Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 29, 2023

Bengals at Titans: What to watch

The Titans limp into a Sunday game against the Bengals, who have underperformed early in the season as Joe Burrow is still bothered by a calf injury. Going into Week 4, the Titans are already in must-win mode if they want to stave off the dreaded “R” word: rebuild.

First down

Pressure Burrow. Burrow probably won’t be as mobile and able to protect himself as normal. If the Titans’ pass rush fancies itself as one of the league’s best, then they have to get to Burrow, disrupt his time and get some sacks. The secondary trying to cover JaMarr Chase and Tee Higgins for long periods of time doesn’t look like a formula for success.

Second down

Establish the run. Derrick Henry has not gotten going early in the year for a variety of reasons, a combination of not enough carries and poor blocking. But the Titans, who were trounced in time of possession by Cleveland, have to do something to reestablish the line of scrimmage on offense. The best way to do that is run the ball effectively and let that turn into play action for Ryan Tannehill.

Third down

Get a big play from defense or special teams. The defense got one big play in Cleveland, but the offense could only turn it into a field goal. The struggles are getting to the point where it might require a pick six or a special teams touchdown to aid the Titans on the scoreboard.

Fourth down

Find some consistency in the pass game. Other than DeAndre Hopkins, no Titans receiver or tight end distinguished himself as a playmaker. Some of that was because Tannehill was under duress a lot. But guys like Treylon Burks and Chig Okonkwo have to be more consistent producers if this offense is going to improve. The Titans are starved for explosive plays, and those two need to bring some of that more consistently.