NFL Analysis: Preseason Week 3 Titans vs Patriots

In a riveting NFL preseason clash between two very interesting teams, the aggressive Tennessee Titans showcased their prowess over a more reserved New England Patriots. In this Week 3 showdown, it was Mike Vrabel’s Titans that left an indelible mark, sealing a decisive 23-7 triumph.

Early into the game, Ryan Tannehill of the Titans was seen orchestrating the offense. However, after three handoffs, Tannehill gracefully receded to the sidelines, swapping his helmet for a casual ballcap. It was a short, yet assuring appearance for the Titans’ fans who are optimistic about the regular season.

Setting the pace for the Titans was Malik Willis. Clocking in 211 yards through the air and accompanying them with two touchdowns, he ensured the Titans clinched victory in this preseason finale. The Patriots, despite their commendable defense throughout the season, found it challenging to stifle Willis’s explosive offensive prowess on this particular Friday night.

As for the Patriots, they opted for a strategic approach. Deciding to give their primary stars some rest as NFL Lines predicted, Bailey Zappe took the helm as the quarterback. But even with Zappe’s valiant efforts, the Patriots’ offensive output for the night plateaued at a meager 79 yards.

In contrast, the Titans’ defense was outstanding. They amassed an impressive tally of six sacks and added a cherry on top with a turnover. This kind of defensive brilliance in a preseason match hints at the formidable force they’re gearing up to be for the regular season. Throughout the first quarter, most of the Titans’ prime players graced the field, offering a sneak peek into their strategic arsenal.

Titans vs PatiotsA subplot to the game was the absence of rookie Will Levis, sidelined due to an injured left thigh. In his absence, Willis emphatically staked his claim as Tannehill’s go-to backup. Yet, his journey during the game wasn’t devoid of hurdles. The 86th draft pick of 2022 had a shaky start. Connecting just once in five attempts, he accrued only 22 yards in the first quarter. Moreover, a misguided throw, seemingly due to protection lapses, ended up in the hands of Patriots linebacker, Calvin Munson.

However, resilience is the hallmark of great players. Willis exemplified this in the second quarter, seamlessly completing all his passes, amassing 115 yards, and delivering a touchdown pass to Julius Chestnut. This touchdown culminated a staggering 90-yard drive, solidifying the Titans’ lead at 13-7 as halftime neared. Early in the fourth, Willis continued to mesmerize, connecting with Kearis Jackson for a 26-yard touchdown.

Yet, despite his redeeming play, Willis did encounter a few missteps. A pass intended for his team found Joe Giles-Harris of the Patriots, marking his second interception for the game. Reflecting on his growth, Willis highlighted the shortening of his error-correction time. From weeks to mere moments, he now possesses the acute analytical ability to understand defenses and rectify his mistakes swiftly.

While the game was high in adrenaline, the weather too was blazing, with temperatures soaring to 92 degrees. But for Zappe, a Texas native, the heat was just another day at the office. His night culminated with 57 yards from 15 attempts, even though he got sacked four times.


Notes from the game

While some stars showcased their skills, others remained on the sidelines. Titans’ stalwarts like DeAndre Hopkins, Derrick Henry, Jeffery Simmons, and Teair Tart made brief appearances without their pads, enjoying the game from the best seats in the house. Mac Jones was in his gear on the Patriots’ end but didn’t participate. Zappe got some action in the third, and rookie Malik Cunningham had a brief stint both as a quarterback and a wide receiver.

An unexpected spectacle was Chad Ryland, the Patriots’ prodigious kicker from Maryland. In an attempt to dethrone the seasoned Nick Folk, Ryland showcased his might by hitting the crossbar during a kickoff. On the other hand, Tennessee’s recent signing, Michael Badgley, had a mixed bag of a performance. He made field goals from 44, 27, and 33 yards but missed a crucial 39-yarder.

Titans’ Denico Autry, in a brief but impactful appearance, made the Patriots’ offensive line dance to his tunes. And while Marte Mapu’s preseason debut saw him making tackles and denying receptions, his real value might be unlocked by Belichick’s strategic genius in the upcoming matches.


Injury Report

However, not all news was positive. The game left a few players battered. The Titans’ Daniel Brunskill and the Patriots’ Riley Reiff, both proper guards for their respective teams, sustained injuries and had to exit the field. Later in the game, Titans’ tight end Josh Whyle too had to bow out due to an ankle injury. Keep an eye on these injuries as they can affect NFL Odds to start the year.