AFC South: Tennessee Titans Show They Aren’t Ready to Fold

Part of the appeal of the NFL season is that compared to many other professional sports, the regular season is a sprint, not a marathon. Teams only have 17 weeks to make their case for why they should be in the playoffs. That also can lead to some overreactions by the media and fanbases.

During Week 1, the Tennessee Titans looked like they may be done for the season already. But the Titans showed this week they are more than capable of turning things around. The Titans didn’t turn the ball over and were able to grab a victory over the Chargers in overtime. After Jacksonville took a tough loss to the Chiefs and Indianapolis tripped up Houston, there is now a three-way tie for first place in the division.

Place Team W L T Week 2 Result
1. Jacksonville Jaguars 1 1 0 L, 17-9 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
1. Indianapolis Colts 1 1 0 W, 31-21 at Houston Texans
1. Tennessee Titans 1 1 0 W, 27-24 OT vs. Los Angeles Chargers
4. Houston Texans 0 2 0 L, 31-21 vs. Indianapolis Colts

 

Tannehill May Still Have Something Left

 

Recent ineffectiveness had many people down on former Miami Dolphins first-round pick quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Tennessee Titans quarterback bombed in Week 1 when he threw three interceptions in a loss to the Saints. Against the Chargers, Tannehill didn’t miss much.

Tannehill completed 20 of his 24 passing attempts for 246 yards. While Tannehill was sacked five times, he was able to spread the ball to seven different receivers and keep the offense moving. If Tannehill can manage the game successfully, the Titans will be in the postseason race

 

Steal of Draft May Not be Able to Stay on Field

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Indianapolis Colts

When the Indianapolis Colts drafted Florida product Anthony Richardson with the No. 4 overall pick to play quarterback, there was healthy skepticism about what he could accomplish in the NFL. Richardson only played one season in college and was primarily drafted based on his size and athleticism.

In both games this season, Richardson has played well for Indianapolis. But in both games, he’s also left early due to injury. Richardson scored two rushing touchdowns before leaving the game due to a concussion. Fortunately for Indianapolis, the Colts signed a solid veteran backup in the offseason. Gardner Minshew was able to step in and lead Indianapolis’ offense effectively. Minshew completed 19 of 23 passes for 171 yards and a score for the Colts.

 

Stroud Continues to Show Promise

 

Things haven’t been ideal for C.J. Stroud during his first season in the NFL. Nursing a right shoulder injury and with several of his offensive linemen out with injuries, Stroud was counted on to lead Houston against Indianapolis Sunday. 

It wasn’t a bad performance for the rookie quarterback. Stroud completed 30 of 47 passes under heavy duress for 384 yards and two touchdowns. He did feel the heat of not having a reliable offensive in front of him. Stroud was sacked six times for a loss of 47 yards.

Through two weeks, Stroud completed 63 percent of his passes for 623 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. 

 

Vengeance Will Have to Wait

 

Jacksonville had to feel deflated by its Week 2 performance. After picking up a solid Week 1 road win, the Jaguars welcomed the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to their home stadium Sunday. Jacksonville’s offense didn’t migrate south with it from Indianapolis last week.

The Jaguars could have been better on third downs against Kansas City. Jacksonville only covered 33 percent (3-of-12) of its attempts. The Jaguars were limited to 271 yards of total offense. Christian Kirk was Jacksonville’s top performer on offense, picking up 110 yards.

The Jaguars were knocked out of the playoffs by the Chiefs last season and were hoping to show how far they’d come. Jacksonville found out it still has work to do before becoming a serious challenger to Kansas City.

 

Tennessee Titans Takes Advantage of Weakened Chargers Run Game

Tennessee Titans Show They Aren’t Ready to Fold
Tennessee Titans

The Los Angeles Chargers were made one-dimensional by a critical injury. Running back Austin Ekeler was ruled out before the game with an injury. Without Ekeler in the lineup, the Chargers couldn’t take the pressure off quarterback Justin Herbert.

The Chargers had to turn to running back Josh Kelley, who was limited to 13 carries and 39 yards by the Titans’ defense. Herbert would end up being sacked three times. The Tennessee Titans would also limit Los Angeles to 2-of-14 on its third-down attempts. 

 

Texans Receiver Catching Passes from Former Rival

 

Houston drafted Nico Collins in the 2021 NFL Draft after playing college at Michigan. The Wolverines, of course, are the intense rival of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Stroud was Ohio State’s quarterback for several seasons in college. Collins has found that Stroud may have him on the path to a career.

During Collins’ first two seasons in the league, he finished with 446 and 481 receiving yards, respectively. Against Indianapolis Sunday, Collins put up numbers that will have him slated to blow past both of those season totals. He caught seven passes for a career-high 146 yards. 

Collins now has 226 yards in Houston’s first two games. Barring a serious injury to either player, this should be a productive quarterback-receiver tandem for years to come.

 

Ridley Leaves the Game with Injury

 

Jacksonville wide receiver Calvin Ridley returned to the NFL in Week 1. Bad luck made his second back a bit tougher. Ridley — who was suspended last season for violating the NFL’s gambling policy — only caught two passes for 32 yards against the Chiefs. He also was forced to leave the game after suffering a bruise on his leg.

While trying to haul in a touchdown pass from Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Ridley couldn’t keep his foot down and ended up colliding with the goalpost. Ridley was shaken up and would come back into the game, but didn’t appear like he was 100 percent healthy.