NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Ken Whisenhunt's first regular season game from the Titans sideline at LP Field was spoiled by a dominant Dallas Cowboys (1-1) running game as the Titans fell to 1-1 with a 26-10 loss on Sunday.
As was the case last week, the team stats pretty much tell the story of the game.
Time of Possession – Ten: 18:49 Dal: 41:11
Rushing Yards – Ten: 82 Dal: 220
First Downs – Ten: 13 Dal: 26
Third Down Efficiency – Ten: 2-10 (20%) Dal: 9-16 (56%)
Turnovers – Ten: 2 Dal: 1
Those four stats usually tell the winner and Sunday was no different. The Titans won all four of those categories against Kansas City by a considerable margin in their season-opening win. This week was a much different story.
Delanie Walker's Banner Day
The Titans tight end had a career-day against the Cowboys, tying his career high with 10 receptions for a career-high 142 yards and one touchdown. The score was a beastly 61-yard catch and run in which he bounced off a would-be tackler trying to make a big hit before racing to the goal line.
Last week the Cowboys allowed two touchdowns to 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, so the Titans knew they had a good matchup with Walker in the middle of the field.
Sunday was the first time Walker has crossed the 100-yard milestone in a game.
Too Much Murray
Cowboys running back Demarco Murray had a huge day rushing with 167 yards on 29 carries (5.8 avg.) and one touchdown. That included 115 yards in the first half alone. On one scoring drive, the Cowboys gave the ball to Murray on all four plays and he took it 40 yards into the end zone.
5 Things to Watch
1. A Defensive Encore
The Titans defense didn't replicate their week one performance, but I'd argue that it wasn't as bad as many might make it out to be. Yes, they allowed Murray to have a big day, but they kept Tony Romo under 200 yards passing and no receiver other than Dez Bryant had more than 32 yards receiving.
Jurrell Casey also recorded his first two sacks of the season with the Titans totaling four sacks on the day. Given the fact that they were on the field for 41:11 (more than two thirds of the game), it could have been much worse.
2. Offense Starting Fast
The Tennessee Titans battle the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2 action at LP Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
For the second consecutive week, Tennessee's offense struggled out of the gate. The Cowboys shut out the Titans in the first half and held Tennessee to just 10 points on the day.
The Titans have yet to score in the first quarter, which has put a massive amount of pressure on the defense.
"Too many mistakes in the first half," said head coach Ken Whisenhunt regarding the first half struggles. "I think one of the things that really hurt was when we forced the turnover and we did nothing with it. Of course, getting 0-for-third downs in the first half is not something that's characteristic of us."
. Keeping Penalties to a Minimum **
After 12 penalties a week ago, the Titans kept it to just five this week for 69 yards. Tennessee did have another untimely penalty with a pass interference call going against corner Blidi Wreh-Wilson on a third down to keep a Dallas possession alive.
4. Running Back Time Share
The Titans' slow start offensively made it difficult to get anyone going on the ground. Shonn Greene did have an impressive 40 yards on five carries, but didn't touch the ball in the second half.
Dexter McCluster added four carries for 30 yards and Bishop Sankey had two carries for three yards.
5. Keeping Jake Locker Upright
The offensive line did a much better job protecting their QB. Locker was only sacked twice for two yards and both of those could arguably be considered coverage sacks. The Titans QB took four total hits, half of the eight knockdowns he absorbed last week.