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Week 1 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 43, Cleveland Browns 13
What you need to know
The Titans offense rolled this week thanks in large part to the strong play of their defense and a spectacular showing from Derrick Henry
, who finished with 159 total yards and two touchdowns. Marcus Mariota
started slow but finished strong as he passed for a touchdown on three consecutive pass attempts during the second half. One of those touchdowns was a 75-yard screen to Derrick Henry
, while the other two went to Delanie Walker
in the red zone. Corey Davis
, on the other hand, finished with just three targets and no receptions as he was well-covered all day.
The Browns thrilled the home crowd with an opening-drive touchdown but it was all downhill from there. The team was sloppy, committing a whopping 18 penalties in the loss. Even more concerning was the offensive line's inability to protect Baker Mayfield
. Not surprisingly, Mayfield got time to operate on the opening drive but after that the Titans starting hitting him too frequently. He wound up taking five sacks, including one that went for a safety in the end zone. The constant pressure clearly affected Mayfield as he made some uncharacteristic poor throws. Of course, it didn't help that starting left tackle Greg Robinson
was ejected in the second quarter for kicking a Tennessee defender. This team will need to find a way to improve the offensive line in a hurry if they are to meet the lofty expectations placed upon them in the offseason.
|QB Marcus Mariota, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 24 - 248 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 24 - 0|
had a great game on paper, but overall, he struggled to make the difficult throws for most of this contest as his stat line was padded by excellent after-the-catch play from his receivers. He was inaccurate throughout the first half, including overthrowing A.J. Brown
in the end zone midway through the second quarter and missing Corey Davis
on all three of his targets. Mariota did connect with A.J. Brown
on a couple of occasions for deep balls of 47 and 51 yards. The first came off play-action on the first drive of the game as Mariota lofted the ball deep to a wide-open Brown who fought his way for a few extra yards. The second also came off play action, but Mariota threw it just 12 yards before Brown took it downfield for the 51-yard gain. Neither of the Brown catches would be Mariota’s longest pass of the game though, as Derrick Henry
took a simple screen pass 75 yards to the house for a touchdown to mark Mariota’s first touchdown pass of the season. The next drive to start the fourth quarter led to Mariota flashing his speed as he tucked it on third-and-four to not only convert but pick up 13 yards as he sprinted down the left sideline. Mariota would follow up on the very next play with a strike to Delanie Walker
for the 11-yard touchdown. The throw was a little high, but he led Walker perfectly in stride with a defender on his heels. The next drive would start in the red zone based on a Baker Mayfield
interception, and Mariota would find Walker yet again on his very next throw for an easy touchdown from seven yards out.
|RB Derrick Henry, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 84 - 1, Rec: 1 - 75 - 1 (2 targets)|
was not finding much room to run early in this game, but he did make it count early in the red zone as Henry saw a couple of goal-line carries--one of which he punched in from the 1-yard line for the Titans’ first touchdown of the season. On the first play of their next possession, Henry made a great read bouncing a run to the right side as he sprinted to an 18-yard gain. He followed that up with another good run a few plays later as he followed his blockers for a gain of eight yards. Overall, Henry would finish with 19 carries for 84 rushing yards as he saw ample opportunities to grind out tough yards on the ground later in the game. Where Henry flashed this week, however, was through the air as he owned the longest play of this game--a 75-yard screen pass that he took to the house for a touchdown late in the third quarter. The play was set up and blocked very well, but it was Henry who showed his acceleration and speed to sprint downfield as he outran the Browns defense.
|RB Dion Lewis, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 7 - 0, Rec: 3 - 6 - 0 (4 targets)|
had a rough day as he managed only 13 total yards on six touches. He was not a factor on the ground with Derrick Henry
carrying 19 times to just three for Lewis. His day through the air did not get off to a great start either as Lewis dropped an easy screen pass on third down, leading to a failed conversion and field goal on the opening drive. Most of his targets came either on designed screens or as the final read as a check down. His only truly positive play came as the last read on third-and-long where Lewis hauled in the short pass for seven yards but failed to convert for the first down.
|WR A.J. Brown, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 100 - 0 (4 targets)|
’s official NFL career started with a bang with a few huge plays in his first NFL regular season game. The first came very early as he hauled in 47-yard reception on the opening drive-. Brown found space in coverage as he was wide open for the catch. He then kepd pushing downfield with a defender around his waist until he shed the tackler and gained a few more yards. Later in the first half, Brown could have had a decent chance at a touchdown reception had Mariota not dramatically overthrown his target. Brown would come back on the first play of the second half with another huge play. He caught the ball in stride about 12 yards downfield before striding across the field, shedding 1 tackler, and making two more defenders miss as he turned it upfield to complete what would be a 51-yard gain. Overall, Brown would finish with 100 receiving yards from three receptiosn in his NFL debut.
Officially, Adam Humphries
was limited to just one reception on one target for five yards. He actually was targeted on a third-and-long near the start of the second quarter and would have hauled it for around a 15-yard gain in if not for a defensive holding penalty.
was invisible on the stat sheet as he finished with no receptions from three targets. He struggled to get open throughout the game, and even when he was open, Mariota was not accurate enough to get him the ball.
received the first pass of the season for the Titans, which he did haul in for 11 yards before the play was negated by a penalty. Two possessions later, he dropped his next target. This was likely for the best as he would have been tackled for a loss. Walker had no problem with his next target though, making a 16-yard reception streaking over the middle of the field. Walker’s third catch of the game came during a two-minute drill to close out the second half as he hauled in a first-down pass for 11 yards. The second half was much more efficient for Walker, as both of his targets resulted in touchdowns. The first touchdown, near the start of the fourth quarter, came from 11 yards out as Walker did a great job getting off coverage at the line of scrimmage and hauling in a relatively high throw with a defender on his heels. Walker would find the end zone for the second time on the next drive from seven yards out as he simply leaked to the right side of the field from a pick play to be wide open and easily stride into the end zone. This was Walker’s first multi-touchdown game since the 2015 season.
|QB Baker Mayfield, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 38 - 285 - 1 TD / 3 INT|
Mayfield was sharp on the opening drive, completing 4-of-5 passes and leading his team to a Dontrell Hilliard
rushing touchdown. That was also basically the only drive where the offensive line gave him adequate protection. Tennessee starting getting to him on the second drive and threw off the entire offense for the remainder of the game. The first drive was almost a bust, actually, as he almost threw an interception on his first pass attempt which was tipped. His 35-yard pass to Rashard Higgins
got the team down to the Tennessee four-yard line and was a perfectly placed laser of a throw. Mayfield took a safety in the second quarter when he was hit from behind by Cameron Wake. Wake took a very wide route to the quarterback and ended up hitting him from behind. Mayfield never knew he was coming, although he did hold onto the ball for too long, which gave Wake the time he needed to get to the QB. His lone touchdown pass came in the third quarter. He dropped a perfect 34-yard pass to Jarvis Landry
and then hit David Njoku
on a three-yard pass in the middle of the end zone for the score. Things got ugly after that as he threw three interceptions across the end of the third and entire fourth quarters. His first interception was a pass forced into triple coverage which was easily picked off. He then had a short pass to Landry jumped by the defender for his second interception. His final interception was a pick-six to Malcolm Butler on a high pass that sailed on him. Mayfield is much better than he played in Week 1 but the Browns have to make some improvements to their offensive line play.
|RB Nick Chubb, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 75 - 0, Rec: 3 - 10 - 0 (4 targets)|
Chubb had a solid game although the game script got out of hand as the Titans started to pull away in the fourth quarter. Chubb displayed a nice cutback on his first run, which went for 10 yards. He wound up getting vultured by backup running back Dontrell Hilliard
at the end of the team's touchdown drive on the opening possession. Chubb's longest run was a burst up the middle in the third quarter which went for 15 yards. He had a pretty play on a seven-yard catch in the third quarter where he evaded a tackle and then spun his way forward for extra yardage. Chubb saw decent usage in the passing game, hauling in 3-of-4 targets. He could have caught the fourth target but wound up tipping it in the air on what was almost an interception.
|RB Dontrell Hilliard, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 1, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (2 targets)|
Hilliard got off to a good start, scoring a four-yard touchdown on the team's opening drive. The pass-catching specialist also wound up with a 14-yard catch toward the end of the second quarter. Unfortunately, Hilliard suffered a concussion in the third quarter and was placed in the league's concussion protocol. If healthy, it appears he is earmarked for a decent role behind starter Nick Chubb
|WR Odell Beckham, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 71 - 0 (11 targets)|
It was a tale of two halves for Beckham, who caught all but one of his passes in the first half of the contest. The Titans managed to find a way to limit him to just a 12-yard grab in the second half. His first catch as a Brown was a 16-yard gain where he showed his electric run after the catch ability to tack on some additional YAC. His next catch was a 12-yarder which was negated by an unnecessary roughness penalty. He went on to rack up an eight-yard and four-yard catch on the two ensuing first-quarter drives. He opened the second quarter with a 24-yard grab and then had another reception, this time an 18-yarder, negated by penalty. His only catch in the second half was a 12-yard reception in the third quarter. He came close to pulling in a decent gain in the fourth quarter but couldn't quite hang onto the ball along the left sideline. For what it is worth, Beckham looked just as explosive as usual, putting to rest any concerns over the training camp hip injury that held him out of all four preseason contests.
|WR Jarvis Landry, 73 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 10 - 0, Rec: 4 - 67 - 0 (7 targets)|
Landry took a backseat to former LSU teammate Odell Beckham
in the game but he still operated as the No. 2 option in the passing attack. His first touch was a 10-yard rush to the left. Baker Mayfield
took a deep shot to Landry down the right sideline but Landry just couldn't bring the ball in for the reception. His two best plays of the afternoon came in the third quarter and led to the Browns' second touchdown. First, he caught a 23-yard pass on 3rd-and-16 to keep the drive from stalling out. Then he hauled in a 34-yard catch down the middle and brought it all the way down to the Tennessee three-yard line.
Higgins had a big role on the game-opening touchdown drive and then wasn't heard from again. The receiver pulled in an 11-yard reception on the second play of the game and then caught a 35-yard pass from Baker Mayfield
that brought the Browns down to the Tennessee four-yard line. After the first drive, Mayfield only looked his way once more in what wound up being an incomplete pass. He missed time with an ankle injury.
|TE David Njoku, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 37 - 1 (6 targets)|
Njoku wound up catching Baker Mayfield
's only touchdown in the loss. His first target of the game was a catchable one down the middle of the field but Njoku let the ball go through his hands. On the third drive of the game, Njoku ripped off an 18-yard gain. In the second quarter Njoku failed to bring in another catchable ball, this time on a 3rd-and-13. The Browns needed that pass to earn a new set of downs but Njoku couldn't bring in the contested catch. His touchdown was a three-yard pass right near the middle of the goal line. He got inside position on the defender and used his large frame to box out the defender on the catch. His final catch was a nine-yarder in the fourth quarter. As the only starting pass-catcher taller than 6'1î, Njoku remains the preferred red zone threat for the Browns