The 38-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals drastically altered people’s opinions of the Tennessee Titans.
A team in – or just outside – the top 10 of the overwhelming majority of preseason NFL power rankings fell 10 spots or more in some cases following their disastrous Week 1 performance. In a survey of 12 national media outlets, the average drop was nine places.
“We know last week wasn’t our standard,” running back Derrick Henry said Thursday. “We just need to come out here and focus on being better, being locked in on what we have to do, play by play, and each rep. That is all we need to do.
“Guys are hungry to be better and just trying to put it together this week.”
Tennessee’s first chance to convince folks they are better than what they showed is Sunday when they face the Seahawks in Seattle.
A rundown of where the Titans fall in notable NFL power rankings after Week 1 and what each outlet has to say about them:
SI.com: No. 21. Last week: No. 9
A bit of a puzzler in their opener, the Titans were battered by Arizona’s pass rush and showed the one true Achilles heel of their offensive system: It is not the best when trailing by double digits. The Titans were down by 17 points in the second quarter and a lot of their offensive momentum to that point came via the strength of some Derrick Henry-centric gadget plays. That said, Ryan Tannehill did show an ability to piece together a few sound offensive drives in a more conventional looking offense. Their pass rush is still nonexistent.
NFL.com: No. 20. Last week: No. 11
The Titans joined the Packers as the contenders that scared you the most by their Week 1 no-shows, shellacked in their own building by the Cardinals, who dominated on both sides of the ball in a 38-13 blowout. Tennessee, with its vaunted collection of playmakers, didn't manage a first down until well into the second quarter. Midway through the third quarter, Derrick Henry had logged 9 yards on 10 carries. The defense wasn't much better, looking completely lost at sea as Kyler Murray piled up five touchdowns. Five is also the number of sacks surrendered to Chandler Jones, who had Taylor Lewan spilling his feelings on Twitter. Said Mike Vrabel after the massacre: "We'll find out what our culture looks like this week."
The Athletic: No. 20. Las week: No. 10
Six sacks, two fumbles and a pick for Ryan Tannehill as Arizona’s Chandler Jones put up a five-spot on Taylor Lewan, who correctly tweeted that he “got my ass kicked today, no way around that.” Is the Titans defense on Twitter to apologize? Maybe the Packers edge this out for most underwhelming debut by a presumed playoff team, but not by a wide margin.
Yahoo! Sports: No. 18. Last week: No. 9
We knew the defense wouldn't be great. If the offense isn't going to be good, there's a real problem. Tennessee did nothing right on offense. They couldn't block, either protecting Ryan Tannehill or opening holes for Derrick Henry. Their star receivers were mostly non-factors, maybe because Tannehill had Chandler Jones in his lap all day. It was just one game, but it was alarming.
CBS Sports: No. 19. Last week: No. 10
What was that against the Cardinals? They were embarrassed at home. They were bad on both sides of the ball.
ESPN.com: No. 18. Last week: No. 9
Picking a best rookie performance is a tall order considering only one of them played more than just special teams. No. 22 overall pick Caleb Farley only played eight snaps on defense and Molden played 39, so he's the natural selection. But Molden was beaten by Cardinals receiver Christian Kirk for a touchdown on one play. Molden missed an opportunity to make a tackle for a loss on another. The rookie DB finished with two tackles on the day.
The Washington Post: No. 16. Last week: No. 6
Keep reminding yourself: Don’t read too much into Week 1. But the Titans were dreadful Sunday.
USA Today: No. 19. Last week: No. 7
LT Taylor Lewan took the blame for the offensive struggles, but that doesn't explain why the Tennessee defense is still getting beaten like a drum.
Bleacher Report: No. 17. Last week: No. 9
It's important for NFL teams not to overreact to one bad game, especially early in the season.
Still, you can't fault the Tennessee Titans if they are just a little freaked out after getting their heads handed to them by the Arizona Cardinals.
There wasn't much of anything that went well for the Titans in this game.
… It was a miserable performance, but one the Titans need to forget in a hurry. The team's next two games are against teams that made the postseason last year, the Seahawks and the division rival Colts.
Pro Football Network: No. 16. Last week: No. 9
Hopefully, the loss of Arthur Smith wasn’t too much for the Titans to overcome in 2021, but they looked putrid against the Cardinals. They struggled to gain ground running the ball, and Tannehill couldn’t slide away from Chandler Jones all day. Their secondary is a massive work in progress, so if the offense doesn’t find a remedy against the Seahawks, they’ll start the season 0-2 and slide farther down our NFL power rankings.
Sporting News: No. 17. Last week: No. 13
The Titans' new-look defense for Mike Vrabel was a huge disappointment. That's a big concern, because the run-heavy offense with Derrick Henry isn't meant to play from behind in predictable passing situations. That added up to ultimate ugliness against the Cardinals.
Athlon Sports: No. 23. Last week: No. 14
Where art thou Arthur Smith? As rough as the offense looked, it was the defense — the head coach’s specialty mind you — that stunk up the joint in Nashville. On top of all the scheme issues (and general Kyler Murray-ness one has to account for), it’s pretty clear that years of trying to re-tool that side of the ball have put the Titans even further behind the eight-ball in 2021.