NASHVILLE – An ugly start for the Packers on Sunday at Nissan Field in Nashville has them staring up at a 21-0 deficit to the Titans after one quarter.
The Packers blew a golden opportunity to start the game, and things only got worse.
The Titans won the toss and deferred to the second half but then tried an onside kick to start the game. Packers LB Joe Thomas recovered at the Tennessee 49-yard line, but the offense went three-and-out, as QB Aaron Rodgers threw low and behind an open WR Randall Cobb on third down.
On the punt, CB Demetri Goodson nearly downed it at the 1-yard line, but his body touched the goal line, and the Titans were awarded a touchback. Packers LB Jake Ryan then exited the game with an ankle injury.
After an offside penalty, Titans RB DeMarco Murray then ran 75 yards for a touchdown on Tennessee’s first offensive play.
The Packers managed one first down on a 20-yard pass to WR Jordy Nelson, but a false start and a sack – against a three-man rush – stalled the next series and the Packers had to punt. G T.J. Lang also left the game with an ankle injury.
Tennessee’s next drive started in an ugly fashion. Packers DT Letroy Guion jumped the snap and was offside, and he also hit QB Marcus Mariota in the backfield. Titans T Taylor Lewan, in getting upset, then made contact with an official and was ejected from the game. The two 15-yard penalties were a wash yardage-wise, but because Lewan’s was after the initial call, the Titans began with first-and-25 on their own 15.
It didn’t matter. The Titans still converted on a 10-yard run by Murray and a 21-yard pass to WR Tajae Sharpe. Mariota followed with a completion to TE Delanie Walker, who beat the coverage of S Kentrell Brice and shook his tackle attempt to go 41 yards in all, down to the Green Bay 12. Two plays later, Murray threw a halfback pass to Walker for a 10-yard TD, and the Titans had a 14-0 lead with 6:58 left in the first.
The Packers didn’t respond, going three-and-out, with Rodgers getting sacked on third down for the second time in the game, this time by blitzing S Kevin Byard.
The Titans kept on moving. A pair of 14-yard completions to Walker moved the chains twice, and Packers S Morgan Burnett was slow to get up after the second one. A 9-yard pass to WR Rishard Matthews preceded another completion to Walker, for 19 yards to make it first-and-goal on the 9, and Mariota lofted a TD pass to a wide-open TE Anthony Fasano. The Titans led 21-0 with 8 seconds left in the quarter.