Game balls: Titans 43, Browns 13
You don’t go on the road and win by 30 points without a bevy of standout performances.
That certainly was the case for the Tennessee Titans who opened the 2019 season with a 43-13 romp over the Browns at Cleveland on Sunday. Quarterback Marcus Mariota, tight end Delaine Walker, wide receiver A.J. Brown, cornerback Logan Ryan, linebacker Rashaan Evans, anyone on the makeshift offensive line and many others were impossible to ignore.
Nevertheless, we have to settle on one player per unit to recognize with a game ball. So here we go.
Offense: Derrick Henry, running back. He scored the touchdown that put the Titans ahead to stay on a 1-yard run with 9:39 to play in the second quarter. He then scored the touchdown that effectively put away the Browns when he took a short pass 75 yards on the first play after the Browns had closed to within two (15-13) late in the third quarter. It was the first time in his career Henry scored a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game. He finished with 84 rushing yards on 19 carries and 75 receiving yards on the one catch for a team-high 159 total yards.
Defense: Cameron Wake, outside linebacker. The 37-year-old free agent addition (pictured) registered two and a half sacks in his Tennessee debut. One forced the Browns to punt from deep in their own end during the first quarter. Another was a safety that made it 12-6 in the final minutes of the first half. He finished with a team-high four hits on the quarterback (the rest of the defense had three combined) and three tackles, and with two sacks he became the 33rd player in NFL history with at least 100 in his career.
Special teams: Cairo Santos, kicker. He did not have to make any pressure-packed kicks but he was a perfect 5-for-5 on PATs and made two field goals on as many attempts, including one from 53 yards, which tied his career-long. The last time he converted from 53 yards was in 2016 with Kansas City. For a guy who was signed off the street on Wednesday to fill in for the injured Ryan Succop, it was the type of performance that will inspire a lot of confidence in his coaches and teammates going forward.