Tennessee Titans Fall In The Dawg Pound 28-14


14. 35. Final. 28. 53

The Tennessee Titans went down to defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns 28-14 on Sunday afternoon at First Energy Stadium on the shores of Lake Erie.

Three turnovers and seven sacks of rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota along with three daggers from the Brown’s Travis Benjamin were at the heart of the Browns first win of the season and the Titans first loss.

After a Terrance West Fumble early in the game, Browns starting quarterback, Johnny Manziel broke containment and found the speedy Benjamin for the first of two bombs on the day.

The play was a 60 yard touchdown that found cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson turning the wrong direction and getting beaten badly for the touchdown.

Just before halftime, with score 7-0 and the Titans beginning to move the football, Benjamin put the second dagger in the Titans with a 78 yard punt return for a score. The Travis Coons extra point sent the Titans to the locker-room down 14 points.

Manziel broke containment again late in the game, after the Titans got to within one score at 21-14, Blidi Wreh-Wilson turned the wrong way again, and Travis Benjamin caught another bomb for a 50 yards and another touchdown.

The touchdown put the final dagger in the Titans after a gimpy Marcus Mariota had mounted a comeback with a 13 yard strike to Dorial Green-Beckahm in the back of the end-zone.

It was Green-Beckham’s first NFL touchdown, and showed head coach Ken Whisenhunt that he made a great draft-day decision to take troubled receiver from Missouri.

Mariota ended the day hitting on 21 of 37 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns. He was able to turn a 62.2 halftime passer rating into a 96.3 rating by the end of the game.

The big story in the loss at the Dawg Pound on Sunday was turnovers and penalties. The turnovers came because of seven Mariota sacks and three lost fumbles. Nine penalties for a loss of 85 yards didn’t help.

It was evident early in the game that the offensive line couldn’t protect Mariota, and the inability to move the ball on the ground kept the rookie running for his life.

Left tackle, Taylor Lewan told Titans Online Editor, Jim Wyatt:

Titans tackle Taylor Lewan called the overall play of the offensive line “disgusting” following a game when Mariota was sacked seven times, and hit on many other occasions.

Other offensive linemen agreed.

“Overall, it was just bad football,’’ guard Byron Bell said. “We have to clean things up. We had way too many penalties. What happened today was unacceptable, man. We have to give our quarterback confidence, and if he thinks he’s going to get hit every time he touches the ball…

The Titans began to move the football on the ground when Whisenhunt put Dexter McCluster in the backfield.

McCluster carried the ball ten times for 98 yards and was the spark plug that got the offense moving the chains. McCluster also caught four passes for 26 yards.

Marcus Mariota ran the ball three times for 19 yards and Bishop Sankey carried it 12 times for 42 yards. Terrance West had three carries for 10 yards and the fumble that set the Browns up for their first score.

Two things impressed me in this game.

First and foremost, after Marcus Mariota hurt his ankle during a first-quarter sack where he lost shoe, helmet and the ball, he got up and led this team to a comeback that fell short.

I think Mariota’s toughness was what kept this team fighting, and in this game.

Secondly, too many times last year the team got down after getting behind, and on this Sunday in one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, these Tennessee Titans didn’t quit!

After two consecutive home openers on the road, the Titans are 1-1 and heading home to take on the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday.

Next: Titans vs Browns Q&A with The Dawg Pound Daily

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