The Tennessee Titans did what they’ve always done the last few seasons: beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Nashville. Tennessee is a perfect 3-0 against Jacksonville at home over the last three seasons even though they’re a dismal 1-17 against other opponents at home in that same span. But Tennessee had their way against Jacksonville on Thursday night, blowing out the Jaguars 36-22 in a game that wasn’t anywhere close to how close the final score indicated.
Tennessee had it clicking in all aspects on Thursday. Their offense totaled 494 yards and had a near even split of 214 rushing yards and 280 passing yards. Marcus Mariota had just four incompletions in 22 attempts and didn’t turn the ball over while tossing two scores. He also wasn’t sacked a single time. Running back DeMarco Murray tallied his fourth 100-yard rushing game, his third in four games, and Kendall Wright had his second solid performance in his last three games.
But the Titans have been inconsistent all season. It’s time they harness this momentum and make a push in the month of November.
The Titans haven’t had a .500 record or better heading into November since 2011 when they were 4-3 after the first two months of the season. By that measure alone, the Titans are an improved team over what they’ve been the last couple seasons when they went a combined 5-27. But they’ve been far from a good team this season, displaying remarkable inconsistency week in and week out.
So far this year, the only time the Titans looked consistent from one week to the next was when they had their lone winning streak during the season. The Titans looked efficient on offense and contained both Miami and Cleveland on defense in both those games. Then their defense fell apart against Indianapolis the following week despite another solid effort by their offense.
If the Titans want to remain competitive in the weak AFC South, they must continue to play with the confidence and fervor they did on Thursday.
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and that’s never more apparent than with the Titans. As Mariota has gone this season, so have the Titans. Over his last four games, Mariota has completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 949 yards, 10 touchdowns, and one interception. In that span, the Titans have won three of their four games. This after Mariota had just a 58.8 completion percentage and more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4) in Tennessee’s first four games. The Titans were 1-3 in that stretch.
As long as Mariota can stay upright and is allowed to remain fluid in the offense, the Titans shouldn’t have many issues remaining dangerous on offense. Murray has proven to be back to his old form, and Derrick Henry is more than capable as a backup running back. Tennessee’s receiving corps is better than they appeared to start the season, and the offensive line has gelled and is no longer porous like they were last year.
And if the offense can dominate the time of possession like they have over the last month, their defense will remain fresher and more capable as well.
The Titans have games against San Diego, Green Bay, Indianapolis, and Chicago upcoming. There’s no reason, given how efficient they’ve played over the last month, that the Titans can’t win three of those four games and be in the middle of the AFC South race heading into December.
Consistency has been the biggest issue for the Titans this season. If they can ride this momentum and find some rhythm, they could put together a solid season after all.