As I noted in part one, the Titans did not get to the passer either very often or very frequently, ranking 31st in the league in both categories. The Titans did have a few highlights from a pass-rushing perspective, though, but they also had three games where they didn't record a single quarterback sack.
Part one of this series covered the Titans' first four games. Part two covered weeks five through nine. Part three covered the third quarter of the Titans' season, including most of the interconference slate. This part four covers the final four games, beginning with the home loss to New Orleans and a road loss in Indianapolis before finishing up with a pair of divisional wins, at home against the Jaguars and then in Houston to close the season. Finally, in part five, which should run Monday, I'll take the details in parts one through four and try to draw some broader themes about the Titans' pass rush in 2011.
WEEK 14-VS. NEW ORLEANS-Drew Brees-47 attempts, 2 sacks, 3 QB hits
Well, the Titans faced an easier opponent to sack than they did the week before. The Saints ranked third in the league in Adjusted Sack Rate at 4.4%, behind the Bills and the Titans, but ahead of the Bengals. In addition to picking up both sacks, Karl Klug also had two of the Titans' three quarterback hits this game.
1-5-TEN 5 (2Q-1:11) (Shotgun) D.Brees sacked at TEN 12 for -7 yards (K.Klug).
Excellent job of red zone defense by the Titans here. Brees was looking to throw right, but they doubled the quick slant and covered Sproles in the flat in a way he didn't expect, and that didn't give him anywhere to throw. Had he realized it, the Saints ended up with the fullback, Jed Collins, wide open on the opposite side of the field, but he didn't. Klug eventuallly gets the takedown, but after 4.9 seconds, making this the Titans' third-longest sack of the year.
3-4-NO 26 (4Q-5:23) (Shotgun) D.Brees sacked at NO 19 for -7 yards (K.Klug).
This looks like a busted line call, as LG Carl Nicks barely even bothers to wave in RDT Klug's direction. I think he expected help from the center, but he didn't get any, and I don't think he should have. Maybe he thought Colin McCarthy, a potential rusher who didn't, was his assignment and the back should've picked up Klug. Not a lot to say about Klug on this play.
WEEK 15-AT INDIANAPOLIS-Dan Orlovsky-17 attempts, 0 sacks, 1 QB hit
As noted in part two, the Colts were a little above-average in terms of how often they were sacked, but you wouldn't know it from the games against the Titans. Curtis Painter went down twice on 57 dropbacks in the first contest, and here Orlovsky didn't go down at all. Only one QB hit makes it clear the Titans were actually bad at getting pressure, not just unlucky.
WEEK 16-VS. JACKSONVILLE-Blaine Gabbert-42 attempts, 1 sack, 4 QB hits
Gabbert got sacked a lot this year. On 42 passing attempts, you'd expect him to go down three or four times. I thought his pocket presence really did improve later in the season, though, so if you want to pretend the reason the Titans didn't get more pressure on him is he's up there with Drew Brees and Ryan Fitzpatrick in his sack-avoidance ability, then you're free to believe that.
3-7-JAX 32 (3Q-13:06) (Shotgun) B.Gabbert sacked at JAX 21 for -11 yards (K.Klug).
T/E stunt, as Ball makes an inside move and splits Monroe and Rackley, tying both of them up. Klug takes advantage by looping around to the outside and has Gabbert more or less dead to rights. Klug gets the sack and does a nice job of taking advantage of the opportunity, but Ball made the play.
WEEK 17-AT HOUSTON-T.J. Yates-4 attempts, 1 sack; Jake Delhomme-28 attempts, 2 sacks, 3 QB hits
As noted in part two, the Texans essentially fielded two teams; the first, with Matt Schaub was hard to sack. The Titans learned that the first contest the hard way, as Schaub had 23 passing attempts without eating dirt. The second, with T.J. Yates, was a lot easier to sack. Jake Delhomme provides no basis for comparison, as this game was his only action for the season.
1-10-HST 10 (1Q-11:58) T.Yates sacked at HST 5 for -5 yards (sack split by J.Casey and D.Morgan).
LDT Casey beats RG Caldwell badly at the snap with an inside move, and LDE Morgan follows through the gap created after Caldwell tries to chase down Casey.
2-10-HST 42 (2Q-6:35) J.Delhomme sacked at HST 33 for -9 yards (D.Ball). FUMBLES (D.Ball), RECOVERED by TEN-C.Hope at HST 33. C.Hope to HST 33 for no gain (W.Smith).
A zone blitz, and instead of the normal DE dropping, this time it's Sen'Derrick Marks. Yates' attention is occupied by Chris Hope and Derrick Ward's pickup of him, coming from the offensive right, as Ball's inside move isn't picked up by the normally synchronized Texans' offensive line. LT Brown tries to hand him off to LG Smith, but he's late from the double with C Myers on RDT Casey. Ball shoots the gap and knocks the ball out, and Hope is in a fortuitous position to pick it up.
2-11-TEN 41 (4Q-3:44) J.Delhomme sacked at 50 for -9 yards (J.Casey).
It's backup time for the Texans' offensive line, and I think that's a part of this sack. Backup center Austin is in for Myers, and he hesitates, distracted by LDT Marks' rush and is late getting over to help on RDT Casey's inside move. LG Smith could've done a better job, but a nice job by Casey as well.
Part five, which tries to extill some meaning from this mess, runs Monday.