NASHVILLE – The Titans beat the Browns 43-13 in the season opener on Sunday.
Here’s a look at six things that stood out from the game as the team begins to turn its attention in the home opener on Sunday against the Colts:
He’s Still Got It
I’m wondering even more why the Dolphins allowed veteran Cameron Wake to walk. After playing his first 10 seasons in Miami, Wake joined the Titans in the offseason and he began wreaking havoc on Sunday. Wake, 37, had 2 ½ sacks, including one that resulted in a safety. He was credited with four quarterback hits. Wake’s still got it, and it looks like he’s going to be a difference-maker all year in Tennessee. He’s also got 100.5 career sacks.
I’m usually skeptical about how much of a difference a rookie receiver can make in the NFL. I’ve seen too many guys struggle in Year 1, with minimal contributions. Well, A.J. Brown might change my mind in a hurry. Brown had three catches for 100 yards, including a 47-yard and a 51-yard grab. Heck, Brown was throwing Browns off him, and making moves. He sure didn’t look like a rookie on Sunday.
When the Browns cut Tennessee’s lead to 15-13 late in the third quarter, First Energy Stadium was rocking, and the Titans needed an answer. They got one. Marcus Mariota’s 75-yard touchdown toss to running back Derrick Henry was a thing of beauty, and well executed. Guard Rodger Saffold make a crushing block on the outside, and Henry showed off his speed on the way to the end zone. It was game over at this point.
The Brazilian Kicker
Cairo Santos was money in his Titans debut. The Brazilian-born kicker made both his field goal attempts, including kicks of 37 and 53 yards. His 53-yarder had room to spare. Santos also put his kickoffs into the end zone. In a perfect world, Ryan Succop would have been ready to go at the start of the season. But the Titans were fortunate to get Santos, who was perfect on Sunday. And this would be a good time to give punter Brett Kern some props as well – Kern averaged 46.2 yards per punt, and the one he saw downed at the 3 ended up paying off with a safety.
Look Who’s Back
The Titans missed tight end Delanie Walker last season, and the team – and the Browns — got a reminder of just how much on Sunday. Walker caught a pair of touchdown passes in his first game since last September and he ended up catching five passes for 55 yards. Walker also pulled off the “Paydirt” celebration in fine fashion, and he was pretty entertaining in the locker room when speaking with reporters as well.
Henry got tired of talking about last season, so he went out and changed the subject. Henry accounted for 159 yards and two touchdowns against the Browns, including the 75-yard grab and go. Henry showed off his speed, and he was more of a bruiser as the game went on. Despite missing all of the preseason, Henry was effective right out of the gate in Week One, and that’s a great sign moving forward.