Around the NFL  

 

Titans cruise to victory as Henry unseats Murray at RB

Print

The Tennessee Titans scored on five consecutive drives to open the second half, pulling away from the Jacksonville Jaguars and cruising to a 37-16 victory. The two teams are tied atop the AFC South with twin 1-1 records. Here's what we learned:

1. Switching from a two-tight end to a three-wide receiver attack, the Titans seemed to lose their identity behind a tentative and sluggish DeMarco Murray in the first six quarters of the season. Upon turning to second-year power back Derrick Henry in the final two quarters Sunday, the offense finally clicked. Blowing the game open with a tackle-breaking 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, Henry finished with 92 yards -- and an unofficial changing of the guard in the backfield. After fading down the 2016 stretch run and battling a hamstring injury in preseason action, Murray has lacked the agility and explosiveness he showed upon breaking out of the gates last September and October. Henry is the better player right now, and the Titans seem to realize it.

2. The Jaguars desperately want to pound opponents into submission with a talented young defense and the piston-churning rushing tandem of rookie Leonard Fournette and veteran Chris Ivory. It's a formula with the potential to propel Jacksonville out of the AFC South basement and into the driver's seat had the team's braintrust bothered to install a backup plan at the sports' most important position. In contrast to the season opening victory in Houston, the Jaguars ran headlong into the ugly reality that they cannot hide Blake Bortles if they don't jump out to a comfortable lead. Don't let Bortles' typical garbage-time production fool you; he was just 5-of-12 for 41 yards, a pair of interceptions and a 16.3 passer rating at halftime.

3. Carrying the weight of a dysfunctional passing game, the back of Jacksonville's defense broke in the third and early-fourth quarters. That said, it's fair to point out the disappearing pass rush. After generating a staggering 10 sacks versus a slow-motion Tom Savage and inexperienced Deshaun Watson last week, the Jaguars managed just one takedown and two quarterback hits against the more elusive Marcus Mariota, operating behind a stout offensive line.

4. Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey won the battle of the last two No. 5 overall draft picks, holding rookie wideout Corey Davis to four yards on one reception in the first half. Davis exited with hamstring injury in the second half as the Titans leaned on the ground attack and the tight-end duo of Delanie Walker and Johnnu Smith. Davis' status is a concern for next week's bout with the Seahawks, as he missed the bulk of August with a hamstring issue.

5. The Jaguars sorely missed deep threat Allen Robinson, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 1. Marqise Lee assumed No. 1 receiver duties with 12 targets, but dropped a third-down pass when the score was tight early in the game. Bortles' second interception, thrown behind Lee, bounced off the receiver's fingers and into the hands of Titans safety Da'Norris Searcy. The majority of the 158 yards generated by Lee and Allen Hurns came after the contest was decided.

Print

Fan Discussion