What we learned: Titans thrive with deep passes vs. Browns

Here are three things we learned from the Browns vs. Titans game in Week 6:

  1. The Browns focused heavily on stopping DeMarco Murray, and you can't blame them. But as they stacked the box, their already-thin secondary was repeatedly exposed. Kendall Wright and Rishard Matthews made one great grab after another, with the former tallying eight catches for 133 yards and one touchdown. Mariota had his best passing day of the season, completing 17 of 24 passes for 284 yards for three touchdowns and an interception. For the first time all season, Tennessee won a game on big plays through the air. Hope for the Mariota/Mike Mularkey marriage (alliteration!) isn't dead.
  1. It's remarkable that Cody Kessler is able to stand after these games. The rookie quarterback was again battered and relentlessly pounded by Titans rushers. Led by Jurrell Casey, six different Titans sacked Kessler and laid many more licks on the passer. Clips went around Twitter during the game of center Cameron Erving blatantly missing blocks, only souring the opinion further on the second-year lineman whose struggles are magnified thanks to more injuries on the Browns' line.
  1. There was a bright side for the Browns defensively. Former first-round pick Danny Shelton, who hasn't made a noticeable impact in a season and a half (nose tackle isn't a glamorous position), had his best game of his career. The block-eating defender was there to stop Murray on runs of three yards or fewer three times in the first half, and recorded his first career sack, powering past center Ben Jones to drop Mariota for a loss of 10. Cleveland's emphasis on stopping the run helped Shelton shine, but the focus on Murray also opened up massive running lanes for Mariota on the read option, resulting a 64-yard day for him.

-- Nick Shook

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