As I noted in part one, the best way to describe how the Titans were sacked in 2011 was "not very often." They finished second in the league in Football Outsiders' Adjusted Sack Rating. Further, not every sack is a negative play; a loss of yardage is generally better than a quarterback trying to force a play that isn't there and risking a turnover. Still, the Titans were sacked in 2011, and sacks are bad, mmkay?
Part one of this series covers the Titans' first four games, part two the Titans' second four games, and part three the third quarter of the Titans' season. This part four covers the Titans' final four games, including a home loss against the Saints, a road loss in Indianapolis, a home win against the Jaguars, and finally a road win in Houston. Finally, this series concludes with part five on Friday, in which I take the detail in parts one through four and try to draw some broader themes.
WEEK 14-VS. NEW ORLEANS-Hasselbeck 7 pass attempts, 0 sacks;Locker 29 pass attempts, 2 sacks; 5 QB hits
Another week, another lousy pass-rushing team. Notwithstanding the problems they gave the Titans this game, the Saints struggled on the season to get to the quarterback, coming in between the Falcons and Browns at 25th in ASR at 5.9%. That was less evident this week, though.
4Q-2-10-TEN 20 (11:59) (Shotgun) J.Locker sacked at TEN 11 for -9 yards (W.Smith).
Coaches film is now available for this play, and it's clear the Titans were trying to run a little pick route to get an open receiver in the left flat. As it happened, though, the wideout ran into the player setting the pick, so he wasn't developing. It was then that Locker's lack of pocket presence showed, as he responded to a feeling of pressure even though he wasn't really being pressured. He looked to vacate and went down.
4Q-3-5-NO 5 (:05) (Shotgun) J.Locker sacked at NO 8 for -3 yards (J.Dunbar).
What ends up being the final play of the game. Locker first looks to Mariani on a sort of fade route-this probably what he should have thrown, as there's a good chance the Titans get another play on an incompletion. As it happens, though, Locker just pumps that. Stewart is beaten badly at the snap by the defensive end, who goes flying past Locker. That inspires Jake to leave the pocket and move right, where I think he's trying to set his feet and throw for CJ when Dunbar runs him over. This play was the Titans' longest sack of the year.
WEEK 15-AT INDIANAPOLIS-Hasselbeck 40 pass attempts, 0 sacks; Locker 16 pass attempts, 1 sack; 3 QB hits
As a reminder, the Colts weren't a bad pass-rushing team. True, they didn't have that many sacks, only one more than the Titans' 28, but they also didn't face as many good pass-rushing opportunities. They ended up just ahead of the Panthers in ASR, 15th in the league at 6.8%. Only three hits and one sack on 57 dropbacks wasn't bad, though.
4Q-1-10-IND 33 (4:40) (No Huddle, Shotgun) J.Locker sacked at IND 42 for -9 yards (R.Mathis).
Robert Mathis's first step can be really, really quick. This was one of those plays. He just destroys Stewart off the snap. Locker appears to be waiting for Williams, I believe, to break open, but the route doesn't develop that quickly. Stevens was available open over the middle as a hot read option. I think Hasselbeck gets this ball out to him, but that may just be my preconception of what kind of player Locker is.
WEEK 16-VS. JACKSONVILLE-Hasselbeck 40 pass attempts, 1 sack, 3 QB hits
The Jaguars would end the season an improved pass rushing team, finishing 13th in Adjusted Sack Rate at 7.2%, after ranking 22nd at 5.8% in 2010. They gave the Titans fits in the first game, especially with twists and stunts. The second time around, though, the Titans were ready for them and a lot less troubled. While Abraham re-signed with the Falcons, we do get a glimpse of a 2012 Titan in this game though.
1Q-2-3-JAX 42 (11:51) (Shotgun) M.Hasselbeck sacked at 50 for -8 yards (L.Douzable).
Douzable played both end and tackle for the Jaguars. He's lined up at LDE on this play, and it's a T/E stunt. Amano goes to help Scott block the LDT, and there's a free path for Douzable on his move to the middle of the offensive line. It's a pity Hasselbeck was looking to his left, as the Jaguars had a minor coverage bust on the right and left a receiver wide open.
WEEK 17-AT HOUSTON-Hasselbeck 35 pass attempts, 3 sacks, 4 QB hits
As indicated in part two, the Texans were one of the best sacking teams in the league in 2011. While the Texans sat a number of good players in this game, they still had plenty of good players in the lineup, at least in the first half. On the whole, they had more success against Hasselbeck this game than they dd the first meeting, where they had one sack on 31 opportunities (plus one sack of Locker-more on him and the differences in the quarterbacks tomorrow).
1Q-3-4-TEN 26 (4:33) (Shotgun) M.Hasselbeck sacked at TEN 19 for -7 yards (A.Smith).
Texans line up with five players on the line of scrimmage, three with a hand down and two standing up. The Titans are in empty with a pseudo-trips set to the left and two to the right. No coaches film available for this play, but it looks like Hasselbeck is looking to his left, possibly at Jared Cook, who runs three yards downfield and clips on his cut. Hasselbeck looked to scramble and escape, but Smith, who lined up at NT, bulled Amano back into him.
2Q-1-10-TEN 46 (11:17) (Shotgun) M.Hasselbeck sacked at TEN 38 for -8 yards (A.Smith).
Titans in empty again, Texans rush their four down linemen this time. Smith shows he's an equal opportunity destroyer and bulls Harris into Hasselbeck this time before he looks to escape or tries to get the ball out. No coaches film, so I'm not sure what if anything was available downfield.
3Q-1-10-TEN 20 (11:46) (Shotgun) M.Hasselbeck sacked at TEN 13 for -7 yards (sack split by B.Braman and J.Nading).
Hasselbeck changes the play at the line, but it's not clear exactly what happens. No coaches film, but I'd guess somebody missed a kill signal. Nading beats Stewart with an outside speed rush, while Braman simply eludes CJ's cut block. The two of them combine to crush Hasselbeck.
This series concludes tomorrow with part five, in which I try to draw some broader lessons from the first four parts.