps to Murray as the better run-blocker. Henry saw just one carry in the first half before getting in the game for an entire drive to close out the third quarter on which Henry saw eight of his nine touches. Henry was actually the focal point of that drive as the ball went to him on eight of 12 plays with the drive resulting in a touchdown. The Titans have definitely had some success with Henry in the backfield, he just still is not being afforded the opportunity to contribute outside of a series here and there per game.
led the team in receiving as he hauled in six of his eight targets for 95 yards and a touchdown. This was his biggest game since going out with the hamstring injury in Week 11. Matthews showed his playmaking ability in this game as his first four receptions all went for over 20 yards each, with three of them coming before halftime. Matthews showed non-stop drive after his first reception as gained an extra seven yards once he had been wrapped up just by keeping his legs pumping to push downfield. Matthews ran a great corner route during the two-minute drill before halftime to help set up a Titans touchdown. He had to make that catch on the ball thrown a bit over his head, but Matthews had no problem hauling it in and getting out of bounds. On 3rd-and-4 late in the third quarter, Matthews came up big with another 21-yard reception that he showed great power to push forward for some extra yards at the end. Shortly after that play, Matthews would easily haul in the touchdown on 3rd-and-goal from eight yards out as he fooled the 49ers linebacker with a nice stop and go to get wide open in the back of the end zone. This would mark Matthews' third touchdown in his last five games.
|WR Eric Decker, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 63 - 0 (5 targets)|
made a few nice grabs in this game as he finished as the second-best receiver for the Titans despite not finding the end zone. He caught all five of his targets, with four of those receptions going for over 10 yards as he proved to be very effective on the intermediate-length routes. Decker was a big part of the Titans' first drive after halftime. He ran a nice route to the outside and did a good job coming back to the ball to haul in a 12-yard reception on 3rd-and-10 to keep that drive alive. A few plays later, Decker had his longest play of the game as he another corner route, deep to the right side this time and made the easy catch for 17 yards. Decker did make an impressive catch late in the third quarter for seven yards near the red zone as he had to jump up with a defender around his waist to bring in the ball. That would mark his last catch of the game though.
|WR Corey Davis, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (5 targets)|
had another underwhelming day as he saw just five targets, hauling in three of them for 28 yards. Davis ran a solid out route to lead off the Titans' final drive of the game as he picked up 13 yards for his longest play of the game. Mariota tried to find Davis on a couple deep shots but simply could not connect. Davis now has three straight games with three or fewer receptions and fewer than 30 receiving yards, still having failed to match his Week 1 stat line since returning from injury.
led the Titans in targets while scoring his third touchdown in the last four games, but he finished with his lowest yardage total since Week 6 as he had a rough day overall. If not for his four-yard touchdown reception late in the first half, Walker would have had a very forgettable half of football as he hauled in just one of four targets leading up to that play. Walker's one reception before the touchdown in the first half resulted in a fumble as he was stripped trying to push forward towards the first down. Walker made a great play with his hands to haul in a contested touchdown to close out the first half though, which saved his day from a fantasy perspective.
San Francisco 49ers
|QB Jimmy Garoppolo, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 31 - 43 - 381 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 1 - -6 - 0 (1 targets)|
After the game, Titans cornerback Brice McCain said of Garoppolo's performance, "He didn't do anything special. He just threw to open guys." And you know what? He's not wrong: Over a quarter of Garoppolo's passing yardage came via receivers running wide open downfield. That said, although he may not have done anything "special," Garoppolo did do most everything in the job description well; certainly better than any 49ers quarterback in recent memory. As per usual, he was adept at hitting receivers in stride across the middle of the field. He also once again proved to be unfazed by the pass rush. If one had to point out a negative aspect of his performance, it would be that he overthrew Marquise Goodwin
on two bombs, threw behind him twice on quick slants, and underthrew him to the point of near-interception on a deep out route.
|RB Carlos Hyde, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 25 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (2 targets)|
Continuing the trend of recent weeks, Hyde was once again a nonfactor in the passing game. And with Tennessee constantly allowing receivers to run wide open with impunity, San Francisco's pass-heavy play-calling rendered Hyde a virtual nonfactor as a runner. He still put on his usual displays of power and elusiveness from time to time, but there was simply no there there: Seven of his 16 carries went for zero or negative yardage, including a 4-yard loss on 2nd-and-goal at the 1-yard line.
|WR Marquise Goodwin, 63 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 10 - 0, Rec: 10 - 114 - 0 (13 targets)|
For the second week in a row, Goodwin had a near-flawless performance. He had a reception on just about every type of route a wide receiver runs. He beat both man and zone coverage. He had several receptions on underthrown passes, one of which he stole out of an intercepting defender's hands. Perhaps most impressive is that Goodwin's gaudy box score stats weren't achieved via what he's most known for: He didn't catch a single deep ball.
Bourne produced the 49ers' longest play of the game, a 54-yard catch and run that set up the first of their two go-ahead drives in the fourth quarter. He ran a slant out of the left slot and was wide open. Jimmy Garoppolo
delivered the pass in stride, thereby allowing Bourne to weave his way for 41 yards after the catch almost completely untouched.
|WR Trent Taylor, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 40 - 0 (5 targets)|
Taylor played his usual high-leverage role: Three of his five targets came on third down, another came inside the red zone, and yet another started off San Francisco's game-winning drive. A sixth target, from Tennessee's 22-yard line was nullified by a dubious offensive pass interference penalty. All of that said, Taylor's yardage total could have been considerably higher had he not turned to run with the ball before securing a wide open catch in the middle of the field with at least 20 yards of open space in front of him.
Based on recent weeks, this may have been the Platonic ideal of a Murphy performance with the 49ers. He started. He played nearly 50 percent of snaps. He wasn't targeted at all despite his quarterback dropping back 46 times.
|TE George Kittle, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 52 - 0 (5 targets)|
Four of Kittle's five targets came on two pairs of consecutive plays. In the second quarter, Kittle caught a 7-yard angle route to set San Francisco up in the red zone. On the next play, he ran a corner route into the back of the end zone, but Tennessee covered it perfectly, so Jimmy Garoppolo
's pass sailed long and out of bounds. Kittle didn't see another target until the fourth quarter, when he once again saw two in a row on the Titans' half of the field. These resulted in two short completions to the outside from a tight slot right presnap alignment. His final target, a 24-yard wide open seam route, jump-started the 49ers' game-winning drive.
|TE Garrett Celek, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 63 - 1 (3 targets)|
Celek made the most out of his three targets. His first got San Francisco back into field goal range on 3rd-and-18. His second target produced their only touchdown of the game. And his third gained 41 yards, which comprised most of the yardage in an early fourth quarter field goal drive. On the latter two big plays, Celek was completely uncovered on his deep corner routes.