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The Titans beat the Packers on Sunday by the score of 47 to 25 in a game that featured some nice throws by Marcus Mariota and some blown coverages by the Packers.

The Packers team defense moved down 11 spots in DVOA after their performance against a Titans offense that’s has grown throughout the year.

Most importantly for Titans fans, Marcus Mariota has started to complete passes—some of which you will see below—that would suggest he can be a consistent starting NFL quarterback.

Lets get to this week’s breakdown.

Week 10 NFL Breakdown

Packers: 0 Titans: 7 (1st 8:30)

  • The combination of the pre-snap alignment with the single high safety over the top and the cornerback that follows Rishard Matthews signals to Mariota that the Packers are in a cover-1, and because of the play design, he knows that he’s about to get a 1-on-1 matchup.
  • The single high safety will either help the defensive back covering Matthews on the deep route, or he’ll help the defensive back matched up against Walker; either way there is a receiver left open in man-to-man coverage with no help.
  • The Packers bring a delayed blitz with an inside linebacker, but Mariota has enough time to deliver the ball in good position to Walker as a result of his well run route.

Marcus Mariota pass against Packers coverage

Packers: 0 Titans: 14 (1st 0:13)

  • An initial look at this touchdown play would seem to suggest that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the reason that the play resulted in a wide-open Anthony Fasano in the end-zone, but the play is more nuanced than that.
  • My interpretation of the Packers coverage is that they are in man coverage underneath with Clinton-Dix as the safety valve over the top. The part of the play where it gets a little tricky is when you look at what Joe Thomas—left inside linebacker—and Morgan Burnett—left cornerback—are supposed to do in coverage. If you watch the end of the play from the first angle, you’ll notice that both players end up in coverage in the flat against DeMarco Murray. What this signals to me is that there was some sort of confusion on the coverage; Clinton-Dix’s reaction after Fasano scores suggests as much.
  • In trying to decide what the coverage was supposed to be on Murray and Fasano, my guess is that Burnett was supposed to cover the first man to the flat and the second man to the middle of the field (i.e. if both players cut to the middle of the field, Burnett would have the second man to break in), while Thomas would cover the first man to the middle of the field and the second man to the flat (see photo below). This allows the defense to avoid situations where defenders have to chase after offensive players and it also mitigates the effects of pick plays.

Packers coverage against Titans

Packers: 7 Titans: 21 (2nd 8:52)

  • On this play, Clinton-Dix rolls to help the cornerback on the boundary side of the field but leaves Rishard Matthews in one-on-one coverage in the slot.
  • The Titans may have decided pre-snap that they wanted to take a shot down field, because when you freeze the video on the frame where Mariota starts throw, you’ll notice that Matthews doesn’t even have a step on Micah Hyde. This is a great play by Mariota to throw to an open Matthews in a tight window.

Marcus Mariota pass to Rishard Matthews


Packers: 22 Titans: 35 (3rd 6:35)

  • This was a difficult one to piece together, but after looking at the play several times and going to the broadcast footage to see who the source of consternation is among the defensive backs, I think I have an idea of what may have happened.
  • The cornerbacks look to be in cover-2 alignment, which would make sense when you consider that it’s third and five and cover-2 is popular to run in situations like this. This is fine except that there isn’t a safety to the boundary side; Quinten Rollins and Ladarius Gunter are in place as the flat defenders and Clinton-Dix is in place as the safety to the field; the issue is that there isn’t a safety to the boundary.

Packers busted coverage against Marcus Mariota

  • We do however have two men—Joe Thomas and Morgan Burnett—matched up on DeMarco Murray as he heads out of the backfield…

Packers blown coverage against Titans

  • …and we can see after the play that Quinten Rollins gives Burnett a look that says, “Dude, what are you doing? You were supposed to be there.”

  • This suggests that Burnett was the man that was out of position on the play and should have been in coverage to the deep half on the boundary side of the formation.

The first and third plays have unintentionally provided the opposite effect for Titans fans that the second and fourth plays may given rise to in Packers faithful. Marcus Mariota was able to deliver the ball on multiple occasions last Sunday with exceptional accuracy and timing, while the Packers defense can’t seem to get in the right place when it matters most. And while the Titans’ offense should continue to roll next week against the Colts, if we are to believe them as legitimate, the Packers’ defense will get tested again against the Redskins.

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