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  • Tennessee's rushing attack wore down the Colts and opened things up for the passing game, which led the Titans to a comeback win over the Colts on Monday Night Football.
By Andy Benoit
October 17, 2017

Three thoughts from the Titans' 36-22 win over the Colts on Monday Night Football...

1. This was exactly how the Titans want to play on offense. Their exotic power running game wore down the Colts in the fourth quarter—124 of Tennessee’s 168 rushing yards came after halftime. Because of this, their first-down passing game – including play-action – got going. The highlight, of course, was the 53-yard Taywan Taylor touchdown. It was a three-level stretch route combination (one receiver deep, one receiver at medium depth and one underneath) that out-leveraged Indy’s Cover 4 defensive call. Safety Malik Hooker was put in a tough spot against the speedy Taylor and responded poorly. Marcus Mariota, hindered by a sore hamstring, showed he can play from the pocket – at least against an iffy defense with no quality edge rushers.

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2. It was a textbook performance by Tennessee’s defense, too. After Jacoby Brissett and the Colts marched all over them in the first half, the Titans ratcheted up their trademark amoeba pressure concepts, attacking an unathletic Colts O-line with slot blitzes and D-line stunts. Second-year right guard Le’Raven Clark, making his first start of 2017, had a particularly difficult night. Credit the Titans secondary as well. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau realized about a year ago that his pressure packages—while for the longest time built around zone concepts—are more effective in front of man-to-man coverage. Tennessee’s man coverage mostly shut down Indy’s wide receivers.

3. Jacoby Brissett has a ways to go. Twice now we’ve seen him light it up in the first half on the road in primetime (remember Week 4 at Seattle) only to fall flat in the third and fourth quarters. That’s not atypical of a young QB. In the broader view, Brissett’s future is bright. When he’s playing well, you see the tools of a quality starting quarterback. Brissett is big and strong in the pocket. He must get quicker working his progressions, but he at least keeps his eyes downfield. His arm strength is well above average. Also, he can run. The Colts could get some very valuable draft picks by trading Brissett down the road. 

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