Titans score 21 points in 1st quarter, rout Packers 47-25

November 14, 2016

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) passes against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey gambled on the opening play, wanting to send a message to his Titans to be as aggressive as possible.

They didn't recover the onside kick.

The Titans did little else wrong the rest of the game.

Marcus Mariota threw for 295 yards and four touchdowns and the Titans routed Green Bay 47-25 Sunday.

Five different Titans scored a touchdown in the first half as Tennessee put together its best scoring performance this season with 35 points.

With the win, the Titans (5-5) also matched the five victories over the past two seasons combined.

"We felt like this was a game we had to make a statement about our team," said Mularkey, who alerted his Titans on Saturday night of trying to steal a possession at the start.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) talks with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) after the game.

The defense forced the Packers three-and-out after the onside kick. Then DeMarco Murray took the Titans' opening play from scrimmage, running 75 yards for a touchdown . He finished with 123 yards and also threw a TD pass, becoming the first non-quarterback to do that for this franchise in the same game since Earl Campbell on Sept. 7, 1980, for the then-Houston Oilers.

Brian Orakpo had two of Tennessee's five sacks, and the Titans also forced three turnovers .

The Packers (4-5) started a three-game road swing by losing their third straight. Green Bay has lost four of five in dropping below .500 for the first time since 2013 this late in the season.

"We dug ourselves a huge, huge hole, and frankly it comes down to the basics of football," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said.

"It comes down to the basics of football. We weren't nearly to the standard that we expect from one another."

Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray (29) runs the ball as offensive tackle Dennis Kelly (71) blocks Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez (50) in in the first half.

Rodgers and Mariota came into this game tied for the most TD passes in the NFL over the previous five weeks with 13. Rodgers threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns, and he also ran for another.

But Mariota completed his first 10 passes as Tennessee jumped on Green Bay, and he completed TD passes of 9, 32, 6 and 33 each to a different receiver.

Mariota has 21 TD passes this season, becoming the first Titans quarterback with at least 20 TD passes in a season since 2003 when Steve McNair threw 24 and split the NFL MVP award that year with Peyton Manning.

"To even be mentioned among Steve McNair, especially around here, is an honor," Mariota said.

Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) celebrates after scoring a touchdown on a 13-yard pass play against the Tennessee Titans in the first half.

STUNNING FIRST QUARTER

The Titans botched the first play of the game with an onside kick that went straight to the Packers. That was one of only two blemishes in the opening quarter. Tennessee outgained the Packers 231-26 in the first quarter and led 21-0. Murray cut inside left tackle Taylor Lewan and outraced everyone to the end zone for his longest TD this season, and he capped the next drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Delanie Walker.

PACKERS' HOLE

Green Bay trailed by as much as 35-10 before a late TD in the first half. It was the Packers' biggest deficit in the first half of a game started by Rodgers, topping a 21-point deficit against the Giants in 2012.


MURRAY'S DAY

The Titans running back also matched Campbell for the franchise record with a rushing TD in his fifth straight game. Campbell set the mark in 1979. Murray came into Sunday as the NFL's second-leading rusher with 807 yards and a sore toe on his right foot that limited him in practice this week. He got his fifth 100-yard rushing game this season against a Green Bay defense that had been the NFL's stingiest against the run, allowing just 75.8 yards per game.


OUT OF HERE

The Titans led only 7-0 when they lost left tackle Taylor Lewan. On the first play of their second drive, Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was flagged for going unabated to the quarterback, and Lewan was arguing with Guion when back judge Steve Freeman tried to break it up. Lewan appeared on replays to knock Freeman's hand away, and he was ejected for contacting an official. He was replaced by Dennis Kelly.

Mularkey said he alerted his team that referee Jeff Triplette's crew had ejected five players already this season.


UP NEXT:

Packers: Remain on the road, facing the Washington Redskins.

Titans: Travel to Indy to face the AFC South rival Colts.


Struggling Packers now below .500 latest in season since '13

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  Missed tackles with defenders little more than obstacles to bounce off on the way to more yards.

A kicker missing both an extra point wide left and pushing an onside kick out of bounds.

Lots and lots of penalty flags.

Aaron Rodgers, the two-time NFL MVP, wasn't immune either, missing reads and overthrowing receivers with one pass going straight to a defender.

The Green Bay Packers have lots of issues after a 47-25 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday put them below .500 for the first time this late in a season since 2013.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said they couldn't overcome falling behind 21-0 and by as much as 35-10 late in the first half before falling to 4-5.

"We understand how poorly we performed today," McCarthy said. "As a team, we're disappointed. We have higher standards than that. We have higher expectations of one another, so that's what we'll tap into and grab onto."

That 25-point deficit was Green Bay's largest in the first half of a game started by Rodgers. Now they've lost three straight and four of their past five. The previous time the Packers were below .500 this late in a season at 5-6-1 in 2013, but finished 8-7-1 to win the NFC North in 2013.

"We just didn't execute as well as we wanted to on offense and obviously in the other two phases as well," Rodgers said.

"Minnesota lost again. We're a game back. We're kind of right where we were last week. Obviously, love to be standing here after a win, but right now we've got to work on ourselves and get this thing turned around."

A franchise that has reached the postseason each of the past seven seasons has to fix some things first with two more games left on the Packers' first three-game road trip since 2012.

The Packers recovered Tennessee's onside kick to open the game and had the ball at the Titans 49 in perfect position to score. They went three-and-out with Rodgers missing Randall Cobb on a short throw on third down.

"It took a little bit to get going," Rodgers said.

Then right guard T.J. Lang hurt an ankle on the first play of the second series and was replaced by Dan Barclay. By the end of the first quarter, the Packers had just 26 yards. Rodgers had completed only two passes.

But the penalties already started piling up. The Packers finished with 12 for 107 yards.

"We had too much fight today," McCarthy said.

The Packers added a touchdown to pull within 35-16 at halftime after they already had posted the largest deficit since trailing by 21 in the first half against the New York Giants in 2012.

Rodgers threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns, and he also ran for another. Rodgers remains the only person to run for a TD this season for the Packers.

McCarthy couldn't list all the injuries after the game, which grew when left tackle David Bakhtiari hurt a knee and was replaced by rookie Jason Spriggs in the fourth quarter. That forced lots of rotations as the Packers gave up five sacks.

"It's hard emotionally," center Corey Linsley said. "It's difficult to right the ship anyway, but hard emotionally is what I am referring to. I think we have a level of trust in our locker room with a bunch of great guys that work hard. I'm confident that we will get that back."

The next stop on this road swing is a trip to Washington, and McCarthy said the Packers have been in tough spots before.

"Everything we want to accomplish big picture-wise is still in front of us," McCarthy said. "But the reality is we need to get a little healthier and we have to prepare and play better and we have to win the next game."

 
























 

Associated Press