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Titans Lose Season Opener 21-20 to Giants


NASHVILLE – The start of a new season ended with a gut-punch for the Tennessee Titans.

On NFL Kickoff Weekend, the Titans fell 21-20 to the Giants at Nissan Stadium as the team lost a second half lead, and then the game.

"Any time you lose it is a gut-punch," Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said. "We put a lot into it and got the start that we wanted to. Give (the Giants) a lot of credit – we went flat and then we weren't able to get anything going in the second half."

After falling behind late, quarterback Ryan Tannehill engineered a drive in the closing moments.

But a 47-yard field goal by kicker Randy Bullock sailed wide left at the horn and the Titans walked out of their locker room down and dejected.

"It's tough," Titans running back Derrick Henry said. "We didn't play good enough – they were the better team, and that's why they won. We didn't play up to our standards and … we have to play better in all three phases."

The Giants took the lead 21-20 with 1:06 left in the contest on a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones to Chris Myarick that was followed by a two-point conversion pass from Jones to Saquon Barkley.

With one final opportunity, the Titans couldn't get it done.

The Titans drove the ball to New York's 29-yard line, but Bullock's kick sailed left.

"I felt great going (out there) and unfortunately it didn't go through," Bullock said. "This one kick isn't going to define me. I am going to come to work and be ready to go and on to Buffalo."

Tannehill completed 20-of-33 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns in the contest, with a passer rating of 106.4

Running back Derrick Henry ran for 82 yards on 21 carries, with a long of 18.

It was running back Dontrell Hilliard who provided two of Tennessee's touchdowns on catches of seven and 23 yards.

Defensively, Bud Dupree, Rashad Weaver and Jeffery Simmons all came up with sacks, and Simmons and Weaver record two sacks apiece.

But it wasn't enough, in large part because the Titans couldn't stop the run. Barkley ran for 164 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, including a 68-yard run. As a team, the Giants ran for 238 yards.

"That's not our standard, especially up front," Simmons said. "We talk about stopping the run – that was our No.1 key defensively this week. They almost had 300 yards rushing, so that's not good enough."

The Titans didn't make it easy on themselves in this one, as they lost a 13-0 halftime lead before getting off the mat late.

Then the Giants yanked it out from under them.

The Titans took a 7-0 lead early on a seven-yard strike from Tannehill to Hilliard.

The drive was set up by a 46-yard punt return by rookie Kyle Philips, and then jumpstarted by catches from receivers Robert Woods and Treylon Burks.

The Titans took a 10-0 lead on a 46-yard field goal by Bullock, which capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive that included a 31-yard reception by Hilliard on third down.

The Titans extended their lead to 13-0 in the second quarter on another Bullock field goal, this one from 23 yards out. The drive was set up by a fumble recovery by Dupree, which was caused by a sack and forced fumble by Simmons.

But the Giants cut the lead to 13-6 on a four-yard touchdown run by Barkley, which came just a few plays after his 68-yard run put the ball at the Tennessee 22-yard line.

The Giants then tied the game at 13-13 on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Jones to receiver Sterling Shepard, who got behind Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton.

The Titans responded with a nine-play, 75-yard drive was capped off by a 23-yard touchdown toss to Hilliard, which gave the Titans a 20-13 lead with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter. Tannehill connected with Burks for a 27-yard toss on the drive, and Philips also made a 20-yard catch to set the drive in motion.

The Titans made a number of mistakes in this one, including a muffed punt by Philips that was recovered by the Giants at the Tennessee 11-yard line.

Safety Amani Hooker intercepted Jones in the end zone with 8:50 left, and the Titans avoided a disaster.

At least for the moment.

Because ultimately, it came later.

The Titans return to action next Monday night against the Bills in Buffalo.

"Losing sucks no matter when it happens," Tannehill said. "I never want to start off the season on the wrong foot, especially at home in front of your own fans. You've got to turn the page quickly though. It's a long season. It's just one game and we've got to keep that mentality to be able to take a real look at what happened, get it fixed quickly and turn the page and get ready to go for next week."

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