The Tennessee Titans faced the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season.
This game had the billing of being a showcase game for the new-look Cleveland Browns, and a vast majority of analysts gave the visiting Tennessee Titans no shot in this game. But Mike Vrabel’s team had other plans. Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield was under pressure virtually all afternoon. He threw three interceptions and was sacked three times, with two-and-a-half of those coming at the hands of veteran Cameron Wake.
No extension, no problem: for much of the offseason, there were rumblings of a possible quarterback controversy between Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill. Add in the fact that the Titans’ best offensive linemen, left tackle Taylor Lewan, is serving a four-game suspension, and things didn’t look too promising for this team heading into the game.
Mariota seemed to be playing with a chip on his shoulder, making great decisions and not making forced throws and dreadful mistakes. He ended the game with three touchdown passes and 248 yards in the air. Two of those touchdown passes went to his security blanket, tight end Delanie Walker, who suffered a gruesome leg injury in week one last season — today’s game was his first contest back in the lineup.
Titans’ running back Derrick Henry had a solid game. He rushed for 84 yards on 19 carries. But his big play was a 75-yard reception that all started on a screen pass from Mariota.
Titans’ rookie receiver AJ Brown had a three-catch debut for 100 yards.
The Titans will next host division rivals in the Colts in their home opener on Sunday, a day that will be rich in history already as the team is retiring the numbers of two of the greatest to ever play for the franchise, former Titans teammates Eddie George’s No. 27 and Steve McNair’s No. 9.
A dominant defense and an offense that moves the ball effectively, puts up points, and doesn’t make mistakes is a recipe for success. We’ll see in the coming weeks if they can sustain those ingredients, especially in the next three games, including two against division rivals in the Colts and Jaguars, along with a matchup against the Falcons. All three of those teams are 0-1.