The Tennessee Titans have now lost two games in a row after being defeated by the Cincinnati Bengals 31-20 on Sunday.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Titans (5-1) struggling third down defense faces another stiff test Sunday in Cincinnati against the struggling Bengals (1-5-1).
The Titans defense gave up 7 straight third down conversions to start the game in their 27-24 loss to the Steelers last Sunday, they ranked 32nd out of 32 teams in the NFL on 3rd downs failing over 60% of the time and now they face a Bengals offense converting just over 38% of the time with rookie QB Joe Burrow at the helm. This is what they call a “get right game”.
NFL 3rd Down Defense:
- 32. Tennessee Titans – 60.98%31.
- Carolina Panthers – 54.17%30.
- Buffalo Bills – 50.63%
The Titans defense is still without cornerback Adoree Jackson who has been out with a knee injury and now they are also without 2nd round pick Kristian Fulton who just landed on Injured Reserve with a knee injury of his own.
While a lot of eyes are on the Titans secondary facing the Bengals rock solid receiver group of Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and AJ Green even more will be on the Titans pass rush. It is a pass rush that has been non-existent with only 7 sacks in 6 games. The Titans also signed linebackers Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley Jr. and they have combined for 0 sacks in 6 games.
- Titan Sack Leaders:
- Jeffery Simmons – 2 Sacks
- Harold Landry – 1.5 Sacks
- Jack Crawford – 1 Sack
If the Titans can not get to Burrow it is going to be a very long day against the Bengals receiving corps. Tyler Boyd, 48 receptions 517 yards ,and Tee Higgins, 27 receptions 410 yards, have been consistent performers all season and now veteran AJ Green is getting hot. After getting only 6 combined targets against the Jags and Ravens Green has exploded back on to the season 24 targets the last two weeks.
Bengals rookie QB Joe Burrow has been sacked 28 times in seven games and when they have come, they have come in bunches. The Philadelphia Eagles sacked him 8 times in their tie and the Ravens got him 7 more in their blowout of the Bengals. Now the Bengals offensive line is banged up with right tackle Bobby Hart, left tackle Jonah Williams and now center Trey Hopkins all out with injuries.
This matchup was made for Clowney and Beasley to break through with their first sacks of the season.
Offensively, the Titans come in averaging over 31 points per game and they look for another big day against a Bengal defensive giving up 27.7 points a game, over 31 over the last three. So, points should be there for the Titans and quarterback Ryan Tannehill who was credited for hitting his “check downs” by Bengals defensive back Jessie Bates this week in a bit of a backhanded compliment
Those who are looking at Tannehill as a “game manager” simply are not watching what he has done. Not only did he lead the league with 9.6 yards per attempt last season, but he is moving the ball and putting points on the board for the Titans at a prolific pace throwing for over 278 yards per game 15 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Tannehill certainly has not done it himself though. Derrick Henry sets the table leading the league in carries 143 and yards 663 yards this season and the offensive line has protected him, he has only been sacked 7 times in 6 games.
Carl Lawson is the biggest threat to Tannehill in the pass rush department with 3.5 sacks for the season, with Carlos Dunlap sent off to Miami the Titans should have plenty of eyes on Lawson to start this one.
Look for another huge game from Henry against a Bengals team giving up over 133 yards per game and a staggering 4.9 yards per carry.