The defensive performance from the Tennessee Titans in Sunday’s impressive victory over the Chicago Bears provided a collective sigh of relief from fans who had watched this defense for the prior seven games of the season with some trepidation.

By recording three sacks and coming up with two fumble recoveries, the Titans’ defense was finally firing on all cylinders for the first time this year. Making Sunday’s effort even more impressive, they were able to make Nick Foles’ life a living hell without their two biggest offseason acquisitions: Vic Beasley Jr. and Jadeveon Clowney.

Beasley’s time in Nashville was as short as it was pathetic. Titans General Manager Jon Robinson signed Beasley early in the offseason in an attempt to bolster a glaring need at pass rusher. But a typically sharp Robinson misfired and forgot to check the $10 million receipt. It turned out that Robinson had actually signed an energy vacuum the likes of which had not been seen in Nashville in quite some time. After being released on Wednesday, tt should come as no surprise that the defense performed so well in Beasley’s absence. A true addition by subtraction.

Clowney missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury as he is dealing with a meniscus that could possibly require surgery. Many Titans fans are disgruntled with Clowney’s failure to sack the quarterback all season, and it is completely fair to want more out of a guy that is on the books for $15 million including incentives. But, it can’t be denied, the pass rush will always be better with Clowney manufacturing havoc in the backfield.

The Titans defense did not perform at the level that fans saw on Sunday due to the fact that Beasley and Clowney never took the field. The unit took advantage of a banged up Bears offensive line while also breaking out a shiny new toy for the first time all year.

Desmond King was acquired from the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. In his first game wearing the two-toned blue, King played in 54 of the team’s 77 defensive snaps (70%) and was able to not only aid in coverage out of the nickel position, but also find his way in the endzone on a 63-yard scoop and score.

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The defensive line’s success often depends on the secondary’s ability to blanket pass catchers. For the first time all season, the Titans’ secondary appeared to have done a fine job. Perhaps the unsung hero is Breonn Borders, who was on the field for all 77 snaps on defense allowing five catches for just 41 yards.

If the secondary continues this play, and the team can also get Adoree Jackson back at corner, that should free up the guys in the trenches.

The Titans’ three sacks is a team-high for 2020, but it is a feat that the team achieved 10 times during the regular season just a year ago. Maybe it is addition by subtraction, but it sure seems like help is on the way.

 

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images


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