Monday Takeaways: Titans 26 - Chiefs 10

Monday Takeaways: Titans 26 at Chiefs 10

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It's hard to have a statement win in week one, but the Titans' performance Sunday was just short of that claim. They went into one of the toughest road venues the NFL has to offer. They played a reigning playoff team. The offense put points on the board. The defense forced turnovers.

All those things were the ingredients to a convincing 26-10 victory against the Kansas City Chiefs in Ken Whisenhunt's first game as the head coach of the Titans.

Standout Statistics

Coach Whisenhunt mentioned numerous times in his post game press conference that it was a team win and it's hard to argue. The Titans got huge contributions from the offense, defense, and special teams.

Here are some telling stats that help tell the story of the game.

Time of Possession – Ten: 37:44           KC:  22:16

Total Net Yards – Ten: 405               KC: 245

Rushing Yards – Ten: 162               KC: 67

First Downs – Ten: 24                 KC: 15

Third Downs – Ten: 7-16             KC: 1-12

Turnovers – Ten: 0                    KC: 3

Again, dominant is a strong word, but the Titans are going to win a lot of games with statistical comparisons like that.

Locker Starts Strong

Jake Locker did it all on Sunday. He made throws under duress when he had to and escaped the

pocket when the opportunity presented itself. Locker utilized his entire arsenal of weapons, completing passes to eight different targets.

The Titans QB finished with a final stat line of 22-of-33 passing for 266 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and a rating of 111.4.

His finest throw of the day came on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter. Locker found Justin Hunter deep down the right sideline, dropping the pass in between two Chiefs DB's and into the arms of his receiver for a 39-yard gain.

Penalties by the Dozen

If there's an area to nitpick the Titans performance, it was the abundance of yellow laundry thrown their direction. The Titans had 12 penalties enforced against them for 110 yards as opposed to the three penalties for 25 yards the Chiefs claimed.

Review of the 5 Things to Watch

1. Containing Jamaal Charles

The Titans didn't just contain Charles, the Chiefs running back was a complete non factor. Charles had five carries for 21 yards in the first half and went backwards in the final two quarters to finish with seven carries for 19 yards. He also caught four passes for a mere 15 yards.

The defense did a superb job of hitting Charles at the line of scrimmage and closing quickly when he caught the ball in space. For a guy who makes a living eluding tackles, the Titans were relentless in their pursuit of Charles.

Defensive coordinator Ray Horton wanted to keep Charles under 100 yards rushing. Mission accomplished with flying colors.

2. Titans O-Line vs. Chiefs Front Seven

The offensive line was given all they could handle but still provided plenty of impressive moments against the Chiefs. Locker admitted the noise at Arrowhead Stadium affected their communication at the line of scrimmage.

Locker was sacked four times and hit several times more which will be a focus going forward, but the o-line did pave the way for 162 rushing yards and a 4.3 yards per carry average.

3. Timeshare at Running Back

Whisenhunt showed confidence in all four running backs against the Chiefs. Shonn Greene was the team's leading ball carrier with 15 carries for 71 yards. Dexter McCluster ran the ball nine times for 29 yards against his old team.

Rookie Bishop Sankey didn't touch the ball until the fourth quarter, but received six carries in crucial moments when the Titans were bleeding the clock. He turned those six carries into 25 yards.

Leon Washington also carried the ball two times for 23 yards.

The number of carries will vary per week depending on the situation of the game, but it is clear that all four guys will be a part of the Titans game plan on a weekly basis.

4. McCluster and Succop Return to KC

McCluster had 46 total yards against his old team and Ryan Succop knocked home all four of his

field goal attempts (36, 31, 46, 47).

For Succop, his Titans debut couldn't have been more impressive. His kickoffs were long and his field goal attempts were dead down the middle with plenty of leg to spare. On the other side, Chiefs rookie kicker Cairo Santos made only one of his two field goal attempts with both hitting the uprights.

"This was a special game today, there's no question about it. It's something that I don't think I'll ever forget this game," said Succop following his return to KC. "You never know how things are going to go on opening day and to get off to a start like this in Arrowhead, it was special."

5. Starting Fast

The Titans offense didn't start fast, but the defense picked up the slack and then some. After all the talk of allowing opening touchdowns during the preseason, the Titans new 3-4 defense answered a lot of questions in week one.

The defense kept the Titans in the game, while the offense found it's groove, allowing only three points in the first half. Jason McCourty had two huge interceptions of Alex Smith on deep balls running step for step with Chiefs receiver Donnie Avery.

The Titans pass rush also brought new wrinkles that weren't unveiled during the exhibition season, resulting in four sacks on the day. On one third down play, cornerback Coty Sensabaugh blitzed up the middle and came in untouched for an easy sack.

Michael Griffin's late interception put a bow on a sterling day for Ray Horton's unit.

Quote of the Day:

"In order to be a great defense you have to win the third down battle. Today we did that. We had a hard time with that in the preseason, but we showed today that we can go out there and be the great defense that we know we can be." – Jurrell Casey on the performance of the defense.

The Titans will take their 1-0 record into next Sunday's home opener against the Dallas Cowboys (0-1) from LP Field.

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