Home USA News The timing of the Titans 1st Thursday night game couldn’t be worse

The timing of the Titans 1st Thursday night game couldn’t be worse

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans will enter their first game Thursday night of the season at the worst possible time.

Yes, the Titans (6-3) beat Denver 17-10 for their sixth win in seven games. They also have 13 players on injured reserve and had to lose five defensemen before the game started.

Tennessee then lost three more to injuries during the game.

And oh yeah, the Titans kicker is also sore before the trip to Green Bay (4-6).

It’s time for some Jedi mind tricks—beyond the usual NFL ploy of pretending Monday is really Wednesday instead of a day usually spent recovering from a game 24 hours earlier.

“We have to tell ourselves, we have to tell our bodies, we have to tell our minds,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Monday. “But we also have to try to do everything we can to win the battle for mental performance and physical recovery in the next couple of days. Everyone is doing it.”

The Titans (6-3) battled through a slew of injuries to return to the top of the AFC South after an 0-2 start. Building a lineup for the next game is nothing new for a franchise that set an NFL record by using 91 different players last season while earning the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

They also got quarterback Ryan Tannehill back from a sprained right ankle that cost him two straight starts.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” Tannehill said. “Every Thursday night game is a challenge. We have to go this way quickly.”

WHAT WORKS

Protection. Somehow, someway, the Titans are on and running and haven’t missed a beat, even as they sit 2021 Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons (left ankle), linebacker Amani Hooker (left shoulder), outside linebacker Bud Dupree (hip) and cornerback Christian Fulton (hamstring) with linebacker Zach Cunningham, who put in a VC.

They are tied for fourth in the NFL with 29 sacks, lead the league in the fewest third-down conversions and are tied for the eighth fewest points allowed.

WHAT HELP IS NEEDED

An offense. Yes, Tannehill had the third-most passing yards of the season with 255 yards and scored a rare touchdown in the third quarter. But Tennessee scored two fewer points (166) than the defense allowed (168).

The Titans are last in rushing average at 281.7 yards per game.

Derrick Henry, second in the NFL with 923 yards entering Monday, remains their biggest weapon. He’s also the opposition’s biggest defensive coordinator to stop first. That’s why his five-game 100-yard rushing streak was snapped with 53 yards against Denver, his second-worst this season.

STOCK UP

WR Nick Westbrook-Ihine. The 2020 undrafted junior out of Indiana is coming off a career-best 119 yards receiving and two touchdowns, including a 63-yarder on a flea market. That tripled the number of TD catches by Tennessee receivers, which was one Robert Woods.

INVENTORY REDUCTION

CB Caleb Farley. The 2021 first-round pick moved from a top-10 prospect to Tennessee at No. 22 because of a second back surgery just weeks before the draft. He left the Denver game with a back injury. But he hasn’t played on defense in the last four games, appearing only on special teams.

WOUNDED

19 is the number of Titans on the final injury report for last week, although four had the day off to simply rest. That list will be bigger this week after CBs Elijah Malden (groin), Lonnie Johnson (hamstring) and Farley (back) did not return from injuries. ILB David Long stayed in the game despite the ​​​​​​​​stinger that sent him to the ground several times.

KEY FIGURES

7 and 6: The Titans have intercepted at least one pass in seven straight games. They also have at least three sacks in six straight games.

NEXT STEPS

Heal up enough to head to Green Bay and find a way to stop a couple skids. The Titans are 0-2 in prime-time games this season and have lost their last two at Lambeau Field by a combined score of 95-21. Then the Titans could get a long weekend before hosting Cincinnati on Nov. 27.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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