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Six Things That Stood Out

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Six Things That Stood Out for the Titans in Sunday's Win Over the Panthers


NASHVILLE – The Titans beat the Panthers 17-10 on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

Here's a look at six things that stood out from the contest:

"Mac n Cheese" Defense

Titans Coach Mike Vrabel showed the defense a funny video this week, about a Mac n cheese recipe gone wrong. The message: Keep it simple. "It was a lady, who was getting on one of her nieces, or somebody, about trying to make a TikTok recipe and it came out horrible," Titans defensive lineman Denico Autry said. "So, she was basically saying, don't make stuff up." With a simplified, stick-to-the basics defense, the Titans got after the Panthers on Sunday, sacking Panthers quarterback Bryce Young four times, and hitting him nine times, while holding Carolina to 258 yards, and only 10 points. Defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, of course, loves good defense, and Mac n cheese. "Of course I like Mac n cheese," Simmons said with a big smile. "C'mon now, I'm from the south. Throw a little collard greens in there, too."

Pass Rush

The defense was effective on Sunday, in large part, because of a consistent pass rush. Autry had two sacks, and three tackles for a loss, while Simmons had three tackles for a loss, a sack, and a fumble recovery. Edge rusher Arden Key had a sack and a forced fumble on the day. "We're getting the swagger back," Autry said. "That's what our type of ball looks like, and we have to keep it right there, steady that level of ball." Key, who was credited with two QB hits, agreed: "Today, we played with simple defensive stuff, and we played fast, we played with our hair on fire. Yeah, we were at home, with fans and stuff, but we didn't need the advanced stuff. Keep it simple, and run fast. … We came this week, and we played good."

End of Half

The Titans executed the first half in fine fashion. After taking over possession of the football at their own 38-yard line with 28 seconds left, the team managed to get into field goal range. An 18-yard pass from quarterback Will Levis to receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, followed by a spike at the Carolina 35-yard line, put kicker Nick Folk in position to kick a 53-yarder as time expired, and it gave the Titans a 17-3 lead at the break. "It was just fun to watch," Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said. "All those stuff that we talk about, cover, show and watch. That'll be us on the Friday tape this week, with the situational football. Well executed, and it was great. They changed their look, they called timeout, changed their look, went back into a different play, different defense, had the sideline covered. And Will (Levis) and the offense changed our play at the line of scrimmage, allowed for us to get inside, and got Nick (Folk) down there to get lined up for the field goal."

Levis Day

Levis made his fifth career start, and he completed 18-of-28 passes for 185 yards in the contest, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He posted a passer rating of 83.2. Levis was better in the first half, compared to the second, as 128 of his yards came in the first 30 minutes. He got away with a few throws on Sunday, but he made some big throws as well. On the team's opening scoring drive, Levis was 8-of-10 for 80 yards. "We were stagnant all second half, which is tough," Levis said. "But we just got to just focus on watching the film and learn from it. But to have a first half like that, and to play complementary football with the defense, and have that great feeling at halftime, to then go out and just kind of be meh the rest of the game sucks. We have to be able to keep it rolling and keep putting our foot on the gas and finish the types of games out."

King Henry

Titans running back Derrick Henry finished the game with 76 yards and two touchdowns, and he ripped off an 18-yard run. He found the end zone from one and 10 yards out, and was a bruiser during key stretches. A perfectionist, Henry didn't seem overly thrilled with performance after the game. One other thing I noticed: He didn't seem very happy when the Panthers delivered a vicious hit on fellow running back Tyjae Spears, and he appeared to let some of the Panthers know about it during a break in the action, as Spears was being tended to near the Carolina sideline. "I just wanted to make sure that he was ok," Henry said of Spears. "He took a big hit, and I saw a bunch of guys over there chatting, so I wanted to see what the commotion was about and checking on him and also come to his defense in that situation."

Big Time Stonehouse

I had a lot of notes scribbled down in my notepad after the game, worthy topics available for six things that stood out. But there was no way I could finish without mentioning punter Ryan Stonehouse, who impacted the game in a big way. Stonehouse punted seven times for 376 yards, a 53.7-yard average. Stonehouse had a net of 46.7 yards, and he put five of his punts down inside the 20-yard line, including punts downed at the 4, 9, 10, and the 11-yard line. His 53.7-yard average was the NFL's second-best average of the season in any game for a punter with at least seven attempts (58.6 by Cleveland's Corey Bojorquez on Nov. 5). Yes, it was another big day for Stonehouse, who recorded his fifth consecutive game with at least one punt of 60-plus yards when he clocked a 71-yard punt. It is the NFL's longest such active streak.

The Tennessee Titans take on the Carolina Panthers in Week 12 at Nissan Stadium.

The Tennessee Titans arrive at Nissan Stadium for their Week 12 Game against the Carolina Panthers.

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