The Titans were without star receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones on Sunday, and it’s safe to say that played a part in their stunning 27-24 overtime loss to the Jets.
Without Brown and Jones to look towards, Tennessee struggled mightily in the red zone, converting just 2-of-5 opportunities and settling for three field goals. Furthermore, Tennessee’s offensive line failed to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill, allowing seven sacks. However, left tackle Taylor Lewan, left guard Rodger Saffold and center Ben Jones all exited the game at various points due to injury, which left Tannehill vulnerable to the Jets’ pass rush.
The red zone struggles have stuck out, as the team ranked No. 1 in 2019 and No. 2 in 2020 in red zone efficiency. That, however, was under former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who is now the head coach of the Falcons.
Running back Derrick Henry was still dominant, despite the struggles, rattling off 157 yards on 33 carries. Henry spoke briefly to the media after the game and gave a simple message about how the team can improve.
“We just have to play better,” Henry said. “Ain’t looking for no excuses, pointing the finger at nothing. … Gotta finish drives, play better as a unit. That’s all it is.”
Henry, who is once again the NFL’s leading rusher after four weeks, has done his part for the Titans offense. He is not concerned with the issues surrounding the team and says that they will move on and improve next week.
“Everything is fixable,” Henry said. “We just gotta clean up. Come back to work next week and get ready to play.”
The Titans now rank 25th in the NFL in red zone scoring percentage this season, a far cry from the Titan teams we’ve seen in the past. Tannehill noted this after the game, although he said it isn’t just one thing that is plaguing the offense in the red zone.
“Tough to pinpoint one area or one group or anything,” Tannehill said. “One thing here, one thing there. Bad snap. Missed opportunity. Bad throw. Drop. It’s been everything. We have to as a group really clean those things up, come together and all execute and make plays.”