Offense eventually takes flight with Britt but Titans fall to Jags

Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 4:15pm
Staff reports

Kenny Britt’s 80-yard touchdown reception ended nearly three full quarters of offensive futility but was not enough to rally the Tennessee Titans to victory on Sunday.

Britt’s big play was one of the few bright spots for Tennessee in its first game under coach Mike Munchak. Running back Chris Johnson was a virtual non-factor following his preseason holdout, the defense struggled on third down and penalties were a recurring issue as the Titans fell 16-14 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Britt added a second touchdown reception with 3:34 to play, and the Titans got the ball back with 1:45 to play but had it at their own 3-yard line. They got as far as their own 46 before quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw an interception with 16 seconds remaining.

"As miserable as it was for three quarters, we made the big play to [Britt] and got the touchdown to get within two, the defense did get the stop and made them punt," Munchak said. "Then there we were, 20 yards away from a field goal attempt to win that thing."

Tennessee punted six times and managed only 89 yards on its first seven possessions before Hasselbeck, while scrambling, shot-putted the ball to Britt, who made one defender miss and ran untouched up the left sideline for a touchdown that made the score 13-7 with 2:32 to play in the third quarter.

The only drive before that which did not end with a punt was at the end of the first half. Following a couple short completions from Hasselbeck to Johnson, kicker Rob Bironas attempted a 66-yard field goal — it was well short — as time expired.

“I believe we started a little too late," Britt said. "We didn’t get it going as we wanted to enough in the first half. There were too many penalties and that goes on us. ... In the second half, once we started moving there was no stopping us.”

Britt finished with a game-high 136 yards on five receptions. It was his fifth career 100-yard game, the third in his last seven contests.

Hasselbeck was 21-34 for 263 yards and the two touchdowns in his first start for Tennessee. The late interception was the Titans’ only turnover.

Johnson finished with 24 yards rushing (he had three yards on four attempts through three quarters) and 25 yards receiving on a team-high six catches.

"We just didn’t have the opportunities," Johnson said. "On first down, we would have no gain or a yard and we would have to throw the ball. That would leave us third down and you have to throw it again, so there was not many opportunities to run the ball."

Jacksonville, conversely, held the ball for 39:38 as running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Deji Karim each ran effectively.

Jones-Drew rushed for 97 yards on 24 carries. His 21-yard touchdown run with 6:55 to play in the first quarter started the scoring and put the home team ahead to stay. Karim added 14 rushes for 33 yards.

"Their running game was real successful," cornerback Cortland Finnegan said. "I don’t think they did anything in the passing game that we weren’t expecting.  As a secondary, we have to tackle better and then get off the field.

"At the end of the day, no matter what mistakes, we still had a chance to win at the end and that’s all you can ask for. We just came up short.”

The Jaguars converted nine of 18 third-down opportunities (50 percent). The last conversion was a 26-yard completion from quarterback Luke McCown to wide receiver Mike Thomas on third-and-8 with just over three minutes to play. That allowed Jacksonville to run the clock down below the two minute warning before it punted.

Tennessee was 4-11 on third down and was called for seven penalties that cost 60 yards. Jacksonville was penalized just 39 yards on five violations.

"Statistically, we should have been blown out of the game at halftime," Munchak said. "We had very few plays — the whole game I think we only rushed the ball a dozen times — and you won’t win many games doing that.”

14 Comments on this post:

By: courier37027 on 9/11/11 at 6:57

How did the Titans lose this game? Mark, Frank and Kevin said this offensive line would open crater sized holes for Chris johnson. Also, replacing moustached Vince Lombardi with a clean cut , no nonsense Vince Lombardi would show immediate dividends.

By: Bellevue on 9/11/11 at 7:28

I hope Mike Munchak loses every game he ever coaches with the Titans. That might serve just a little justice for him firing a cancer stricken Mike Heimerdinger which in turn leaves Heimerdinger and his family with no health insurance.

By: govskeptic on 9/12/11 at 5:43

We sure have a lot of line Coaches with both offensive and defensive
experience to have played a game where both lines did so poorly!
Thanks to Kenny Britt,, who had the least experience of any of the receivers
in working with Hasselbeck, in providing the excitement of the day !

By: tytanz27 on 9/12/11 at 7:11

The end of the game showed me exactly why there is reason to be skeptical of matt hasselbeck. All we need to do is get in field goal position for one of the leagues' best field goal kickers and riverboat gambler matt hasselbeck decides to go deep and throws a pick. words cannot describe how sickening that feeling is. But, i guess all one need do is youtube hasselbecks highlights to see how often his gambling has come up bust. just ask the green bay packers....i just hope jake locker doesnt pick up this bad habit....

By: BigPapa on 9/12/11 at 7:29

Diner was on the radio about a month ago and said he is fine, he's continuing treatment and he has coverage.

I think Munch is a good guy, but the front office really didnt go out on much of a limb when they replaced Fisher. its like they didnt even look around the league, the just grabbed the next guy that was already on staff.

By: jwk6179 on 9/12/11 at 8:56

Chris Johnson REALLY EARNED his big paycheck this week!!! 4 CARRIES FOR 3 YARDS IN THE FIRST HALF AND 9 CARRIES FOR 24 YARDS OVERALL!!! What the matter, Chris, you PISSED because Adrian Petersen signed a bigger contract than you on Saturday? You going to HOLD OUT AGAIN until the Titans renegotiate your NEW CONTRACT so that you can get more MONEY than Adrian Petersen?

Everybody was stating on both 104.5 the Zone and 102.5 the Game that since Peyton Manning is out at Indianapolis and David Gerrard is gone from Jacksonville, that the Titans would dominate and win the AFC South this year. YEAH, the Titans REALLY LOOKED LIKE A DOMINATING TEAM ON SUNDAY, didn't they???

By: jwk6179 on 9/12/11 at 8:59

And the 80 yard pass play for a TD to Kenny Britt was a FLUKE PLAY. Take that away and the Titans would have REALLY LOOKED PITIFUL!!!!

By: tn.native on 9/12/11 at 12:00

It's the first game of the season with a lot of newness and a lot of bugs to be worked out. They didn't look sharp in Jacksonville. Timing was just not there.
Much was accomplished, especially getting the first stinging loss behind them, and there will be more. Next week the Ravens come to town and it being a home game might be a slight advantage. A rebuilding team needs some big plays to generate a positive attitude and boost confidence. Cj, Harper, and Ringer should all get touches as well as some play by JL. The Ravens won with room to spare
and look to be a strong team. They will make us better as this season gets underway. However, it was not nearly as ugly as Collin's debut with the Colts. ugh*

By: David_S on 9/12/11 at 12:57

While I know that it's the first game and you can't read too much into anything, what does it say about the team when the offensive line coach takes over as head coach, and your offensive line becomes the biggest problem for your team? Im not saying CJ isn't a 53 million dollar running back, but if your offensive line is going to suck as much as they did on Sunday, it's not worth paying an RB that much.

By: TITAN1 on 9/12/11 at 1:39

Jw, it is ok to call you JW, right? It was only one game. The first one with CJ. Rusty, yes, but that is to be expected after not being with the team. He is not the first to holdout and won't be the last.. They still looked better than the squealers and dolts. BTW the hags were favored by two and they won by two. Oh, and I didn't have to get that from any news media. I know its tough being a fan of an "Away" team every week, but try not to look stupid trashing the home town team. Whoops, too late.

By: jwk6179 on 9/12/11 at 2:02

I noticed OTHER Posters on here posting NEGATIVE things about the Titans, yet you say NOTHING about them! And some of THOSE ARE REGULAR POSTERS! I must have really GOTTEN under your skin, TITAN CRYBABY 1!!!!

By: jwk6179 on 9/12/11 at 2:05

And it JUST AMAZING how every member of the Nashville Sports Media were complaining about Chris Johnson's hold out before he signed a week or so back, but EVERY MEMBER of the Nashville Sports Media couldn't KISS HIS ASS fast enough the minute he resigns with the Titans!!!!

By: TITAN1 on 9/12/11 at 2:13

No JW, nobody gets under my skin. I have explained this to you before. You are a cheese head, a fan of an "Away" team every week, which is ok, but it makes you feel like a fish out of water. Then you feel like you have to trash the home town team. That is what makes you look stupid. Oh, and what have I cried about ? I pull for my home town team win or lose.

By: TITAN1 on 9/12/11 at 3:10

JW, all kidding aside. Why can't you enjoy being a Packers and Raiders fan while living here in middle Tennessee without trashing the home town team?