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Week 12 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 17, Houston Texans 34
What you need to know
The Titans offense could not find a rhythm in this one despite the spectacular play from Marcus Mariota
, who threw 19 straight completions before finally missing his only pass with 1:06 remaining in the game. Poor offensive line play led to a rough day on the ground for the Titans running backs along with six sacks of Marcus Mariota
. Dion Lewis
led the team in targets, but it was Corey Davis
who busted a long touchdown reception and led the team with 96 receiving yards. Jonnu Smith
had a long touchdown of his own--61 yards--marking the third time he has scored in the past four games. Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler left the game early with a concussion and did not return.
Once again, WR Keke Coutee
’s game was cut short due to a hamstring issue. The Texans continue to not take chances with Coulee on the field once he starts having issues again. He only caught 2 passes for 14 yards.
WR DeAndre Carter
filled in for Coutee at the slot wide receiver. He had 1 reception for 14 yards and if Coutee misses time, expect Carter to get increased snaps at wide receiver.
|QB Marcus Mariota, 55 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 23 - 303 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 28 - 0|
put together one of the best performances of his career in the loss to Houston Monday night. He was perfect through the air without a single incompletion until 1:06 remaining in the game when a pass intended for Derrick Henry
fell incomplete. Mariota relied heavily on short passes throughout this game, but he did take some deep shots sprinkled to Corey Davis
throughout the game. One of those short passes for Mariota turned into his longest pass play of the game as Jonnu Smith
hauled in a reception just three yards from the line of scrimmage but proceeded top rumble his way to a 61-yard touchdown on the second drive of the game. Mariota’s second touchdown came just before the third quarter expired as he heaved the ball about 31-yards downfield to connect with Corey Davis
, who took it the rest of the way for a 48-yard touchdown. The ball was very slightly underthrown, but Davis managed to make the play along with a great move after the catch to find the end zone. Mariota was spectacular at extending plays and using his legs, as shown by his 28 rushing yards, but he also was guilty of holding on to the ball a little too long at times. Because of this drive to make a play along with very poor blocking, Mariota ended up getting sacked six times for 43 negative yards, which marks great day through the air did not come without mistakes though, as he did take 6 sacks due in part to his indecisiveness in the pocket, combined with poor offensive line play against the stout Texans pass rush. This marks the fourth time in the last six games that Mariota has been sacked four or more times.
|RB Dion Lewis, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 8 - 0, Rec: 7 - 33 - 0 (7 targets)|
had a dreadful outing on the ground as he managed to run for just eight yards on seven rushing attempts. His indecisive running style is what did Lewis in here, as he tried to shuffle and make something out of nothing far too often, resulting in four busted plays of no gain or negative yardage in the first half alone. Lewis did make a few nice plays through the air as he led the team in targets and receptions, hauling in all seven of them for 33 yards. His most notable catch may have been on the Titans’ drive to start the second quarter where Lewis just barely could not push his way across the first down marker on third down, which inevitably set up the Titans’ failed fourth down conversion attempt that turned the tide of this game.
|RB Derrick Henry, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 30 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (3 targets)|
was not impressive in this one despite earning more carries than Dion Lewis
for the first time since Week 6. Henry did have two nice downhill runs in the first half for decent gains of eight and seven yards, while he also fielded a few more direct snaps as the Titans continue to employ that package from time to time. Most of Henry’s work came in the second half as he was featured heavily to kick off the half, including three rushes and a well-blocked screen pass that Henry took for eight yards. Henry would end up being the target of Mariota’s only incompletion of the night, while he finished off the evening with an 11-yard reception that ended in Henry coughing up a fumble to end any hopes of another Titans score.
|WR Corey Davis, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 39 - 0, Rec: 4 - 96 - 1 (4 targets)|
got started with a nice route to the sideline for a 19-yard catch on the first drive of the game. He then drew a defensive pass interference call 33-yards downfield on the very next play. Davis would contribute on the ground in a big way here with a 39-yard rush coming from an end around fed his way by way of Derrick Henry
, who took the direct snap. It was an innovative play call that took the Texans secondary by surprise as Davis easily accelerated past the chasing defensive linemen before finally running into a couple defenders. With this play, Davis actually finished as the leading rusher for the Titans. It was not his longest play of the evening though, as Davis ran a spec spectacular double move, cutting out and up before hauling in a big 48-yard touchdown reception at the end of the third quarter. The ball was very slightly underthrown, but Davis slowed down to make the catch before cutting back inside to split the defenders on his way to the end zone.
Rookie tight end Anthony Firkser
has been inconsistently involved in the Titans offense this season, but he has now seen some consistent utilization in the past two games. Firkser finished with a career-high four receptions for 52 yards this week--which was a nice follow-up to his 3-44 outing in Week 11. Nearly all of Firkser’s production came in garbage time in this week’s game though, as three of his receptions for 45 of his total 52 yards all came with less than two minutes to go in the game.
|TE Jonnu Smith, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 63 - 1 (2 targets)|
hauled in both of his targets, with one of those being the longest play of the night for the Titans. On the Titans’ second drive of the game, Smith nabbed a routine short pass just three yards from the line of scrimmage, but he then proceeded to show spectacular acceleration for a player of his size to sprint down the middle of the field nearly 50 yards before he was even touched. Smith ran right through the attempted arm tackle of a Texans defensive back as his momentum carried him right into the end zone for an impressive 61-yard touchdown that came 100% from the effort of Smith.
|QB Deshaun Watson, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 24 - 210 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 9 - 70 - 1|
The pass attempts may not be there but Deshaun Watson
is maximizing his opportunities. Throwing for 210 yards and two touchdowns, Watson also chipped in a designed run for 15 yards and a score. Watson continues to get comfortable with his new receiver in Demaryius Thomas
and turned to him in the redone hitting him twice for touchdowns. Watson his Thomas four times during the game and it shows a quarterback trusting his newest receiver more each week. Once again, Watson continues to lean on DeAndre Hopkins
for big plays and his best throw of the night came on a 28-yard strike against Cover-2 where he hit him in the hole between two defenders. Watson’s only incompletion on a pass more than 10-yards came on a deep ball targeted for Hopkins in the end zone but couldn’t connect. IT was one of the more active games for Watson with his legs rushing for 70 yards and his longest run in sometime with a 34-yard simperer that almost resulted in a fumble but replay review showed his elbow hitting before the ball popping out. Watson continues to be efficient as a quarterback, he hit 9 different receivers during the game.
|RB Alfred Blue, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 49 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets)|
The Texans continue to preserve Lamar Miller
and Alfred Blue
is getting comparable carries during the game. 13 carries for 49 yards but most of that work came in the second half when the Titans started selling out to stop the run. Blue’s longest rush was 9 yards and he did have one reception for 13-yards. The big thing with Blue is his continued carries he is getting to spell Miller.
|RB Lamar Miller, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 162 - 1, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)|
Talk about a resurgence for the veteran running back, Lamar Miller
rushed for 162 yards and with just 6 carries in the first half, it saw him rush for 21, 12 and 11 yards on three carries to open up the game. His biggest run came from the Texans own 2-yard line where he broke one tackle on a power play then outran every Titan defender to the end zone to cap off a 97-yard touchdown run. Miller’s 13.5 yards per carry were eye opening especially with the amount of yards he was ripping off. It continues to be a solid second half of the season for Miller.
The savvy receiver eclipsed the 1,000 yard barrier on Monday night with his 74 yard performance. Hopkins continues to be the receiver that Watson turns to in key situations. Watson hit Hopkins for a 28 pin point throw in between two defenders to keep a drive alive that resulted in a field goal. Hopkins also had a big catch on 4th and 1 beating simple press coverage on a nice out route. Hopkins continues to do work as a receiver and making plays through the air.
Bill O’Brien made it clear that the Texans needed to get Demaryius Thomas
more involved in the offense and they did just that, especially in the redone. Thomas caught two touchdowns for the first time since 2014 and he also had 38 yards. He was a key target to get first downs but his work against Adoree Jackson for his touchdowns saw Thomas toe-tap right before going out of bound on two well thrown ball for only Thomas to pluck out of the air.
|WR Keke Coutee, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (2 targets)|
Coutee left the game with another hamstring injury after two short receptions. He has a chance to play next week, but will be very risky upon return no matter when it happens.