DENVER — Call it a Mile High Mistake-fest.
The Tennessee Titans could not overcome their own defensive and special teams lapses, wasting a career night from quarterback Vince Young and losing 34-20 to the Denver Broncos in the process.
In the end, forced to play catch-up, even Young suffered two interceptions, despite a career-best 305-yard night on 26 of 41 passing.
The Titans dug themselves an early 14-0 hole against the Denver Broncos, thanks to a defensive breakdown, followed by a special teams collapse and could never climb the mountain in the Mile High City.
Denver didn’t need long to march downfield to score on its first possession. The Brocnos first gashed the Titans defense that was missing Albert Haynesworth with the rushing Selvin Young for four of the first five plays. Then former Vanderbilt star Jay Cutler capped the six-play, 80-yard march with a 48-yard strike to Brandon Stokley, who broke free from safety Chris Hope when Cutler scrambled right and outran the Titans secondary into the end zone with 5:13 to play for a quick 7-0 lead.
After the Titans went three and out, Tennessee’s special teams had a breakdown, allowing Glenn Martinez to go 80 yards to make the score 14-0 Broncos at the 3:33 mark of the first quarter.
Young’s play was the Titans' most encouraging part of the first half. The struggling signal-caller completed 15 of 22 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown and added 41 yards rushing on seven attempts in the half.
The Titans finally struck with a 9-play, 65-yard drive engineered by the rushing and passing of Young. Young hit Brandon Jones for a 21-yard touchdown pass. In the drive, Young ran three times for 20 yards and completed 4 of 4 passes for 55 yards.
Denver answered that drive, however, tacking on a 21-yard Jason Elam field goal after a pass interference call on Cortland Finnegan of 37 yards against Stokley that gave Denver the ball at the Titans 11.
Young, who easily enjoyed his best half of football this season by completing 12 of 15 passes for 122 yards, marched Tennessee to the Broncos 27, but LenDale White fumbled the ball, opening the door for another Denver scoring drive. Elam cashed in from 39 yards out to push the Broncos lead back to 13 points with 1:51 to play in the first half.
In the second half, the Titans closed to within 27-20 on Bironas’ 37-yard field goal, but the defense gave it right back on the next possession, when a missed Reynaldo Hill tackle became a 62-yard touchdown gallop for backup tailback Andre Hall.
Tennessee still had life late thanks to Young, but an interception by Dre’ Bly with five minutes to play sealed the game for the Broncos, who improve to 5-5.
The Titans fall to 6-4 and into third place in the AFC South, just a game ahead of last-place Houston.