NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are enjoying a feeling they haven't felt in a very long time.
It's called a Victory Monday.
The Titans avoided an 0-2 start for a second straight season by rallying from an 11-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 in overtime. So watching film of a game where they allowed five sacks and gave up three fourth-down conversions is definitely easier.
“Beats losing,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Monday.
The Titans hadn't won since Nov. 17, finishing last season on a seven-game skid that turned a 7-3 record and what seemed like a third straight AFC South title into an early finish and a slew of changes that included firing a GM and hiring a new general manager.
The skid extended to eight games with a one-point, season-opening loss in New Orleans. Now the Titans are eager to see what they can do moving forward after scoring their most points since that last win in Green Bay.
“Honestly it just feels good to get a win since I think November," two-time All-Pro safety Kevin Byard said. "Hopefully that’ll start to get some consecutive wins.”
The defense. The Titans allowed Justin Herbert to throw for 305 yards and two touchdowns. But they sacked Herbert three times, the last by Harold Landry III forcing the Chargers to settle for a tying field goal and overtime.
Tennessee held Los Angeles to 2 of 14 on third-down conversions. The Titans also forced their third three-and-out of the game to start overtime, pressuring Herbert into a pair of overthrows. They gave up touchdowns on only two of five trips inside the Tennessee 20.
The Titans also have gone 18 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher, and they lead the NFL with eight consecutive games not allowing an opponent to run for 100 yards.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The offense showed signs of growth in the second start in new coordinator Tim Kelly's system, but still needs to find a better rhythm. They were shut out in the first quarter and gave up five sacks. Play action needs to be a bigger part of the offense with Tannehill going 7 of 9 for 168 yards passing, according to Next Gen Stats.
Tannehill is averaging 11.8 yards per attempt with play action since 2022 — 1.6 yards better than any other quarterback.
Tannehill. After the worst performance by passer rating of his career, the 35-year-old quarterback bounced back with a passer rating of 122.3 His 70-yard completion to Treylon Burks traveled 62.2 yards through the air, the longest pass in the NFL so far according to Next Gen Stats.
He shook off being sacked five times and was 20 of 24 for 246 yards, completing passes to seven different targets. His 49-yarder to Chris Moore was thrown so only the receiver could make the catch with a defender draped over him, and he threaded a 4-yard TD pass to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.
And he was literally perfect when it mattered most. He completed all seven passes in the fourth quarter and overtime for 94 yards and a TD with a 158.3 passer rating.
Xavier Newman. The undrafted offensive lineman from Baylor got his chance with his first NFL start in place of rookie Peter Skoronski needing an appendectomy Saturday. After two sacks allowed in the first quarter, he was pulled for Dillon Radunz, who finished the game in the 2021 second-round pick's first appearance since tearing an ACL against the Chargers last December.
Skoronski likely will miss at least Sunday's game in Cleveland as he recovers from what Vrabel called a “procedure.” Starting safety Amani Hooker remains in the concussion protocol, and CB Kristian Fulton is working his way back from a hamstring issue that sidelined him against the Chargers.
6-2: The Titans' record in overtime games under Vrabel, a .750 winning percentage that is best in the NFL since 2018 for teams with at least six overtime games. The franchise now is 25-26 all time in overtime games with this their first victory since Oct. 31, 2021, at Indianapolis.
A tour of Ohio, starting Sunday visiting Cleveland with the Browns coming off a short week after playing at Pittsburgh on Monday night. Then Tennessee returns home to host the winless Cincinnati Bengals for the Titans' lone home game over the next four weeks.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl
Teresa M. Walker, The Associated Press