Tennessee Titans (6-3) – Denver Broncos (3-6): 17-10
Denver will have believed in it until the last minutes. A few seconds from the end of the match, the Broncos are indeed on the outskirts of the opposing end-zone with the possibility of equalizing with a touchdown. Despite this, it seemed unlikely that Denver would manage to grab something as Russell Wilson’s teammates (21/42, 286 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT) seemed harmless for most of the game.
A feeling confirmed by this last action: an interception by Terrance Mitchell which validates the victory of the Titans. Yet Tennessee and Ryan Tannehill (19/36, 255 yards and 2 TDs) did not particularly impress. Two touchdowns and constant pressure on the opposing quarterback were enough for Mike Vrabel’s men to win their sixth victory of the season. All in one match… verging on soporific.
A shower of punts and two lightning bolts
Corliss Waitman and Ryan Stonehouse. Here are two names that we are not used to talking about in this kind of summary. And yet, these two punters are perhaps the players who touched the most ball in this meeting. We hardly caricature. In the first 30 minutes alone, the two franchises rewarded us with 10 kicks in total. Between tight defenses and attacks at half mast, the two formations leave us few opportunities to ignite. Derrick Henry (19 races for 53 yards, or 2.8 yards/race) is very well contained on one side, on the other Russell Wilson is harassed. To make matters worse, the receivers of both camps chain the drops. It was hard to see who would take the lead.
In the middle of this rain of punts, the first flash comes from the visitors. At the end of the 2nd quarter, the former Seattle pitcher took advantage of one of the rare errors of the Tennessee defense to find Jalen Virgil. The rookie scored a 66-yard touchdown on his first reception in the NFL (0-7). In the process, the Broncos add a field goal and take an advantage which already seems consistent in this kind of meeting (0-10). A gap that will serve as an electric shock for the locals.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine as savior
Straddling the end of the first period and the start of the second, Mike Vrabel’s men will finally find some rhythm in attack with two very different drives. The first built with a lot of snaps (13) to go 75 yards (7-10). The second much faster, punctuated by the flea-flicker of 63 yards from Ryan Tannehill (1-104). Only one constant on these two offensive series: they are concluded by Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (5 receptions, 119 yards and 2 TDs). A new series of punts follows. We will also end the game with 17 kicks in total. Perhaps the most telling statistic to illustrate the level of play of the evening.
And even when the Broncos defense managed to force a fumble (on one of Malik Willis’ rare balls) late in the game, the offense didn’t. Russell Wilson will have lived a nightmare with no less than 6 sacks and 18 QB Hits. Enough to derail this attack which will score no points in the second period. Only a field goal from the Titans will fill the scoreboard at the end of the game (17-10).
Denver therefore returns to Colorado with a new very average offensive performance and still so many questions around the duo Russell Wilson – Nathaniel Hackett. On the Tennessee side, it’s not much better in attack, but at least it wins.