Six takeaways from the Tennessee Titans’ 21-20 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday to open the 2022 season at Nissan Stadium:
That was it for the attack
Man, the Tennessee Titans are going to want it back. Hard to throw away a game winning home run that you led most of the way. It leaves a lot to be desired.
I’ll start here: The Titans’ offense got off to a great start and finished pretty well, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill again proving clutch in the final seconds of a tight game.
But the offense also failed to take advantage of opportunities to deliver the necessary knockout punch when its defense had the Giants on the ropes — in both the second and fourth quarters, helping to put that game at Randy Bullock’s feet for a loss 47-yard field goal. .
After Jeffery Simmons’ forced fumble before halftime gave the Titans possession at the Giants’ 42 with a 10-0 lead, the Titans couldn’t convert it into a touchdown, perhaps outdoing themselves on what has been an incredibly bad road trip in the red zone. Cody Hollister and Geoff Swaim were out there to make pass plays on second and third downs inside the Giants’ 10 – both throws were short of the goal line, resulting in a chip-shot field goal.
To start the second half, the Titans went three-and-out on consecutive possessions, twice failing to convert on third-and-short. This allowed the Giants to finally gain some ground and gain momentum for the first time, scoring twice to tie the score.
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And then, in the fourth quarter after Amani Hooker’s crucial interception in the end zone, the Titans ran a screen on Swaim before calling a failed run on Chig Okonkwo on third-and-short to the rookie for a 5-yard loss. Nothing against the tight ends, but were those the best options while protecting a late lead?
For the Titans, this shouldn’t have been so difficult.
The defense did a lot, but not enough to save this one
Throughout the offseason, the expectation was that the Titans defense was going to carry this team’s hopes into 2022. In one game of the season, you can’t mess with that.
Despite this, the Titans defense slowly gave way. He allowed too many big plays and a huge performance to Saquon Barkley, who rushed for 164 yards and the 2-point conversion in the fourth quarter.
At first glance, I would praise Simmons, Kevin Byard and David Long Jr. about how active they were, but there were many heroes who strengthened this defense, some well-known, some not so much (like Kevin Strong).
The pass rush? Still very good
The Titans’ most encouraging sign Sunday was the continued effectiveness of their rush without Harold Landry. They had four sacks in the first half, giving this defense 13 sacks in a six-quarter span that goes back to the playoff game. That’s an incredible number for a Titans defense that totaled just 19 sacks during the 2020 season.
From Simmons’ dominance to Bud Dupree’s health to Rashad Weaver’s readiness, the unit’s start to the season checked a lot of boxes. The biggest concern ended up being a shoulder injury for Ola Adeniyi.
Treylon Burks’ panic was premature
Despite intense scrutiny for him for months, rookie first-round receiver Treylon Burks had a nice debut.
A stat line of three catches for 55 yards may not have been spectacular, but it was enough to give Burks some confidence.
He played a prominent role in the rotation and was able to get open for Tannehill – including a key 27-yard catch-and-run on the Titans’ third-quarter drive, earning a first down on an Aaron Brewer penalty. supported them.
Where were Austin Hooper and Robert Woods?
One of the more surprising MIAs Sunday was Austin Hooper, who had a nice training camp and had emerged as Tannehill’s favorite target. On a day when Swaim had four targets, Hooper’s lack of shots until the final drive stood out.
So did the fact that Robert Woods had just two targets when Burks and Philips combined for 11.
How about that third down back?
Hey fantasy football guys, does anyone have Dontrell Hilliard catching two touchdown passes in the Titans opener?
Considering the backs the Titans had on the roster entering training camp, it could have been an interesting competition for the third down role, but it never was. Hilliard has been the clear pick all along, and he showed why during Week 1 when the Giants neglected to cover him for a couple of touchdowns.
Hilliard finished the day with three catches for 61 yards.
Reach Tennessean sports columnist Gentry Estes at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @Gentry_Estes.
This article originally appeared on the Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee Titans punched in gut-punch by NY Giants: Here’s who’s to blame