The Tennessee Titans are taking a step forward by going back to the past. Once upon a time, you won games in the NFL by running the ball and stopping the run. That hasn’t been the case for quite some time, but that isn’t going to stop the Tennessee Titans from running the ball whenever possible.
“Defenses aren’t as used to it,” coach Mike Munchak said via The Tennessean. “I think defenses get more work rushing the passer. It seems like offenses are all about 300 yards passing and scoring.”
That’s exactly the approach the Tennessee Titans took against the Steelers in their low-scoring 16-9 opening weekend win. The Titans ran the ball 42 times out of their 62 offensive plays. While the offense didn’t exactly walk up and down the field, it was enough to top Pittsburgh’s lowly offensive production.
Running the ball will work against some of the NFL’s teams, but it still relies on big contributions from the defense. The idea behind running the ball is simple – shorten the game. By taking offensive possessions away from the opposing offense, there’s a higher likelihood that the game will be very close with just a few minutes left. At that point, anything can happen.
The problem comes when the defense isn’t up to the task. When an opponent can score at will, running teams have no way of fighting back, and that’s the problem that the Titans may run in to if they aren’t able to develop a passing game, but for now, the team is content pounding the ball.
The Titans showed everyone last Sunday that winning with the run isn’t dead in the NFL. It’s still possible to switch gears and shove the ball down the opponents’ throats. Frankly, the Titans probably can’t win playing the Broncos’ or the Packers’ style, so it’s best for them to switch it up as much as possible. For the first time in the Mike Munchak era, the Titans may be developing an identity, and that’s not a bad thing.