The Titans will be looking for redemption Sunday against a struggling but improving 0-4 Jaguars team. Against division leading Cincinnati, Jacksonville never fell behind until the very last play of the game when Bengals kicker Evan McPherson kicked a 35 yard field goal ending the contest 24-21.
Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, settled down against a top 10 Bengals defense, completing 17 of 24 passes for an efficient 204 yards with no interceptions and scored a seven yard rushing touchdown. But a much maligned secondary could not hold back quarterback Joe Burrow’s high-flying passing offense. Ultimately, the Jags front seven were worn down in the fourth quarter.
In order to stay ahead in the win column before entering an intensely difficult stretch in the schedule, the 2-2 Titans offense must strike quickly and consistently, taking advantage of the Jags 30th ranked defense. So far this proves to be a tall order as the Titans offense has struggled in the first quarter, rebounded in the second, faltered in the third and surged again in the fourth quarter.
In today’s press conference, OC Todd Downing said the offense is striving to show improvement and consistency in the following areas:
- Route Running
- Competing on deep passes
- Commitment to the screen game
- Playing with more urgency in order to inspire better situational football play
Downing refused to elaborate on pass protection difficulties other than to say, “we need to do better.”
Though the Titans defense has made big improvements on third down play, the total defense is not much better, if any, than Jacksonville’s. And while the Titans too have a porous secondary, the Jaguars secondary surprisingly ranks top 10 in touchdowns allowed.
Another area of improvement in the Titans defense is sacks. Last year the team had a mere 19 total sacks. This year the Titans have already recorded 8. Sunday, they will need to not only continue this trend, but improve on it, because Trevor Lawrence has been very well protected having been sacked only 6 times, whereas Ryan Tannehill has been sacked a whopping 17 times. The other side of the coin–Jacksonville’s defense ranks last in the sack department, registering only five of them.