It didn’t look good for Tennessee in the first half. They had under 60 yards on offense and no points to show for it. They were consistently in 3rd and long, couldn’t run the ball, and there was some clear rust for both Julio Jones and AJ Brown. That all changed in the second half when the Titans marched right down the field for a field goal. Soon after, AJ Brown started to heat up.
Once AJ Brown got going, the whole offense started to click. It opened up lanes in the run game, allowed space for other receivers, and the Titans almost looked like the same team that was ranked #2 in the league by offensive DVOA in 2020. AJ Brown continued to make big plays when the Titans needed them most. That gave Ryan Tannehill confidence to throw his way and anticipate his throws. Remember, AJ Brown and Julio Jones haven’t been practicing much due to injury. It’s hard to have on-field chemistry without reps during the week. Their practice week was the first half.
Despite the defense giving up a touchdown with under three minutes to go, it never felt like the Titans were going to lose after the way they had been playing in the second half. They started their 2-minute game-winning drive with a Dagger concept to AJ Brown. That Dagger concept is one of the Titans’ favorites. It involves using heavy personnel with a hard play-action fake. Then, the two receivers outside have a dig and a deep post. The linebackers come up on the run fake and there’s a window behind it for the dig. A few plays later, Tannehill took off to get Tennesee into field goal range.
AJ Brown’s 11 catches for 145 yards gave the Titans breathing room in front of the surging Indianapolis Colts. Now with two games left against the Dolphins and Texans, Tennessee needs to win only one to secure the AFC South crown. If AJ Brown continues to play like he did tonight and Derrick Henry and the offensive line get healthy, they’re going to be the team nobody wants to face in the playoffs.