Beleaguered Titans’ O-line protects Tannehill well in win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Saving Ryan Tannehill from the Las Vegas Raiders’ pass rush led by five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Chandler Jones seemed a difficult task for the Tennessee Titans.
Turns out Tannehill was sacked only once in Tennessee’s 24-22 win Sunday over the Raiders. Too little and way too late to be of any help to the Raiders.
An impressive performance for the Titans (1-2) considering three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a right knee injury, the second offensive linemen placed on IR since the previous game.
This also is an offensive line that already featured two new starters in rookie right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere and left guard Aaron Brewer. Now left tackle Dennis Daley is the third new starter at left tackle.
And Jones left Nashville in the 2021 season opener after his most recent trip having sacked Tannehill five times and forced two fumbles on his way to his fifth Pro Bowl honor.
“That’s a big thing, and I’m glad we did that,” Titans center Ben Jones said. “That was a nightmare for us a year ago.”
Tannehill threw for 264 yards and a touchdown with one interception after being nearly perfect in the first half. That’s where he was 14 of 17 for 195 yards and the TD pass to Geoff Swaim, helping him improve to 5-0 all time against the Raiders.
Credit a combination of quick decision-making by Tannehill, wide receivers and tight ends finding some open space fast and that beleaguered line with giving him time.
“I think we had a little of both of that today where we got the ball out quickly sometimes, then a few plays I had to progress to my third or fourth read and I was able to do that,” Tannehill said.
Chandler Jones, a big free agent signee this offseason, came in with nine career sacks in four games against Tennessee.
The Raiders also have defensive end Maxx Crosby and his 26 career sacks on the opposite side. Crosby had his first sack of the season last week in an overtime loss to Arizona. Crosby got the only sack of Tannehill on Sunday with 3:16 left for an 11-yard loss, but Titans receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine fell on the loose ball.
That gives the Raiders a grand total of two sacks through three games. Raiders first-year coach Josh McDaniels said the Titans had a good game plan mixing things up a bit.
“Everybody’s got to do their job the right way if you want to stop somebody like that,” McDaniels said.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel credited Tannehill with being decisive against a good defensive front with receivers also getting some separation.
“I thought that there was a good plan to take away those guys and give us a chance to throw the football,” Vrabel said.
Follow Teresa M. Walker at https://twitter.com/TeresaMWalker
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL