It seemed as if the worst was over for the Tennessee Titans in early November. Then came Sunday.
Kenny Britt’s two-yard touchdown reception with 1:39 to play kept the Titans from being shut out for the first time in more than two years, but they still endured the worst defeat of coach Mike Munchak’s tenure.
They fell 55-7 to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in a contest that was every bit as lopsided as the final score suggests.
"It is never easy to lose, especially like this," quarterback Jake Locker said. "You just have to keep working and find ways to overcome it and get better. There are a bunch of things that you can point to [Sunday], but it just seemed like that there were a lot of opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on."
It was the second time this season Tennessee allowed more than 50 points in a contest — a franchise first — and it raised the total allowed this season to 451, nine shy of the most in team history (1983).
A 51-20 defeat to Chicago on Nov. 4 was considered something of a turning point. Since then, Munchak’s team had gone 2-3 but two of those losses were by less than a touchdown. This was worse.
"I thought it would be a way better game than this, but it just didn't turn out," running back Chris Johnson said. "We just need to execute. The coaches can't go out there and play for us. Whatever plays they decide to call, we have to make the most out of that play."
The Titans (5-10) had 180 yards of total offense to Green Bay’s 460 and committed the game’s only two turnovers, a pair of first-quarter interceptions by Locker. In fact, at the start of the second quarter the second-year quarterback had thrown more interceptions than completions (one).
The Packers (11-4) led 20-0 at halftime and scored touchdowns on their first five second-half possessions. The longest of those drives was 80 yards in eight plays and the shortest was seven yards in one play, the latter after Tennessee allowed a 58-yard punt return.
Playing behind an offensive line that was retooled once again — Mitch Petrus at right guard and Byron Stingily at right tackle each made their first starts — Locker was sacked seven times and completed just 13 of 30 passes for 140 yards. Johnson, with 11 carries for 28 yards, had his worst performance since early October.
"In the second half, the dam broke and the Packers started to make plays on offense and started to frustrate our defense," coach Mike Munchak said. "The fact that we weren’t doing well on offense put the defense out there a lot and put them with a short field a couple of times. Then all of a sudden you saw us miss some tackles, [quarterback Aaron] Rodgers was getting the ball out of his hands quickly and they took advantage of our frustration."
Britt’s 39-yard reception was the Titans’ longest offensive play and set up his touchdown on the next snap. Those were his only two receptions.
Green Bay running back Ryan Grant rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns, and Rodgers completed 27 of 38 passes for 342 yards and touchdowns to three different receivers. He also scored the game’s first points with six-yard touchdown run that capped the Packers’ second possession.
Linebacker Erik Walden, a Middle Tennessee State product, had one of the Packers’ interceptions.
"It is important for us to go out and dominate opponents late in the year," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. "We had momentum going for us. ... We wanted to take the next step as a football team and I felt that we were able to accomplish that."
The Titans conclude the regular season at home next Sunday against Jacksonville (noon, CBS).