The Tennessee Titans heard the whispers all week. After one week they were surpassed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as the most physical team in the AFC South.
The Jags, using the smash mouth model that made Tennessee so successful last season, dominated Houston last week…and were favorites to do the same today to a Titans team that fell short against Oakland last Sunday.
Tennessee answered their critics with a resounding 37-16 win over Jacksonville in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score.
And they did it their way…with exotic smash mouth football.
The Titans scored 30 unanswered points behind a stout defense and solid run game…spearheaded by Derrick Henry’s dominant second half performance.
Henry averaged almost seven yards per carry today en route to a team-leading 92 yards and a touchdown. As a team the Titans ran it 36 times for 179 yards and 3 scores on the ground, averaging five yards per carry.
Fullback Jalston Fowler and tight end Delanie Walker also chipped in with rushing tds.
On defense the Titans held rookie sensation Leonard Fournette to just 40 yards rushing and less than three yards per carry. His lone touchdown came in garbage time when the game had long-since been decided.
A far cry from his dominant performance against Houston last week.
In fact, Fournette accounted for 100 yards rushing against the Texans, but Jacksonville was held to under 100 yards rushing as a team today on 25 carries.
With the run game taken away the Titans’ defense set their sights on Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, picking him off twice and recovering his sack-fumble on three consecutive drives.
The second half was dominated by Tennessee as Henry bludgeoned a tired and weary Jags defense into submission with a steady diet of the run game.
As a result, Marcus Mariota was able to pick and choose his spots in the passing game, finding several wide open receivers to keep the chains moving.
Tennessee’s 31 second half points were their most since moving to Nashville and re-naming themselves the Titans.
And speaking of name changes, Jacksonville re-named themselves Sacksonville after registering 10 sacks last week…but was unable to pressure Mariota on a consistent basis.
Tennessee allowed just one sack on the day.
No only did the Titans re-establish themselves as the favorite to win the division, but they also reminded Jacksonville who was the unquestioned king of exotic smash mouth football.