Round 2 – Fight!
Under both coaches, the Titans were an efficient team in terms of producing points in the second quarter. There is a difference in how well each team performed. Again, it’s important to note the difference in talent on Mularkey’s team vs Whisenhunt’s roster.
The total number of points Ken Whisenhunt’s Titans scored in the second period of play is 128. In 23 games, that averages about 6 points/per 2nd quarter. Mike Mularkey’s team scored a total of 189 points. This averages to 8 points/per 2nd quarter. Both averages suggest the team led by each coach was able to produce at least a touchdown in the 2nd period of play.
Offense in the First
Whisenhunt’s team scored 15 total touchdowns in the 2nd quarter. In 9 of 23 games, the Whisenhunt led team was scoreless in the second stanza (39%). Mularkey’s team has been shut out only 4 times in the 2nd quarter (16%).
The most points Whisenhunt put up in a 2nd quarter is 21 against the Browns. Mularkey put up 24 points in the 2nd against Jacksonville.
Mularkey’s team scored 21 total 2nd quarter touchdowns. 3 of the 21 came using the same roster as Whisenhunt in 2014. That is a 14% scoring rate compared to Whisenhunt’s 65% with the same roster. Mularkey scored 18 last season in a revamped offensive unit roster wise.
What does this mean? Whisenhunt – with a worse offensive roster – only had 6 less touchdowns in 2 less games than Mularkey.
Defense in the First
Defensively, Whisenhunt’s team allowed 151 points, which was 23 points less than Mularkey-led team with 174. The Whisenhunt-led team allowed 14 opponent touchdowns in the first stanza.
The Mularkey-led team allowed 18 touchdowns in the 2nd. Whisenhunt’s team kept opponents scoreless in 3 second quarters (12%). Mularkey’s team held opponents to zero points in 5 out of 25 2nd quarters (20%). 3 of the scoreless quarters came in the last 5 weeks of the 2016 season.
The most points Whisenhunt’s team allowed in the 2nd quarter is 13 – twice. Once against the Cowboys and once against the Texans. The most points Mularkey’s team has allowed in the second is 17 – which has happened against the AFC East Jets and Patriots.
Playing from Behind and Protecting the Lead
Whisenhunt’s team was outscored in the 2nd quarter in 12 of 23 games (52%). Mularkey’s was outscored in the 2nd quarter in 9 of 25 games (36%). Whisenhunt’s record was 1- 11 in games he was outscored in the 2nd. Mularkey’s record is 1-8 when outscored in the second period of play. Both coaches only produced one win each when allowing more points in the 2nd.
Whisenhunt had a halftime lead in 10 of 23 games (43%). His record when leading at the half is 3-7. Mularkey’s team had a halftime lead in 9 of 25 games (36%). His record is 8-1 when having the lead after one half of play, with his only loss coming at the hands of the Vikings in week one of last season.
This is important to look at when comparing the two. What it reflects is Whisenhunt’s inability to consistently hold on to a lead. It also highlights Mularky’s ability to protect a halftime lead and produce wins.
Whisenhunt trailed at halftime in 13 of 23 games. His record when trailing at the half is 0-12.
Winless when trailing at half.
Mularkey trailed in 15 of 25 games. His record is 3-12 when trailing at half. What this shows is that Mularkey has a 25% chance of a comeback when his team is down at the halfway mark.
It’s not a high percentage, but it’s better than a 0% chance.
Both coaches had their offenses moving the football and putting up points in the 2nd quarter. In fact, big 2nd quarter points led to wins more times than not. If Mularkey’s team can have a lead at the half, it is almost a guarantee they win the ballgame.
***I do not claim any credit for the photographs featured above. All credit goes to respective author(s). Statistics referenced via nfl.com.***