TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt offers six things that stood out in the team’s 33-27 victory over the Seahawks on Sunday.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Here’s a look at six things that stood out for the Titans in Sunday’s win over the Seahawks:
Mariota ProtectionThe Seahawks are known for their “Legion on Boom” defense, but the Titans offensive line lowered the boom on Sunday. Quarterback Marcus Mariota had time to work, and it paid off. According to the folks at Pro Football Focus, Mariota was pressured on just 2 of his 37 dropbacks vs Seattle, the lowest pressure rate of any QB on Sunday. Left tackle Taylor Lewan and right tackle Jack Conklin combined for 72 pass block snaps vs the Seahawks, and zero pressures allowed. Mariota wasn’t sacked on a day when the Titans rushed for 195 yards.
Sacks don’t tell entire story
Look at the Titans stat sheet on defense and you’ll see just one sack – by linebacker Erik Walden. But the stat sheet doesn’t always tell the entire story. The Titans pressured Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throughout Sunday’s game. The Titans hit Wilson 10 times, and the defense amassed 34 pressures against the Seahawks — 43.6 % percent of Wilson’s dropbacks. Linebacker Brian Orakpo led the Titans with 11 total pressures, amassing that total on 37 pass rush snaps, per PFF.
Rushing to Mariota’s defenseI thought Richard Sherman’s sideline hit on Mariota was a cheap shot. Sherman said after the game Mariota was in bounds, but he needs to look at the tape. I’ll be surprised if he’s not fined. What didn’t surprise me: How quickly the Titans came to Mariota’s defense on the sideline. Lewan was all up in Sherman’s grill, and he had to beat a lot of guys there. A helmet-less Jurrell Casey was the first one at the scene, and players jumped off the bench on a hurry and came running. “Nobody takes hits on our quarterback,” center Ben Jones said.
Fowler’s effortDeMarco Murray’s 75-yard touchdown run was a thing of beauty. But watch fullback Jalston “Nudie” Fowler on the play. Fowler helped spring the long run with a block on Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane around the 30-yard line, at the start of the play. He then ran all the way downfield to put another block on Lane at the 20, roughly 50 yards away. It came on a day when the Titans made several nice blocks downfield. “Nudie is a hell of a fullback and a guy who works extremely hard for us,” Murray said. “We’re proud to have him.”
Special teams playThe bad news is Adoree’ Jackson’s 80-yard punt return for a touchdown was called back because of an illegal block. The good news is the Titans excelled on special teams on Sunday, especially in the kicking game. Punter Brett Kern averaged a whopping 56.8 yards on six punts, with a 48.2-yard net. His first two punts went for 66 and 62 yards. Kicker Ryan Succop was a perfect 4-for-4, with kicks from 24, 37, 47 and 35 yards. Succop extended his streak to 45 consecutive field goals made from inside 50 yards, which is the second-longest streak of its kind in NFL history.
The 10th year linebacker seems to be getting better with age. Woodyard turned in a dandy of a performance on Sunday, racking up 10 tackles, two quarterback hits and two tackles for a loss. His pressure on Russell forced a key intentional grounding penalty in the second half. Woodyard, who leads the team in tackles after three games, seemed to be having a blast along the way. Did you happen to see him flip back and briefly stand on his head after his third quarter stop on Seahawks running back Chris Carson?