NASHVILLE – The Titans have a ways to go to claw back to .500, or get back into any kind of contending status.
But against the Panthers, with a 17-10 win, the team proved it's not done fighting.
"We put a lot into it," Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said of the win. "I am happy for the players, happy for the coaches, and our fans, the organization, and everybody included. You put a lot into it every week, and these games are tough, they're tight, they're close. A few plays make the difference."
The Titans ended a three-game losing streak with the win, by making just enough plays to win.
The team is now 4-7 on the season, including a perfect 4-0 at Nissan Stadium.
Rookie quarterback Will Levis, who completed 18-of-25 passes for 185 yards in the contest, hopes it's a win the team can build on.
"A win is a win," Levis said. "You talk about how hard winning in this league is, and that's one where you feel like you did it. We got it, and we have to keep building on that and keep rolling from there. It's the first time in a while we got a win, so it's a good feeling."
Titans running back Derrick Henry carried the ball 18 times for 76 yards and two touchdowns in the contest.
Defensively, the Titans sacked Panthers quarterback Bryce Young four times, while hitting him nine times. On many plays, Young found himself eluding would-be tacklers all over the field.
Defensive lineman Denico Autry had two sacks in the contest, while Jeffery Simmons and Arden Key both had a sack each in the contest.
"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."
After an impressive first half, it was a struggle to close out the Panthers.
But in the end, the Titans got it done.
The Titans took a 7-0 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Henry late in the first quarter.
The run capped a 15-play, 91-yard drive which saw Levis go 6-for-6, with completions to DeAndre Hopkins, Chris Moore (2), Josh Whyle, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and finally to tight end Chig Okonkwo, the final catch a 25-yard grab which put the ball at the one.
The Panthers cut the lead to 7-3 midway through the second quarter on a 50-yard field goal by kicker Eddy Pineiro.
Then, the Titans got a big defensive play when Key sacked Young, forcing a fumble, and Simmons recovered the loose ball on the Carolina 15-yard line.
Two plays later, Henry found the end zone again, this time on an 11-yard run, to make it 14-3 with 2:27 left in the first half.
The Titans stretched the lead to 17-3 at the half on a 53-yard field goal by kicker Nick Folk.
The Panthers cut the lead to 17-10 on their opening possession of the second half on a five-yard touchdown run by Chuba Hubbard, which capped an 11-play, 67-yard drive.
The Titans didn't score in the second half, but they were able to close it on defense.
"At the end the day, people are adding up your wins and losses, regardless of how you get them," linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair said. "The biggest thing we wanted to accomplish was finding a way to win this game. We all played complementary, and we found a way to get it done."
The Titans return to action next Sunday against the Colts at Nissan Stadium.
The team hopes it can put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
"I talked to the guys today about how we've got to get our juice back – we have to get our mojo back," Levis said. "It's tough these past few weeks, looking around after games and seeing the looks in dude's eyes – dudes that we all know our dogs – and guys that have done this year in and year out.
"Let's regain that confidence. .... I think getting the win alone is enough to do that, and hopefully we can do that, and get these guys' confidence back going into Indy."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Carolina Panthers in Week 12 at Nissan Stadium.