Titans' Analytics: Will Levis Threw Two Passes 10 Yards Beyond The Line Of Scrimmage

Titans quarterbacksBY JAKE DOWNARD

Jake Downard is a law student who creates NFL and NBA content focused on analytics on Twitter as @JakeAndBall. He also works with fanspo.com

For a glossary of the metrics and terms used in this post, please see this earlier file.

As I sit and type this review of the Titans' 34-14 loss in Jacksonville on Sunday, I cannot help but feel like I have written this piece four to five times already this season. Did the Titans play at an extremely low level on Sunday? Yes. Was it surprising? Absolutely not. 

Many of the same issues and themes that have led this Titans team to the proverbial NFL gutter throughout the season once again reared their ugly heads against a team coming off a 34-3 drubbing just seven days prior to the Panthers coming to town. Poor pass blocking, no running lanes, no consistent (or early) separation from targets, virtually no offense outside of trick plays, high snaps, getting off-schedule early…the list goes on.

Virtually everything that contributes to negative, inefficient offense was on display in Duval County on Sunday.


Despite the strange, misinformed narratives you have likely seen on social media over the last 24 hours, Will Levis was objectively good against the Jaguars. A week after the Buccaneers had a ton of success blitzing the Titans' offensive line, Jacksonville combined a solid effort from their front four with strategic decisions to send five and six guys on third-down situations and stymied the Titans’ offense. 

Opposing teams in general are having success against the Titans this season. I still have thought throughout the year, “Why aren’t opposing defensive coordinators sending blitzes at this Titans offensive line more?” Titans’ receivers do not consistently separate early enough, and the offensive line does not hold up long enough to have any success against the blitz. A week after Tampa sent an extra guy on more than half of their defensive snaps, the Jaguars blitzed at a higher clip than they have throughout the season, and the Titans' offensive line could not protect their rookie quarterback. 

Let’s take a look at how Levis’ 17 targets were spread out on Sunday: 

  •  DeAndre Hopkins: 5 targets (29.4%)
  •  Tyjae Spears: 2 targets (11.8%)
  •  Josh Whyle: 2 targets (11.8%)
  •  Derrick Henry: 2 targets (11.8%)
  •  Chig Okonkwo: 2 targets (11.8%)
  •  Kyle Philips: 1 target (5.9%)
  •  Chris Moore: 1 target (5.9%)
  •  Nick Westbrook-Ikhine: 1 target (5.9%)
  • Jeffery Simmons: 1 target (5.9%)

Here is how the advanced analytics shaped out on Sunday for Levis: 

  • EPA/Play: -0.004 (17th of 27)
  • Success Rate: 47.8% (10th of 27)
  • CPOE: +9.4% (4th of 27)
  • Air Yards / Attempt: 7.8 (14th of 27)

Suppose you have read my pieces throughout the year. In that case, you know that we have used both the data and our eyes to determine that the ideal Tim Kelly offense is an effective zone-rushing attack paired with a potent medium-to-deep passing attack set up by play action and pre-snap motion. The concertedness to push the ball downfield paired with the fact that the Titans have trailed for the majority of the season has resulted in Ryan Tannehill and Levis both ranking top five on the season in Air Yards / Attempt. 

In Jacksonville, however, Levis averaged just 7.8 Air Yards / Attempt, and he only threw the ball 10 yards past the line of scrimmage twice in 60 minutes. Put simply, the offensive line cannot hold up long enough for Levis to push the ball downfield like Kelly wants him to, and the pass-catchers do not a) separate quickly enough, or b) consistently generate yardage after the catch to support an effective, competitive quick passing attack. While I do not think Kelly is a Kyle Shanahan-level play-caller, I simply do not think you can attribute the offensive woes to Kelly when there is essentially nothing else to scheme up with the offensive personnel he has to work with. 

As far as the rushing attack goes, the Titans were abysmal. Henry and Spears had virtually nowhere to go all day, and this resulted in a -0.172 Rush EPA (18th of 26 teams), and a 31.3 Rush Success Rate (20th of 26). The Titans averaged 4.8 yards per carry, but this number is extremely skewed due to the 38-yard end-around by Moore. This offense flat-out is not doing anything at a high level right now.

With just seven games to go and the Titans currently sitting at sixth in the 2024 NFL Draft, well within striking distance of coveted prospects like Marvin Harrison Jr. and Ola Fashanu, the franchise is at a crossroads. The 1-9 Carolina Panthers are coming to Nashville next Sunday, and the Titans opened as 4-point favorites. You are not in a good spot when your fanbase is divided on whether to root for wins or losses before Thanksgiving. 

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