It looked like the Titans were going to run away with Sunday’s game against the Broncos for much of the first half, but things didn’t turn out that way.
A 13-0 lead was sliced to 13-10 in the fourth quarter and the Broncos were riding momentum as they tried to win the game in the final two minutes. Linebacker Avery Williamson made sure that the Titans wouldn’t let the win slip away, however.
Williamson stripped the ball from Broncos tight end A.J. Derby and safety Daimion Stafford recovered it to ensure the Titans would move to 7-6. That will leave them tied with the Texans, who held off the Colts and will face the Titans in Week 17.
If Tennessee is going to get to that game with a chance at winning the division, they’ll need better work from their passing game than they got on Sunday. Marcus Mariota was 5-of-13 in the first half, but the Titans were able to run the ball well enough to cover for the lack of a consistent threat through the air. Mariota then went just 1-of-5 in the second and the Titans run offense was slowed to a halt by a Denver defense that didn’t seem concerned about getting beaten by the quarterback.
Tennessee’s defense didn’t seem too worried by much of what the Broncos were doing for much of the game, but they did find some success as the second half went on. Their running game never materialized, leaving Trevor Siemian to throw 51 passes. He completed 35 of them and wound up with 334 yards, but the lack of balance was a killer while the Titans were building their lead in the first half of the game.
Mariota’s completion percentage was 30 percent for the day, the lowest for a starting quarterback in a win since JaMarcus Russell completed 29 percent of his throws in a 2009 win. Mariota doesn’t usually keep company with Russell and the Titans will need him to be better against the Chiefs next week.
The Broncos are now 8-5 and two games behind the Raiders and Chiefs in the AFC West, so they could use a Titans win if they want to stay alive in that race. A Titans loss would help them on the Wild Card front with a game against the Patriots next on their schedule.