For the majority of the season the talk surrounding the Tennessee Titans’ offense has been…let’s face it….bad. And it’s not like the unit has been judged unfairly in comparison to their NFL counterparts.
Tennessee enters week 15 of the season ranked 27th in points scored per game (19.3), and 28th in yards per game (319.1).
While the numbers reflect the inconsistencies we see with our own eyes, it’s worth mentioning that the offense has had its moments. Three offensive players have had career days this season, and the stars are aligning for one to have a new career day this season….
Maybe even as early as this Sunday in MetLife Stadium.
Receiver Corey Davis had himself a day against the Philadelphia Eagles early this season, hauling in 9 catches for 161 yards – both career highs. His lone touchdown was the walk-off game winner in overtime.
Eight days ago running back Derrick Henry ran for a career-high and franchise best 238 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars. His 4 touchdowns tied a franchise record, and if not for Henry taking himself out of the game late in the fourth quarter then he could have stood alone in the record books with 5.
But I digress.
Because Henry’s performance was in front of a national audience, you would have to be an alien visiting from Mars today to not have seen, read, or heard about his remarkable feat…which included an NFL record-tying 99 yard touchdown run.
Which brings us to the next in line for a new career day…receiver Taywan Taylor.
If the casual fan has seen Henry’s run ad nauseam, then you know this week’s opponent, the New York Giants, have played and replayed that performance all week. And they will have a game plan centered around stopping the mammoth Bama back.
That should leave Tennessee’s receivers with their fair share of one on one coverage, which plays right into the strengths of the speedy receiver….who has emerged as the Titans’ big-play threat since returning from a foot injury a few weeks ago.
Taylor has already set a career high in receiving yards in his first game back in action on December 2nd, lighting up the Jets’ secondary with 104 receiving yards on just 3 catches….averaging a whopping 34.5 yards per catch. It could have been more if not for an errant throw by Marcus Mariota when Taylor ran past the entire secondary.
While being drafted for his ability to stretch the field, Taylor is evolving into a complete receiver…worthy of Mariota’s trust wherever he is on the field.
Last week against Jacksonville, Taylor had no splash plays a la Tyreek Hill, but he ran precise routs and led the team in targets (7) and receptions (6) while working the intermediate routs.
And with the Giants playing well and scoring in bunches lately, Tennessee may have to lean on Taylor’s complete array of rout weaponry to keep pace with Davis garnering most of the attention on the other side of the formation.
New York is 5-8, but has won 4 of their last five while averaging 32 points per game. Their rookie phenom, running back Saquan Barkley, has not been stopped in the run or passing game….by anyone so far this season.
Translation: with the unlikelihood of Henry besting his 238 yard performance a week ago, it will be incumbent on Mariota and the passing game to do their fair share of the heavy lifting this week.
Which could very well lead to a second career day by Taylor in the month of December.