Coming off a bye week and looking for their third consecutive win Authentic Will Compton Jersey , the Titans hosted the Baltimore Ravens for a Week 9 match-up with potential playoff ramifications for both teams.In this game, Marcus Mariota threw his 5th interception of the season. If you don’t know how this works by now, I suggest reading the below previous articles:Breaking Down Every Marcus Mariota Interception from 2017: IntroductionBreaking Down Every Marcus Mariota Interception from 2017: #1 (at JAX)Breaking Down Every Marcus Mariota Interception from 2017: #2 (at HOU)Breaking Down Every Marcus Mariota Interception from 2017: #3 (at HOU)Breaking Down Every Marcus Mariota Interception from 2017: #4 (vs IND)The SituationAfter limiting the Ravens offense for most of the day, the Titans got the ball back at the start of the fourth quarter with a chance to ice the game away. Nursing a 16-6 lead with 12:03 left to play, the Titans faced a 3rd-and-4 from their own 40-yard line. What HappenedThe Titans had a chance to essentially wrap up a victory with a score on this drive. Instead, they gave the ball back to the Ravens, and with it, new life in this game. Six plays later, the Ravens cut the lead to 3 with a touchdown. The PlaycallThe Titans come out in a formation very similar to the trips bunch we saw twice in the Houston Texans interceptions, in 11 personnel, but this time, the formation is flipped (likely due to the ball being placed on the opposite hashmarks). This tight formation draws the Ravens defense in close to the line of scrimmage before the snap, signaling the man-to-man coverage Mariota will see as soon as he hikes the ball.Perhaps you’ll recall from Interceptions #2 and #3 that the Texans came out with 7 defenders at or near the line of scrimmage but only rushed four.Here, the Ravens do something similar with 8 guys at or near the line before the snap, and only rush three of them. But by showing 8, they can create confusion along the line. I’m thinking Dean Pees will get along well with Mike Vrabel.The appropriate way to punish a team for loading the box like this is to hit them with a play-action fake and throw it deep. So naturally, the Titans only send one player on anything close to a deep pattern and run everything else within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. The Titans have a zone-beater Smash-7 to the right between Davis and Matthews. Underneath, they are running a man-beater mesh concept with Decker and Walker. Murray is a dump-off option leaking out to the left. The idea with a combo man/zone-beater is for the quarterback to quickly diagnose the coverage, either pre- or post-snap, and then make his reads based on what he sees. As is to be expected based on the coverage calls, the play is extremely well defended. Since Matthews is the only player running downfield, the safety picks him up in a double-team and that option is easily covered by the Ravens. The mesh concept underneath results in three Ravens following Eric Decker across the field with a shell of players surrounding Delanie Walker, as well.Corey Davis looks like he’s about to pop open against single-coverage, but it takes him too long to complete his route. By the time he has separation, Mariota is already releasing the ball. And DeMarco Murray is not alone as he leaks out of the backfield.What Went WrongThe read progression on this play makes no sense to me. It appears to be a basic right-to-left read - you can see Mariota look first to the outside in Davis’s direction. My guess is the read is concerned with the cornerback’s technique - if he is playing off and backpedaling in Davis’s route stem, Mariota would likely try to hit Davis on the curl. But Davis is met with tight press coverage, so Mariota moves onto Rishard Matthews, who is running downfield in the stem of his corner route.What’s confusing about the read progression is that Mariota starts on Corey Davis and then moves to Rishard Matthews. If this was meant to be a zone-beater Smash-7 concept http://www.tennesseetitansteamonline...y-davis-jersey , Mariota should first read the “high” (Matthews) and then move to the “low” (Davis) if the curl/flat corner drops to defend Matthews. Of course, this entire concept is irrelevant on this particular play because the Ravens are in man coverage.Perhaps that is why the progression moves right to left, but what is strange about it is that Mariota never looks at either of the two players running a man-beater concept across the middle of the field underneath, Eric Decker and Delanie Walker.My assumption is that Mariota saw Matthews running downfield with the defender’s back facing him and simply didn’t see the free safety coming across the field. What Mariota saw at the moment the ball was released from his hand.Unfortunately, Eric Weddle was very ready for the pass that Mariota threw, and was there to easily intercept the ball. It does appear that Rishard Matthews is briefly held, but it may have only slightly impacted his ability to prevent the turnover.Mechanically speaking, Mariota does a nice job with his footwork on this throw with a very clean pocket around him. The decision to throw it, however, was extremely poor.Coach’s CommentsWhile Mularkey wasn’t asked directly about the play and what led to the interception, he did comment on Mariota’s response to the pick.Mariota made a huge mistake on this play, but he did come back after the Ravens score to throw a touchdown pass and re-take a 10-point lead over Baltimore with just 3:58 to play. Responding after an interception was a common theme of Mariota’s throughout the season. The only games in which he didn’t come back on the field and lead his team to a scoring (or even game-winning) drive were against Houston, Pittsburgh, and Arizona. What Mariota Should Have DonePerhaps you’ve noticed by now where Marcus Mariota should have gone with the football.The crossing routes run by Eric Decker and Delanie Walker create enough confusion and spacing that Walker ends up running free. He smartly slows his route as he approaches the middle of the field, aware of the linebacker covering the area to where Delanie’s route will carry him. Rather than run into coverage, Walker wisely sits in the hole just short of the first down marker. Sadly, Mariota did not see him and missed an easy throw that Walker could’ve carried over the line to gain. The biggest concern I have with this interception is that Mariota should’ve known where to go with the ball based purely on the defensive coverage. Although Corey Davis’s route would’ve been better served had he been split out wide to start, overall, the playcall works well to beat whichever coverage, man or zone, the Ravens had decided to run.The Ravens go with man coverage, yet Mariota never looks at the routes that are specifically designed to attack that defense. Further, Mariota should know that he only has one receiver running downfield anywhere near the single-high free safety. If that safety drops at all, why would you test him, especially with a ten-point lead in the fourth quarter? So is Mariota not being coached to read the coverage, or is he simply failing to recognize man vs zone? This is something we’ll explore in the next breakdown... What. A. Disaster. If it could go wrong it did go wrong for the Titans as they opened the Mike Vrabel era with a 27-20 loss to the Dolphins in Miami. Believe it or not there were some winners in what was among the most depressing Titans games of my lifetime (which is saying something).
WinnersDarius JenningsDespite all the miserableness surrounding this game, it’s hard not to feel good for Jennings who had a 94-yard kickoff return touchdown to give the Titans some hope late in the game. It was the first kickoff Tennessee has returned for a touchdown since Darius Reynaud in 2012.Dennis Kelly, Kevin Pamphile http://www.tennesseetitansteamonline...-correa-jersey , and the offensive lineKelly got the start in place of Jack Conklin and largely went unnoticed which is a great thing for an offensive lineman. Pamphile stepped in for the injured Taylor Lewan and played well too. Overall, the offensive line did a nice job, allowing no sacks and helping the backs to 4 yards per carry (which would have been much more had Henry’s long touchdown run not been called back for a phantom hold).Dion LewisLewis’ debut went exceedingly well as the Titans offseason addition rushed 16 times for 76 yards and a touchdown, adding 5 catches for 35 yards through the air. That included a few clutch 3rd down pickups. Lewis looked every bit the dynamic playmaker that he Titans need him to be moving forward.Corey DavisDavis led the Titans with 6 catches for 62 yards and regularly looked like the team’s best receiver. There was one miscommunication issue, but he otherwise appeared to be in sync with Mariota. LosersMarcus MariotaLet’s just start here. Mariota started pretty good, but fell apart before leaving with an elbow injury during the second half. His first half numbers weren’t bad, but they didn’t tell the whole story. Mariota underthrew a wide open Luke Stocker who would’ve scored if not for the ball placement, then later in the drive threw behind Corey Davis on a speed out on 4th and goal. Again, the pass was complete, but Davis scores with ease if the ball is accurate. It wasn’t all bad from Mariota early, but those two throws cost them 7. Things would get worse for the Titans signal caller as a hit from William Hayes after a Mariota handoff left him with an elbow injury. He tried to play through it, but threw back to back interceptions — one on a pass floated over Rishard Matthews and one on a poorly thrown screen pass to Dion Lewis — before giving way to Blaine Gabbert who would finish the game. We don’t know what Mariota’s injury is, but the Titans are obviously in huge trouble if he’s not ready to go for the home opener against Houston next week. InjuriesBeyond Mariota, Taylor Lewan (concussion) and Delanie Walker (leg) both left with injuries. Walker’s leg injury was ugly and he’s probably done for the foreseeable future — if not the entire season — which is obviously a huge blow to the Titans offense. Lewan’s injury was suffered on a cheap shot from Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch after the first Mariota interception. Of course no flag was thrown on Branch, because... reasons. Adoree’ Jackson also suffered a shoulder injury at the end of a nice punt return, though he did return to the game later on. Again, we don’t know the severity of Jackson’s injury, but he will likely be on the injury report for most of this week. RefereesI’m not sure what it is about Miami, but the Titans have been absolutely hosed by refs there the last two years. Last season it was the ridiculous offensive pass interference call and the “fumble” that just happened to fly 20 yards down field that was later returned by the Dolphins for a touchdown while they had at least 13 players on the field. This year it was a bogus unnecessary roughness call against Malcolm Butler and a completely absurd holding call against Delanie Walker that negated a long Derrick Henry touchdown run (while Walker got facemasked). The Mariota injury also came on questionable (at best) non-call as he was hit low and late while carrying out a play fake. Titans FansTitans fans got treated to the longest, most depressing game in Titans history today. Multiple weather delays, injuries to the team’s best players on offense, and another losing round of penalty roulette made this one to forget. It’s an unfortunate way to kick the Mike Vrabel era off and I’d expect it will make for a rather lackluster crowd for the home opener next Sunday. It’s hard to imagine a more deflating start to a season. Mike VrabelFor all the good intentions about keeping players healthy and fresh to start the season, Week 1 was a stark reminder that injuries will come no matter how careful you are. Vrabel’s careful approach also showed up early in another way. The Titans tackling was horrific during the first half. They settled down a little bit later in the game, but it looked like a team that hadn’t had many reps with live tackling in the approach to the season.Additionally, there were a few questionable game management decisions from the Titans new coach. I liked the decision to go for it on 4th and goal early even though the execution let him down there. However, the Titans squandered many of their timeouts, including using one on defense on a 3rd and 21 late in the 4th quarter when they were trying to mount a comeback. It was a debut to forget for Vrabel.