3 Takeaways from Titans' Week 6 Win

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2021

3 Takeaways from Titans' Week 6 Win

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    The Tennessee Titans made one of the statements of Week 6 with their Monday night win over the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo had been rolling since their Week 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and had often looked like an unstoppable force.

    As Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith pointed out, Buffalo's average margin of victory during the four-game winning streak (28.8 points) was the largest during such a streak since 1953.

    However, the Titans had their own unstoppable force in Derrick Henry on Monday. He rushed for three touchdowns and along with a couple of key defensive plays and one big fourth-down stop, helped show that Tennessee belongs among the AFC's top contenders.

    The Titans showed that when they're clicking, they can beat anyone. Here's what else we learned from Monday's thrilling 34-31 win.

This Is Still Derrick Henry's Offense

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Monday's game provided a stark reminder of just how special Henry can be. There was never really any doubt that he would remain the centerpiece of Tennessee's offense, but the offseason trade for Julio Jones and the continued emergence of A.J. Brown gives the Titans options.

    "I mean, defenses, you're really going to have to pick your poison," Jones said in the offseason, per NFL.com's Kevin Patra.

    After dealing with injuries early in the year, Brown and Jones were both healthy on Monday, and both played well. Jones caught three passes for 59 yards, while Brown had seven for 91. In arguably the biggest game of Tennessee's young season, though, it was Henry who led the charge.

    The two-time rushing champ rumbled for 143 yards on 20 carries, scored on a 76-yard scamper and found the end zone three times. He did it against the league's seventh-ranked run defense.

    "We continue to jump on Derrick’s back,” coach Mike Vrabel said, per Gentry Estes of the Tennessean. “And he’s willing and able to carry us."

    Even with players like Brown and Jones on the roster, the Titans will continue riding Henry for as long as his legs will carry them.

That Loss to the Jets Was an Aberration

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    The Titans looked like contenders on Monday night. A couple of times this season, though, they haven't. Tennessee got blown out 38-13 by the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1—a loss that doesn't look quite as bad in retrospect.

    Week 1 games can be fluky, and we now know that Arizona, which remains undefeated, is a powerhouse. The Cardinals have also humbled playoff-caliber teams in the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns.

    Tennessee's Week 4 loss to the New York Jets was more worrisome. It remains the Jets' only win of the season, The Titans sleepwalked through the first three quarters, then had to scramble just to force overtime.

    Not to disparage the Jets, who certainly earned the victory, but Tennessee played down to the competition there. Against a championship-caliber team in Buffalo, the Titans were up for the fight.

    The Titans stumbled in Week 4, it happens, but what we saw on Monday is a more accurate representation of what they can be in 2021. Tennessee will face another stiff test against the Kansas City Chiefs next week. It should go in with plenty of confidence.

Injuries Could Be a Serious Problem

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    Now for the negative. The Titans came out of Monday night with multiple injuries, some of them serious. Jones left with a hamstring injury, while left tackle Taylor Lewan was carted off the field in a scary-looking scene. According to team reporter Jim Wyatt, Lewan is being evaluated for a concussion and has movement in all extremities.

    According to Paul Kuharsky, cornerback Caleb Farley and wide receiver Cam Batson each suffered a torn ACL.

    Obviously, no injury is good, but the Lewan and Farley injuries are particularly problematic. Lewan has been a staple of the offensive line for the better part of a decade. Farley, Tennessee's first-round rookie, had played well in his three appearances this season, allowing an opposing passer rating of 57.3.

    Tennessee recently placed cornerback Kristen Fulton on injured reserve with a hamstring injury and ranks 24th in passing yards per attempt allowed (7.3).

    These injuries will provide more challenges against the Chiefs and moving forward, but the Titans showed on Monday that they have the will to overcome.


    *Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference.