NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The last time the Tennessee Titans had a first half at home like they did Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, they were the Houston Oilers.
The Packers allowed 35 points before halftime, including touchdowns on the Titans’ opening four possessions, putting themselves in a hole they never could climb out of. With their season potentially teetering on the brink, a lifeless performance led to a 47-25 loss.
The Titans hadn’t scored 35 points before halftime in a game since Oct. 6, 1991. Back then, Warren Moon was their quarterback.
For the Packers, it was the first time allowing 35 first-half points since Dec. 5, 2004, at the Philadelphia Eagles.
BOX SCORE: Titans 47, Packers 25
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The Packers dropped to 4-5. It is the first time they’ve been under .500 this late into the season with a healthy Aaron Rodgers since his first season as the team’s starting quarterback in 2008.
The loss signaled a collapse of all three phases. Though the offense showed more life after the first quarter, they were held to a three-and-out after their opening possession started at the Titans’ 49-yard line because of Tennessee’s unsuccessful, surprise onside kick. Punt returner Trevor Davis muffed a punt that led to a touchdown in the second quarter, and kicker Mason Crosby missed an extra point.
But it was the defense that was particularly bad. The Titans finished with 447 yards. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was 19-of-26 for 295 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.DeMarco Murray became the second running back to cross the 100-yard mark against the Packers this season (17 carries, 123 yards), joining Dallas Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott.
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Here are some observations:
- The Packers' defense struggled from the very first play. Actually, it was before their first play. Defensive tackle Mike Daniels jumped offside, setting up first-and-5 from the Titans’ 25-yard line. Murray then dashed 75 yards for a touchdown on the first snap. It was a sign of problems to come. The Packers entered as the NFL’s second-best run defense, allowing 75.8 yards per game. They allowed 163 yards on 29 carries (a 5.6-yard average) against the Titans, the league’s third-best run offense. To put it another way, the Packers allowed their season per-game average on the first play.
- The Packers' offense finished with some inflated numbers. Aaron Rodgers was 31-for-51 (60.7 percent) with 371 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Davante Adams (six catches, 156 yards) and Jordy Nelson (12 catches, 126 yards and a touchdown) crossed the century mark. After initially opening with their traditional offense, complete with a commitment to the run, the Packers reverted back to their quick passing game that has succeeded at times this season. It worked once again, but it also made you wonder why coach Mike McCarthy hasn’t stuck with the quick-passing game consistently.
- Things got chippy midway through the third quarter. After Rodgers’ 20-yard touchdown run, Titans safety Perrish Cox delivered a hit 3 yards past the goal line. Rodgers went flying, and Adams quickly came running in to shove Cox. Players from both teams formed a scrum behind the end zone, but nobody was ejected. Cox was the only player called for a personal foul penalty.
- Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan was ejected in the first quarter for making contact with an official. It was during a brief brush up with Daniels after fellow defensive lineman Letroy Guion jumped offside and hit Mariota.
- Right guard T.J. Lang and inside linebacker Jake Ryan both departed early with ankle injuries. Ryan injured his ankle covering a punt. Left tackle David Bakhtiari later left with a knee injury. The injuries have started to wear thin the Packers offensive line, which had been a strength. Rodgers was sacked five times Sunday.
- James Starks returned from a knee injury, playing his first game since the Packers played the New York Giants on Oct. 9. He had seven carries for 33 yards. With Starks back, Ty Montgomery had a complementary role in the backfield, finishing with 9 yards on 3 carries.