It was a memorable 2020 for the Tennessee Titans.
They won the AFC South with an 11-5 record and entered the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
Derrick Henry won Offensive Player of the Year honors by rushing for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns.
.@KingHenry_2 needed 223 rush yards in Week 17 to get 2000 on the year.
— NFL (@NFL) January 4, 2021
The former Alabama running also became a First-Team All-Pro.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill also had one of his best NFL seasons with 3,819 yards, 33 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
Unfortunately, their regular-season success did not translate to the postseason.
The Baltimore Ravens scored 17 unanswered points to turn a 10-0 deficit into a 20-13 upset.
INTERCEPTION MP JUICE MAN @marcuspeters. ‼️‼️
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 10, 2021
Lamar Jackson ran for 136 yards and a touchdown in that upset.
Marquise Brown also had seven receptions for 109 yards.
Henry had one of his worst single-game performances in the season after finishing with just 40 yards on 18 carries.
With that disappointing loss, the Titans seem to be developing a trend revolving around Derrick Henry’s output.
Henry ran for less than 100 yards in three of their five regular-season losses last year.
In simpler terms, the Titans go where Henry goes.
The best example of this is the Titans’ season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
Henry had 58 yards on 17 carries in the 38-13 loss.
Derrick Henry: “I pride myself on being a vocal leader. Sometimes you’ve got to take pride in being vocal and doing more than just working and showing.” pic.twitter.com/hgObmbVH7G
— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) September 16, 2021
Several factors lead to Henry’s poor production against the Cardinals.
But their offensive line can be the primary suspect for the catastrophic welcome to the 2021 NFL season.
They can’t block anything that moved during that game.
Woes All Around
Aside from Henry starting the season on a sour note, the Titans gave up six sacks, five of which from Chandler Jones.
Isaiah Simmons also added an interception for the Cardinals, while the team had two forced fumbles.
In contrast, the Tennessee defensive line was one of the NFL’s worst in creating pressure last season.
The same problems persist as they ended up with just two sacks.
The lack of a sustained pass rush from the Titans allowed Kyler Murray to throw for 289 yards and four touchdowns.
Can't catch Kyler Murray 😅
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 12, 2021
On the flip side, the Titans’ offense also turned in a subpar performance as they converted only five of 14 third-down possessions.
Kicker Michael Badgley missed a 46-yard field goal try, and the point after that succeeded Tannehill’s one-yard touchdown run.
During a week in which the Titans cut kicker Michael Badgley and promoted kicker Randy Bullock from their practice squad, they also signed kicker Ryan Santoso to their practice squad and brought in kicker Riley Patterson for a visit.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 18, 2021
Futility possessed all facets of the Titans roster, leading them to a devastating defeat.
They can’t afford to commit the same mistakes in Week 2 because Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks will make them pay.
The Seahawks offensive line also has its share of problems, and the Tennessee defense must exploit those concerns.
Otherwise, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf will have a field day against the Titans secondary.
It’s time for Mike Vrabel‘s crew to bury the memory of that depressing defeat.
The Titans must revisit what made them successful last year and use those measures to put up a good fight.