The Titans play-calling tendencies in Sunday's 34-27 victory over the Dallas Cowboys were unique and interesting to say the least once dissected and broken down by personnel groupings.
By TitanInsider's unofficial count, the Titans limited themselves to just eight plays out of their bread-and-butter two back set with Chris Johnson (or Javon Ringer on occasion) lined up behind Ahmard Hall. In fact, the Titans didn't use the formation at all on third down Sunday. Tennessee ran nearly as many plays (seven) out of their heavy formation with two backs and two tight ends on the field, as they did with their regular two-back set. If you count the two kneeldowns at the end of each half, they actually ran more from this package than from two backs and one tight end.
That means the vast majority of the play calls came from a single back with two tight ends formation or from three-wide. Here is this week's breakdown of the calls and how successful they were.
Tennessee ran 25 first-down plays
--The Titans from the two-back set ran just twice the entire game for three yards. Amazingly, they had great success throwing the football from this formation, with Vince Young completing 3 of 3 for 74 yards. Their biggest offensive play of the game, Kenny Britt's 52-yard bomb, came out of this set. With the Titans in tight formation, the Cowboys bought the run fake and Britt came up with a big catch on the deep post against Mike Jenkins.
--From the two tight-end set, the Titans had great success running the football, going six times for 81 yards, including Chris Johnson's 29-yard run and his 42-yarder. Though for our purposes, it counts as a pass play call, you can add in VY's 17-yard scramble to the rushing total as well. That was in fact the only successful call of a pass on first down from this package, as Young went 0-for-4.
--The Titans used the three-wide package four times on first down against the Cowboys, each time calling a pass. Young completed 2 of 3 for 31 yards and scrambled for seven more yards on on attempt.
–In the heavy package with two backs and two tight ends, Tennessee had 16 yards on four carries, including one touchdown. The Titans also threw one incomplete pass from this set, a first-and-goal- from the six toss in Nate Washington's direction. The most interesting thing here is the Titans were in this formation on a first-and-20 after a holding call with CJ gaining six yards.
Tennessee ran 16 second-down plays
--The Titans barely touched the two-back formation on second down, running it twice for four yards and surrendering one sack for a loss of two yards. In fact, the best play to come out of this was the 13-yard pass interference penalty on Jenkins against Britt on the opening touchdown drive.
--The Titans ran four time for 21 yards on second down from the two tight-end set. In addition, Young was effective throwing the ball, hitting 3 of 4 passes for 25 yards, including the 12-yard touchdown toss to Britt.
--From their three receiver package on second down, the Titans ran Johnson once for eight yards. Young was hit on 1 of 2 passes for 7 yards, but that was negated by a 7-yard loss on a sack.
--With two backs and two tight ends, the Titans ran once for three yards.
Tennessee ran 12 third-down plays and converted four times
--The Titans did not use the two-back set at all on third down against the Cowboys.
--From the two tight end formation, the Titans ran once in a goal-line situation, and Johnson punched it in for a yard out for the touchdown. Through the air, Young attempted just one third-down pass here, and it was in complete.
--The Titans used the three-receiver set on nine third-down tries. There was one rush for three yards. Young was 3 of 7 through the air for 46 yards with a 24-yard TD to Nate Washington. Those numbers don't reflect the huge 35-yard penalty for pass interference that Jenkins drew against Britt on the opening drive that got the Titans out of a third-and-9 hole and set them on their way to the game's first TD. Young was also sacked once on third down for a yard loss, but a Cowboys penalty allowed the Titans to keep the football.
--The Titans called the heavy formation once on third down when they were killing out the clock at the end of the game, resulting in a two-yard gain for CJ.
Play call tendencies
--First down: Run/pass ratio 12-13. The 12 rushes produced exactly 100 yards rushing, while the Titans had slightly more pass plays calls. Young was 5 of 11 for 105 yards and also scrambled twice for 24 more yards on first down. Except for his 0 of 4 out of the two tight end set, Young was very effective throwing on first down.
--Second down: Run/pass ratio 8-8. Perfect balance in the play calls on second down here. Tennessee ran eight times for 36 yards with most of the success coming in the two tight end package. Young was 4 of 6 passing for 32 yards and a TD on second down, but was sackd twice for minus-9.
--Third down: Run/pass ratio 3-9. The running game produced just six yards on those three carries, but were effective. One from the two-tight end set was a 1-yard TD, while a 3-yard gain from the three-wide produced a first down. The other carry came as Tennessee was in the four-minute offense trying to kill the clock. Passing-wise, the Titans were just 3 of 8 passing, but two of those throws went for touchdowns, a 24-yarder to Washington and a 12-yarder to Britt. Young was sacked once for minus-1 on third down. Also, not figuring in is the 35-yard pass interference penalty on the opening drive.