For those of you who love to dissect the play calls and determine tendencies, may I recommend the book, "Take Your Eye Off The Ball" by NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and a former colleague of mine, David Seigerman.
The book shows the chess match and play-calling strategy that goes on in pro football and offers analysis and insight into the world of the NFL, including what offensive coordinators and defensive coordinators are thinking as they match wits with each other on Sundays. It's even altered my thinking about how I approach watching the game and interviewing coaches and players.
As part of that, I have analyzed the Titans offensive play calls from Sunday's 29-10 victory over the New York Giants by showing from my unofficial count what personnel groupings the Titans used and how successful those play calls and matchups were.
We hope to make this a regular in-season feature and eventually part of our premium package. But here is the first taste of it. Let us know what you think.
The Titans ran 58 offensive plays in Sunday's game. Not including two Rob Bironas field goals and one kneel down from Vince Young at the end of the half, we will break down the results of the other 55 play calls with TitanInsider's unofficial play count.
First down: 24 plays.
--The Titans ran 11 of those first-down plays in the two-back set that included fullback Ahmard Hall on the field. There were seven runs for 22 net yards, three passes (1 of 3 for 13 yards) plus one scramble for four yards in those 11 plays from the two-back set Sunday.
--The Titans ran seven first-down plays from their two-tight end formation. That included four runs for four yards on first down with two tight ends on the field. There were three passes, all completed for 25 yards on first down in this set.
–In the heavy package with two backs and two tight ends on the field, the Titans ran six times on first down for 18 yards from this formation. There were no passes thrown from this set in any down and distance.
Second down: 19 plays
--In the two-back set, the Titans ran 10 plays, eight of which were runs for 67 yards, including Chris Johnson's 42-yard scamper in the third quarter. Both passes from this set on second down were incomplete.
--From the two-tight end formation, the Titans ran the ball six times for 28 yards and one touchdown. There was one pass attempted, a 17-yard completion from Young to Nate Washington.
--With two backs and a double tight end formation on the field, the Titans ran the ball twice on second down and lost a yard each time.
Third down: 13 plays, 6 converted
--The Titans ran the two-back set just once on third down, with a third-and-goal pass falling incomplete.
--Likewise, the Titans didn't use the two tight-end set but twice on third down, but maybe they should have. Young was 2-of-2 from this set for 29 yards passing.
--Tennessee's favorite set on third down was the three-wide receiver formation. In fact, the Titans never used this set at all on first or second down, no matter what the distance. The three-wide was a disaster on both plays it was used in the first half, resulting in a run for a 2-yard loss and a 9-yard loss on a sack. However, on six second-half plays, the Titans had a run of 17 yards by Javon Ringer and Young was 4-of-5 for 41 yards and a touchdown.
--The Titans used the heavy two tight-end., two-back set twice on third down, netting two yards.
--Once the Titans used two backs and three tight ends on third-and-goal from the 1, and Johnson scored a touchdown.
Play call tendencies/ratios
--First down: Run/pass ratio 17-7. Young was 4 of 6 passing for 25 yards, plus one scramble for four yards on a pass play that became a run. That means passes were called on seven of 24 first down calls or 29 percent of the time. That means there were 17 called runs (71 percent of the plays) for 44 yards on first down.
--Second down: Run/pass ratio 16-3. The Titans ran 16 times total (92 percent) for 93 yards against the Giants here. Young was 1-of-3 passing on second down for 17 yards.
--Third down: Run/pass ratio 4-9. The Titans hit on 6 of 8 passes 70 yards and a TD on third downs. There was also a 9-yard loss on a sack from a third-down pass call, making the Titans call for a pass 69 percent of the time on third down. The four run calls netted just one yard, but it also produced a touchdown on third-and-goal.