Welcome to the Positive Passing Plays: Titans vs. Bills (Week 5) article, where we look to see which plays from the Week 5 match up had a positive effect on the game. It was a terrible loss for the Titans, albeit, it wasn’t because of these plays:
Positive Passing Plays:
The first good pass of the game, and it’s a simple read for Marcus Mariota. From another angle, you can see Mariota staring down the safety on this play, because that defender determines his read. If the safety stays in the middle (as he does on this play), then the pass goes to Sharpe on the sideline. If the safety shades over towards Sharpe, then the receiver cutting across the middle (which looks like Corey Davis, although it’s hard to tell from this angle) will be open for the pass. Mariota makes a very good throw, and they convert the first down.
This is a play on 3rd and 11, and a very good pass from Mariota to Corey Davis. The play is fairly simple as Mariota is looking off the safety in the middle, and then hits Davis in stride for a chance to get the first down. The throw is very much on point, and allows Davis to fight for the first down.
The Bills once again are daring the offense to try and attempt to throw down the field, and Mariota takes advantage. The Titans run two runners deep against a single high safety look, but cut off the route from Taylor, while Corey Davis (hard to tell from this angle, so I assume Davis) runs deep to take three defenders with him. Mariota hits Taylor for a large gain, who makes a linebacker miss and gets large chunks of yards. The offense needed to attack these Bills deep because they sold out to stop the running and quick passing game, which should have led to more audibles.
Mariota does a good job with the throw, based off play-action and hits Corey Davis down the field. The receiver goes in motion, and the defender moves with him, indicating man coverage, although the defenders switch right before the snap. The switch is important to the development of this play because it changes the dynamics. If the defenders don’t switch, then the slot receiver isn’t going to get a free release off the line, but since it’s a seam route, there is a quick hit possibility. Notice the route from Davis as well, because he expects his defender to establish inside leverage when he’s in motion, mainly because the defender is going to be late to line up at snap time. However, with the switch, the defender gains outside leverage, with his hips facing the middle of the field, which would allow him to drive on any pass to the inside. Watch how Davis attacks the defender’s outside hip to move him away from the middle of the field, before he cuts inside. It’s somewhat subtle, but notice how the hip angle for the defender change, right before the cut, as he’s facing more upfield than before. It’s a good route by Davis, and a good read by Mariota. The other thing to notice here is Luke Stocker from the full back position, as he engages a block as if run blocking, then runs a route to be a receiving option. I saw this numerous times last week, but they didn’t run it with quite the same frequency against the Bills.
A substantial conversion here for the Titans on 3rd down, and it’s a simple route from Sharpe. Pre-snap, let’s take a look at the left side of the formation, where the offense has three receivers. Only one of the corners is defending near the line of scrimmage, with a deep safety and another defender well off the line. In this case, Mariota knows one of three things will happen. If the linebacker on the defensive line blitzes, then this route to Sharpe will be wide open. If the linebacker on the defensive line drops back into coverage, then Sharpe is behind him from the start, at which point he’s just reading the eyes of the QB. If the slot cornerback jumps of Sharpe, then the pass to the middle receiver (looks like Jonnu Smith) will be open. In this case, the linebacker drops back while looking into the backfield, and assumes a crossing route. Sharpe cuts off his route and Mariota hits him for a conversion. On the outset, this doesn’t seem like a great play, but it’s a wonderful read by Mariota at the line of scrimmage and recognizing the options presented by the defense.
The Titans certainly didn’t have many large chunk plays in this game, and you can see why they lost. They had some bright moments, but it was very conservative against the Bills. The team needs to attack more down the field.
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