SportsPulse: The primary NFL Sunday of 2020 was once in contrast to any we had ever observed ahead of. Whilst stadiums lacked fanatics there indubitably wasn’t any loss of drama. Mackenzie Salmon overreacts to the entire largest storylines from Week 1.
DENVER — The Tennessee Titans returned to the scene in their 2019 nightmare, this time armed with a remodeled offense and the most important prize in unfastened company.
But in addition, the similar deadly flaw that haunted them in 2019.
Regardless of that flaw — horrific box function kicking — the Titans by hook or by crook, by hook or by crook pulled out a 16-14 win towards the Denver Broncos on “Monday Night time Soccer” about 11 months after once they had been close out at Empower Box at Mile Top.
Because the fourth quarter spread out, the Titans protection endured to get a hold of stops to present the offense possibilities to re-take the lead. On their ultimate power, Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill marched the offense into box function vary to present Stephen Gostkowski his fourth box function strive — after he had ignored his first 3.
Lo and behold, Gostkowski was once just right from 25 yards and the Titans moved to 1-Zero in probably the most implausible of the way.
Tannehill had two landing passes that went to tight ends MyCole Pruitt and Jonnu Smith, each from within the purple zone. He orchestrated a 12-play, 67-yard power to place Gostkowski in place for the profitable box function.
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Listed here are 5 observations from the opener:
Kicking nightmare continues
In 2019, the Titans had been abysmal kicking box objectives, completing final within the league in makes (8) and final in proportion (44.four%).
The nightmare lived on Monday as Stephen Gostkowski, signed previous this month by means of the crew, ignored his first two kicks of the night time from 47 and 44 yards, respectively. His 2d kick was once in part blocked.
Then, in the second one 1/2, Gostkowski ignored a 3rd time, this time from 42 yards away. He later ignored an additional level.
It was once Gostkowski’s 205th profession regular-season recreation, and his first with 3 ignored box objectives.
No 12th guy
The Broncos entered Monday’s recreation as winners of 18 in their final 20 house video games, a testomony to their house crowd.
However that issue was once mitigated by means of a fan-less Empower Box at Mile Top. Cardboard cutouts crammed the stands ahead of the tip zones, however the stands had been another way empty.
Each groups’ entrances had been accompanied by means of silence — regardless of the general public deal with announcer pronouncing, “Lovers, for your toes on your 2020 Denver Broncos!” with tongue-in-cheek.
Corey Davis seems to be motivated
The Titans declined to select up the fifth-year possibility on Corey Davis, which means the large receiver will hit unfastened company for the primary time subsequent offseason.
Davis was once in large part upstaged by means of then-rookie A.J. Brown final season, however on Monday, Davis served as Ryan Tannehill’s best goal. He stuck 3 passes over the center, every for large chunks of yardage. At the crew’s ultimate power of the 1/2, his toe-tapping catch close to the sideline was once first of all dominated incomplete ahead of the decision was once overturned.
Davis completed with 8 catches for 101 yards, which is greater than he had in any recreation in 2019.
Rashaan Evans ejected
Rashaan Evans misplaced his composure within the first quarter of the Titans’ season-opening recreation towards the Broncos, and it price him.
The Titans’ third-year within linebacker was once disqualified from the sport after throwing a punch at Denver tight finish Jake Butt following a play. Will Compton changed him.
Consequences had been an issue early for the Titans; they dedicated 4 within the first quarter.
Protection delivers within the grasp — however has one key flub
A few key moments by means of the protection helped the Titans stay in a tie at 7 by means of halftime.
The Titans’ first-half rating — a 1-yard final touch from Tannehill to MyCole Pruitt — was once preceded by means of a turnover by means of the protection. Kevin Byard pressured a fumble and Jeffery Simmons recovered it to set the Titans up close to the purple zone. Later in the second one quarter, the Broncos had a primary down on the Titans’ 2-yard line, however 4 immediately stops by means of the protection pressured a turnover on downs.
Towards the tip of the 1/3 quarter, the protection faltered. After the Titans had scored a landing to head up 13-6, the Broncos used a nine-play, 75-yard power to take a 14-13 lead early within the fourth quarter.
However the unit gave the offense a shot overdue two times, forcing two punts within the ultimate 5 mins.
Of word, not too long ago signed edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney was once impactful right away. Signed previous this month to a one-year deal, Clowney appeared proper at house in Vrabel’s protection. The 27-year-old performed was once at the box for the unit’s first 11 performs and supplied a direct have an effect on. He had 3 overall tackles, together with a take on for a loss, and a quarterback hurry by means of halftime.
Observe The Tennessean’s Eric Bacharach on Twitter @ErikBacharach.
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