AFC South Reporter
Will Levis threw the interception within the ultimate seconds that sealed the Titans’ 20-16 defeat to the Steelers on Thursday Night time Soccer, with Tennessee simply contained in the crimson zone and with an opportunity for the walk-off landing.
Levis sat on the chair in his locker postgame wanting into the gap.
“Simply making an attempt to replay in my thoughts slightly bit a number of the issues that occurred,” he stated. “Clearly, knee-jerk reactions are slightly completely different when you return to observe the tape. Issues are normally not as dangerous as they appear. Or in the event that they had been actually good, they’re inferior to they appear. Simply making an attempt to replay within the warmth of the second how I felt in that second, what I might’ve finished, however simply wanted to take a pair breaths.”
It feels, although, that the second-round rookie confirmed greater than sufficient to earn QB1 standing for the remainder of the season.
The No. 33 general decide, Levis accomplished 56.4% of his passes (22-of-39) for 262 yards with no touchdowns and the decide with a 66.4 passer ranking within the loss, which dropped the Titans to 3-5. Whereas the exhibiting pales compared to his dazzling four-touchdown debut final week, Levis once more confirmed poise and command on the line of scrimmage — all of the extra spectacular contemplating what was working towards him. He performed in primetime for the primary time, on a brief week on the highway, towards a proficient (and aggressive) Steelers defensive entrance and had a banged-up offensive line defending him.
Already with out beginning proper deal with Chris Hubbard (concussion), the Titans noticed 4 of their beginning offensive linemen get harm at completely different factors Thursday. Nicholas Petit-Frere, Tennessee’s beginning left deal with taking part in on the proper aspect attributable to Hubbard’s absence, was held to fifteen snaps attributable to a shoulder harm. Levis was pressured on 45.5% of his dropbacks, in accordance with Subsequent Gen Stats. However at instances he appeared to transcend the problems round him — and conservative playcalling — to make big-time throws and hold communication clear in a hostile atmosphere at Acrisure Stadium.
“There have been no delay of video games,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel acknowledged. “There have been some issues that should be higher so far as simply directionally. … However there have been some good throws.”
It began throughout the Titans’ second possession of the sport, when Tennessee confronted a first-and-23 within the shadow of its personal finish zone after consecutive holding penalties. The previous Kentucky star bailed out the Titans, firing a dart in stride to large receiver DeAndre Hopkins for a 29-yard acquire on the subsequent play.
Early within the fourth quarter, with Tennessee backed up in its personal territory, he hit Treylon Burks on a 21-yard crossing route, layering the ball completely over two defenders. (Later within the quarter, Burks was carted off the sector after making an attempt to make a leaping seize down the left sideline. After the sport, Burks reportedly walked to the staff bus beneath his personal energy.) Within the third quarter, Levis accomplished an inconceivable, split-second display move to operating again Derrick Henry as Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith drilled the QB into the bottom — a play that picked up 23 yards.
The second-round decide additionally confirmed composure in a two-minute drill on the finish of the half. The Titans bought the ball with 1:16 remaining within the second interval and all three timeouts. Levis had consecutive completions of 20-plus yards to receiver Kyle Philips to arrange Nick Folks’s 36-yard area purpose as time expired, giving Tennessee a 13-10 lead coming into the third quarter.
Some of the spectacular issues Levis did Thursday was refined. With 1:49 left within the third interval, he acknowledged a cornerback blitz pre-snap, appeared to regulate the safety and fired a fast out to Burks for 2 yards, avoiding the potential detrimental play.
And regardless of the decide on the finish, Levis gave the Titans an opportunity on their final drive, too. After Steelers cornerback Joey Porter Jr.’s fourth-down maintain on Hopkins gave Tennessee new life, two performs later Levis linked with veteran wideout Chris Moore on a 29-yarder to get deep in Pittsburgh territory with 44 seconds left.
“I really feel like he was within the second,” receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine instructed reporters of the ultimate possession, through ESPN. “He wasn’t letting it get too huge. He wasn’t overhyped. He was simply coming into the huddle with the play name and he was nearly his enterprise.”
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Between Levis’ spectacular debut Sunday and gritty efficiency Thursday, it isn’t clear what else he would want to do to be QB1 formally, even when Ryan Tannehill returns from his excessive ankle sprain. It is time for the Levis period in Nashville, contemplating all that was invested in him, the juice he has delivered to the offense and Tannehill’s expiring contract (the veteran QB is ready to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason).
Levis performs with confidence. He has made big-time throws. He does not seem like overwhelmed within the huddle or on the line of scrimmage. His cannon arm opens up the Titans’ passing sport, lightening up the field for Derrick Henry. He offers Tennessee an opportunity to win.
This should not be a tough choice when Tannehill returns: Give Levis the keys.
Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand labored for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Community, the place he was the Titans beat author for a 12 months and a half. He coated the Seattle Seahawks for SeattlePI.com for 3 seasons (2018-20) previous to transferring to Tennessee. You’ll be able to comply with Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.
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