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Titans-Jaguars play-call analysis

The Titans play calling success against Jacksonville on Monday night was probably the best it has been all season long. Offensively, the Titans were consistent, using the three-wide set (both before Vince Young was injured and after Kerry Collins came in) as their predominant formation in the first half.

After building a 17-0 lead using the three-receiver set for 16 of their 36 offensive calls in the first half, Tennessee went smashmouth in the second half to protect and build that lead. In the second half, the Titans went three-wide just three plays, but ran 14 plays in the second half from a two-back set, after calling that just five times in the first half. The Titans were primarily backloaded with two-back formation because of using it in their four-minute offense. Thanks in part to Jack Del Rio's timeouts, the Titans not only milked the clock in this set, but were able to go 80 yards in nine plays, never deviating from the set with Chris Johnson's 35-yard TD on fourth down capping the drive.

The staple formation was the two-tight end look, which they ran 20 times overall – 13 in the first half and seven in the second half.

All total, Tennessee had 19 plays each from the two-back set and three-wide and 20 from the two-tight end set. They had two more from the jumbo package – one a kneeldown and the other in goal line with tackle Mike Otto acting as the third tight end.

For those looking for any trend changes with the switch from Young to Collins, there wasn't that much. True to the first-half game plan of spreading the Jaguars out early, VY ran seven snaps from three-wide, three from the two tight end set and just one with fullback Ahmard Hall on the field.

First down

Tennessee ran 25 first-down plays

--The Titans ran 10 plays from the two-back set against the Jaguars, mostly running the football, eight times for 43 yards. There were a pair of passes out of this package, with one completion by Collins for nine yards to Chris Johnson. Interestingly, while Vince Young was in the game, Tennessee was only in this formation for one play, and fullback Hall got the carry, gaining 1 yard and moving the chains.

--From the two tight-end set, Tennessee ran 10 plays and were run heavy here as well, with eight rushing attempts for 36 yards. They were 1 of 2 passing, but it was a big completion from Young to Scaife on the opening series that went for a 28-yard gain.

--The Titans ran five plays out of three-wide on first down and kept that package in
the game in key situations in both first-half drives for touchdowns. Young's 23-yard TD pass to Kenny Britt came when the three-wide personnel was left on the field immediately after Johnson had gained one yard, plus having a 15-yard face mask penalty tacked on on the play before. First-down plays from this set netted 11 yards on three runs and 1 of 2 passing with the VY touchdown pass, the lone first-down completion here.

--The Titans had two plays in the two-back, three-tight end set Monday night and both lost one yard each. One was intentional as it was a kneeldown, but the other came on first-and-goal with CJ losing a yard with Mike Otto in and acting as the third tight end.

Second down

Tennessee ran 18 second-down plays

--The two-back set was used in limited fashion by Tennessee on second down Monday night. The Titans ran the ball four times for 11 yards and had one incomplete pass from this package.

--In the two-tight end package, the Titans ran seven second down plays without much success. Running the ball gained just three total yards on four rushes, while Tennessee completed 1 of 3 second down throw in this formation for 8 yards.

--The Titans had six plays in the three-wide package on second down, and again rushing yards were tough to come by with four carries for 4 yards. They had more success throwing the ball from this set, as Collins hit all four of his pass attempts for 21 yards. FYI, it was a second down from this formation – on a called run – that Young fumbled and hurt his knee Monday night.

Third down

Tennessee ran 14 third-down plays and converted eight times

--After not using the fullback at all on third-down in Dallas, the Titans dusted it off for a few plays Monday night – all runs with three carries for two yards.

--From the two tight end formation, Tennessee also had three plays on third down, hitting the only pass for 11 yards (though it was on a third-and-17 play). The two rushing plays gained eight yards.

--Tennessee sizzled in the three-wide package, especially on third down. The Titans did not call a single rushing play here, but between Young and Collins, they were 7 of 8 passing for 72 yards and a touchdown.

Play call tendencies

--First down: Run/pass ratio 19-6. After being nearly 50-50 in Dallas on first down runs and passes, the Titans went back to being run-heavy on first down. It worked, as the 19 runs produced 90 yards on 19 carries, while Tennessee's quarterbacks were 3 of 6 for 60 yards and a touchdown on first down.

--Second down: Run/pass ratio 12-6. On second down, the Titans ran twice as many times as they threw, which probably says as much about their first-down success as it does their second-down play-calling. It allowed them to stay away from second-and-long for much of the game. On second down, Tennessee had just 18 yards on the 12 rushes, with 11 of those coming in the two-back set. In terms of throwing the ball, the Titans were 3 of 6 for 29 yards.

--Third down: Run/pass ratio 5-9. Given that third-down is usually a heavy passing down for nearly anytime, five runs in 14 play calls is pretty impressive. Those five runs garnered 10 yards. In terms of throwing the ball, the Titans had 83 yards passing on 8 of 9 third-down throws with one touchdown. As previously stated, the bulk of that came from the three-wide set.

--Fourth down: Run/pass ratio 1-0. Thanks to ESPN being short on commercials, referee Mike Carey and Jack Del Rio, we have a fourth-down play talk about. Actually, it's been plenty talked about already, though not in these terms. The Titans' lone fourth-down play was Johnson's 35-yard TD on Tennessee's final offensive play that pushed him over 100 yards and ignited the whole timeout controversy.

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