The Tennessee Titans’ secondary came into the season as the team’s biggest question mark. After twelve games the unit has become the team’s biggest and most pleasant surprise.
The Titans have four new starters in the secondary this year. Two are first-year free agents and one is a rookie. Not only have they gelled faster than predicted, but they have held firm (for the most part) while the inconsistent offense tries to find it’s rhythm.
The young secondary has been especially challenged the last month, facing some of the league’s best receivers. And Sunday will certainly be no different.
Four weeks ago the Titans faced Cincinnati’s A.J. Green. While the final box score showed that he hauled in 5 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown, 70 yards of that came on one play late in the fourth quarter.
Green was held in check for three and a half quarters, notching just 4 catches for 45 yards. The Titans won that game.
Three weeks ago the Titans were torched by Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, who ran wild through the secondary for three touchdowns. But that’s AB, and he literally does that to just about everyone. the Titans, of course, lost that one.
Two weeks ago the secondary bounced back with a strong showing against the Colts’ T.Y. Hilton, who has made a living feasting off the Titans since entering the league.
Hilton was held to a paltry 2 catches for 15 yards in a closely contested four point victory for Tennessee. A game that could have easily swung in Indy’s favor with one big play from their big play maker.
Last week the Titans faced another tough challenge in Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins, one of the best and most physical receivers in the league.
The Titans kept Hopkins out of the end zone and held him to less than 100 yards receiving in yet another closely contested affair where he is usually the difference maker. The Titans won that game also.
Thanks in large part to the secondary’s bend but don’t break mentality, the Titans went 3-1 over that stretch. Not only did they limit three of the best receivers in the league, but they countered with their own timely big plays.
And before they can rest on their laurels and enjoy their success, future Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald awaits in just a few days.
Fitzgerald has owned opposing defenses his entire career, and holding him in check (as daunting as that sounds) will go a long way in Tennessee capturing their ninth victory of the season.
This will be one of the fun matchups to watch Sunday, and it will take a team effort from the entire unit to corral the seemingly unstoppable Fitzgerald.
Good news for Titans fans, they’ve heard that a lot over the last month and the secondary has answered the bell far more often than not.