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SportsPulse: The primary NFL Sunday of 2020 was once in contrast to any we had ever observed prior to. Whilst stadiums lacked fanatics there unquestionably wasn’t any loss of drama. Mackenzie Salmon overreacts to all of the greatest storylines from Week 1.

USA TODAY

DENVER — The Tennessee Titans returned to the scene in their 2019 nightmare, this time armed with a made over offense and the largest prize in loose company.

But in addition, the similar deadly flaw that haunted them in 2019. 

Despite that flaw — horrific box function kicking — the Titans someway, somehow pulled out a 16-14 win towards the Denver Broncos on “Monday Evening Soccer” about 11 months after when they have been close out at Empower Box at Mile Prime.

Because the fourth quarter spread out, the Titans protection endured to get a hold of stops to present the offense probabilities to re-take the lead. On their ultimate force, Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill marched the offense into box function vary to present Stephen Gostkowski his fourth box function strive — after he had overlooked his first 3.

Lo and behold, Gostkowski was once excellent from 25 yards and the Titans moved to 1-Zero in essentially the most implausible of the way.

Tannehill had two landing passes that went to tight ends MyCole Pruitt and Jonnu Smith, each from throughout the pink zone. He orchestrated a 12-play, 67-yard force to position Gostkowski in place for the profitable box function.

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Listed here are 5 observations from the opener:

Kicking nightmare continues

In 2019, the Titans have been abysmal kicking box objectives, completing remaining within the league in makes (8) and remaining in proportion (44.four%).

The nightmare lived on Monday as Stephen Gostkowski, signed previous this month by means of the group, overlooked his first two kicks of the night time from 47 and 44 yards, respectively. His 2nd kick was once in part blocked.

Then, in the second one half of, Gostkowski overlooked a 3rd time, this time from 42 yards away. He later overlooked an additional level.

It was once Gostkowski’s 205th profession regular-season sport, and his first with 3 overlooked box objectives.

No 12th guy

The Broncos entered Monday’s sport as winners of 18 in their remaining 20 house video games, a testomony to their house crowd.

However that issue was once mitigated by means of a fan-less Empower Box at Mile Prime. Cardboard cutouts stuffed the stands prior to the top zones, however the stands have been in a different way empty.

Each groups’ entrances have been accompanied by means of silence — regardless of the general public cope with announcer announcing, “Lovers, to your ft in your 2020 Denver Broncos!” with tongue-in-cheek.

Corey Davis appears motivated

The Titans declined to pick out up the fifth-year possibility on Corey Davis, which means the broad receiver will hit loose company for the primary time subsequent offseason.

Davis was once in large part upstaged by means of then-rookie A.J. Brown remaining season, however on Monday, Davis served as Ryan Tannehill’s most sensible goal. He stuck 3 passes over the center, every for giant chunks of yardage. At the group’s ultimate force of the half of, his toe-tapping catch close to the sideline was once first of all dominated incomplete prior to the decision was once overturned.

Davis completed with 8 catches for 101 yards, which is greater than he had in any sport in 2019.

Rashaan Evans ejected

Rashaan Evans misplaced his composure within the first quarter of the Titans’ season-opening sport towards the Broncos, and it price him.

The Titans’ third-year inside of linebacker was once disqualified from the sport after throwing a punch at Denver tight finish Jake Butt following a play. Will Compton changed him.

Consequences have been an issue early for the Titans; they dedicated 4 within the first quarter.

Protection delivers within the snatch — however has one key flub

A few key moments by means of the protection helped the Titans stay in a tie at 7 by means of halftime.

The Titans’ first-half rating — a 1-yard crowning glory from Tannehill to MyCole Pruitt — was once preceded by means of a turnover by means of the protection. Kevin Byard compelled a fumble and Jeffery Simmons recovered it to set the Titans up close to the pink zone. Later in the second one quarter, the Broncos had a primary down on the Titans’ 2-yard line, however 4 instantly stops by means of the protection compelled a turnover on downs.

Towards the top of the 0.33 quarter, the protection faltered. After the Titans had scored a landing to move up 13-6, the Broncos used a nine-play, 75-yard force to take a 14-13 lead early within the fourth quarter.

However the unit gave the offense a shot past due two times, forcing two punts throughout the ultimate 5 mins.

Of word, just lately signed edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney was once impactful in an instant. Signed previous this month to a one-year deal, Clowney seemed proper at house in Vrabel’s protection. The 27-year-old performed was once at the box for the unit’s first 11 performs and equipped a direct have an effect on. He had 3 overall tackles, together with a take on for a loss, and a quarterback hurry by means of halftime.

Apply The Tennessean’s Eric Bacharach on Twitter @ErikBacharach.

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