NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans dropped to 1-2 after a 33-7 loss in Cincinnati at the hands of the Bengals. Jake Locker and company found success moving the ball but costly penalties and turnovers kept the Titans out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.
Total Yards – Ten: 326, Cin: 300
Passing Yards – Ten: 177, Cin: 184
Rushing Yards – Ten: 149, Cin: 116
Third Down Efficiency – Ten: 2/12 (17%), Cin: 3/9 (33%)
Penalties & Penalty Yards – Ten: 11-99, Cin: 7-50
Turnovers – Ten: 2, Cin: 1
This is a case where the statistics are deceiving. There isn't a statistical category in which the Bengals dominated the Titans. The Titans had more yards than the Bengals at halftime despite being down 19-0 on the scoreboard.
Missed field goals, untimely penalties and costly turnovers doomed the Titans Sunday. It really comes down to what Ken Whisenhunt mentioned numerous times in his postgame press conference -- this league is about making plays, and on Sunday the Titans didn't make enough of them.
Review of the 5 Things to Watch
- Getting to Andy Dalton**
Andy Dalton's jersey remained clean at the end of the game as Tennessee's defense was unable to sack the Bengals QB. George Wilson did intercept Dalton once on a tipped pass at the end of the first half, marking the first turnover for Cincinnati's offense all season.
2. Fast Start on Offense
Tennessee received the opening kickoff and put together a productive nine-play, 59-yard drive that ended in a Ryan Succop missed field goal. On that drive, Locker ran for 29 yards on 3-and-8 and converted another third down on a 23-yard pass to Delanie Walker. The drive would have given the Titans a lead and their first points in the opening quarter all season.
3. Sticking with the Ground Game
The Titans found themselves in a similar situation as last week playing catch-up. Regardless, Tennessee continues to show the ability to run the football. The Titans ran the ball for 149 yards on 28 carries for a 5.3 yard average.
Bishop Sankey was a bright spot with a career-high 61 yards on 10 carries. Locker used his legs more than we'd seen in the first two games with 50 yards on six carries, including a long of 29 yards.
- Stopping the Run**
The Titans have to feel good about the modest numbers of Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Bernard ran for just 47 yards on 14 carries and a 3.4 yards per carry average. Hill had 39 yards on seven carries. The two backs did combine for three touchdowns, but keeping both under 50 yards is a win for the defense.
5. Inactive Lists
Both Jason McCourty and A.J. Green started and played the game in its entirety. Green finished with 102 receiving yards while McCourty had five total tackles and one pass defensed.
Quote of the Game
"It's one of those things that gives you perspective. It reminds you to be thankful for the people in your life. Rob was a charismatic guy that always brought smiles to people's faces around the building. It's tough to see it happen to someone so young who was just recently married. You feel for him and his loved ones that are left behind. You just pray that his family can somehow be stronger and find a positive."
– Titans quarterback Jake Locker on the passing of Rob Bironas.