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
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.
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
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."
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
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
"To even be mentioned among Steve McNair, especially around here, is
an honor," Mariota said.
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.
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.
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
Mularkey said he alerted his team that referee Jeff Triplette's crew
had ejected five players already this season.
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
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
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
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."