NASHVILLE – The Titans lost to the Carolina Panthers 30-20 on Sunday in Charlotte.
Here's a look at six things that stood out from the game as the team begins to turn its attention to the Kansas City Chiefs.
A recurring problem showed up again on Sunday – the team's troubling tendency to get off to a slow start. For the fourth time in nine games this season, the Titans were shut out in the first half. The good news from Sunday is the team showed a lot more life in the second half compared to eventual losses against the Jaguars (20-7), Bills (14-7) and Broncos (16-0). Still, it wasn't enough.
One player who came out ready to play was second-year linebacker Harold Landry, who had a sack and an interception while sniffing out a play in the backfield for a loss as well. Landry was credited with eight tackles and two tackles for a loss in addition to his big plays. He's now up to six sacks on the season.
The Titans were forced to play perfect football down the stretch to have a chance because they were far from perfect most of the contest. The team committed 11 penalties for 99 yards on a day when Dion Lewis lost a fumble, receiver A.J. Brown let a ball go off his hands that was intercepted, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw an ugly pick. And I haven't even gotten to the missed field goals yet.
The usually dependable Ryan Succop was 0-for-3 in his return from Injured Reserve on Sunday, and the misses killed momentum and any chance to win the game late. The Titans have been doomed in the kicking game this season, as kicker Cairo Santos (4-9 FGs, 12-12 PATs) Cody Parkey (3-3 FGSs, 5-6 PATs), and Succop (0-3 FGs, 2-2 PATs) are a combined 7-of-15 on field goal tries.
There was a time when I thought the Titans might get back in Sunday's game. After an eight-yard touchdown run by Derrick Henry cut the lead to 17-7, the Titans defense got a stop. But the Panthers kept the ball and drove for a score after successfully executing a fake punt on fourth-and-four. What made it more painful was the fact safety Dane Cruikshank and linebacker David Long were in a position to stop it and couldn't get the runner on the ground before he got a first down. It was a momentum killer.
Derrick Henry in 2nd Half
I mentioned Henry's eight-yard touchdown run. He also scored on a 23-yard touchdown toss from Tannehill in a second half when he had 59 of his 63 rushing yards on the game. Henry was a force with the football in his hands against the Panthers, moving piles and running angry. He was hardly utilized in the first half, however. And as Forrest Gump might say, that's all I have to say about that.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Carolina Panthers in Week 9 of the 2019 season at Bank of America Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)