The Tennessee Titans boasted the league’s most unheralded and underrated defense the first two months of the season, but their prowess was overshadowed by losing and anemic play from the other side of the ball.
The defense was the glue that held the team together early in the season while their injured and inconsistent offensive counterparts tried to find its footing.
Case in point, the Titans defeated Houston and Jacksonville back to back weeks while scoring one offensive touchdown.
Then everything changed six days ago in Dallas, Texas.
Tennessee put on a masterful defensive performance under the bright lights of Monday Night Football, and a national audience watched the unit catapult themselves to the top spot in scoring defense…the most important of all statistical categories.
For people claiming the stats to be skewed. or worse yet, a fluke, they looked no further than today’s match up against Tom Brady and the vaunted New England Patriots offense.
An offense that was 5th in the league in scoring heading into the contest…averaging a whopping 30 points a game.
Tennessee’s defense not only successfully defended their title, but they left no doubt they are for real after dominating Brady and company 34-10 today at Nissan Stadium.
Brady was held without a touchdown and was under duress the entire afternoon. He completed less than 50% of his passes and was sacked three times.
There were numerous incompletions caused by Tennessee’s ability to get in his face, and the usually unflappable Brady looked nervous in the pocket….seemingly hearing footsteps even when they weren’t there.
Aside from one big play early in the first quarter, the secondary played a phenomenal game. Julian Edelman, Brady’s most trusted outlet, didn’t finish the contest after taking a pounding.
While Edelman had 9 catches for 104 yards, he paid for every catch from Tennessee’s physical group of corners and safeties.
Tennessee’s physicality on defense caused the Patriots to do something rarely seen during their 18 year dynasty…..waive the white flag.
Brady was pulled midway through the fourth quarter. With no rushing attack (19 carries, 40 yards, 2.1 per carry) and a huge deficit, he was simply bleeding meat in shark-infested water.
Not only did Tennessee’s defense prove their worthiness as the league’s stingiest, they bested their league-low 17.1 average today against a prolific offensive juggernaut.
The national audience may soon forget the Titans defense again, but Tom Brady certainly will not….