2022 NFL season, Week 11: What We Learned from Titans' victory over Packers on Thursday night
• The Titans had their best offensive game of the season. Tennessee achieved its highest point total of the 2022 season on the first play of the fourth quarter and surpassed its high-water mark for yardage midway through the fourth. And here’s an even bigger stunner: When hit for his second touchdown of the game, it was the first time all season the Titans scored a fourth-quarter TD. They’d had only 12 points combined in nine fourth quarters before Thursday. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a jump-on- ’s back kind of game. Yes, he had a rushing TD, a passing TD and a 42-yard screen that set up another score. But this was as well-rounded an effort as the Titans’ offense has put in. and both had big, over-the-shoulder catches. caught his team-best fourth TD of the season. And the offensive line kept Tannehill clean. Outside of his pick, Tannehill played a clean, sharp game.
• Aaron Rodgers started sharply but didn’t get enough help. Rodgers was pretty sharp through the first two drives of the second half, putting the Packers in a position to potentially pull out another late win, as they did Sunday against Dallas. But there were too many pressures, one of which led to an intentional grounding call and another throwaway where Rodgers was lucky something bad didn’t happen. Nothing else really went right, though. The Titans erased the Packers’ run game. And Rodgers had a tough fourth quarter, misfiring on third-down passes to and in a 10-point game. The Packers punted after the first miss but went for it after the Lazard miss, and Rodgers and Lazard once again weren’t on the same page on the fourth-down incompletion. It looked more like the Packers we’ve seen all season than the fourth-quarter and OT performance versus Dallas.
• Mike Vrabel deserves some COTY attention. After their 0-2 start, the Titans have won seven of their last eight games (the one loss in overtime at Kansas City) and currently are tied for the AFC lead in victories with seven. It doesn’t feel quite as likely this year that they’ll earn the No. 1 overall playoff seed, although they certainly have a shot to do so. But it highlights the job that Vrabel has done this season with a lot of speed bumps along the way. Their best pass rusher, Harold Landry, has been out all season. Their receivers have been beat up and, at times, ineffective. The offensive line has taken several hits and largely has underperformed. But Vrabel has coached his team extremely well, both in preparation for games and on game days. That was evident Thursday, too, with the scoring drive at the end of the first half, the defensive scheming and keeping the Packers at arm’s reach most of the game.
• Christian Watson is hot, son. OK, that’s now six catches for five touchdowns in four days for Watson. That’s after 10 catches for 88 yards and no TDs in his first six NFL games. And what do you know? Watson now leads all rookie receivers in touchdowns -- after having zero less than a week ago. To think, this is the guy (some) Packers fans were fed up with not long ago. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. But there was a level of frustration that the Packers’ rookie receivers couldn’t do more, more consistently. With Romeo Doubs out, Watson was Rodgers’ go-to guy, at least in the red zone. It feels as if they’ve simplified his duties and asked him to run routes where his speed and quickness can be exploited, but his first score was an off-script beauty. Rodgers snapped the ball with 12 Titans on the field, and Rodgers bought time while Watson improvised, got open and made a tough, contested catch. That’s called progress. Fear not, Packers fans, you have a good one.
• Titans’ tough secondary deserves credit. The Packers had their offensive line intact, and it only allowed one sack to Tennessee’s talented front, although you can imagine that the group was a bit gassed after playing 73 defensive snaps Sunday and once again didn’t have Bud Dupree to help in this game. So that put a lot of pressure on the secondary of the Titans, which was without safety Amani Hooker, who also was out with injury. Even allowing two TD passes, the Titans’ secondary quietly had a very strong game. The one sack? It was a coverage sack to close out the game. The Packers’ longest catch went for 28 yards, on a catch and run. The Titans’ corners tackled well. One really nice individual performance came from Tre Avery, a college free agent who has barely been used on defense this season but showed up late with a few impressive plays in the fourth quarter.
Next Gen stat of the game: Titans QB Ryan Tannehill completed +20.0% of his passes over expected, the highest CPOE in a game over the last three seasons (min. 25 attempts). Tannehill earned a 97 NGS passing score with his performance, the highest by any QB this season.
NFL Research: Rookie WR Treylon Burks was the first Titan with six or more catches and 100-plus yards since A.J. Brown in Week 16, 2021 on Thursday Night Football.