Titans' Tailbacks Run Clinic In Colossal Romp Of Lions

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DETROIT -- The Tennessee Titans wanted to re-establish the run to get back on track after losing for the first time.

The Detroit Lions were very accommodating.

Chris Johnson ran for 125 yards and scored twice in the first quarter and LenDale White had two touchdowns in the second and finished with 106 yards rushing, setting up Tennessee for a 47-10 win over Detroit on Thursday.

"It's nice to be able to do what you set out to do," coach Jeff Fisher said. "Both backs got a lot of yards on their own, but they got a lot of help up front."

Johnson was untouched on a short run to the outside and a long gain up the middle.

The two plays were symbolic of the canyon-like gap between the once-beaten Titans and the winless Lions.

Tennessee (11-1) bounced back from its 21-point loss at home to the New York Jets quickly, surging to a 28-3 lead early in the second quarter.

"We hit the first punch and they fell," White said.

With a 34-point lead midway through the fourth, quarterback Vince Young played for the first time since spraining his left knee in the opener. He skipped a scheduled MRI exam a day later, then prompted a police search when he panicked someone by taking off hours later without his cell phone.

"I'm good," Young said as he walked away from reporters. "I'll talk about it Monday."

The Lions (0-12) moved a step closer to becoming the NFL's first 0-16 team, losing by a franchise-worst 37 points and giving up a franchise-record 47 points in their 69th game on Thanksgiving.

"We only confirmed what everybody was thinking about us as far as outside of Detroit and in Detroit," kicker Jason Hanson said. "I know everybody in here feels embarrassed that we did that on national TV."

Coach Rod Marinelli refused to acknowledge he was embarrassed, insisting the Lions were only beaten.

"We got handled in all areas -- coaches, players, offense, defense, special teams," Marinelli said.

The Lions fell to 10-34 in nearly three seasons under Marinelli and lost for the 19th time in 20 games, leading to more questions about whether he deserves to keep his job.

Marinelli said he doesn't expect to be fired.

"The record doesn't show it, but I have great belief in myself," Marinelli insisted.

Six teams have lost at least their first 12 games since Tampa Bay finished 0-14 in 1976 and the Lions have done it twice. They started 0-12 in 2001 before beating the Minnesota Vikings, who play Dec. 7 at Detroit.

The Lions finish at Indianapolis, against New Orleans and at Green Bay.

"We are desperate for a win," said quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who was benched for the third time in four games.

It was a rare nationally televised game for both teams and it didn't take long for the nation to witness why Tennessee is terrific and Detroit is awful.

Did the Titans prove anything to their doubters?

"No, because people are going to say, 'It was just Detroit,'" cornerback Nick Harper said.

The game was essentially over in the opening minutes.

Wide receiver Shaun McDonald fumbled on Detroit's second play from scrimmage and Tennessee needed just two snaps to take the lead. Two plays later, Johnson had so much room on a 6-yard run to the left that pulling guard Eugene Amano didn't have anybody to block.

"When I got to the outside, there was no one there," Amano said. "I had to turn around to find somebody to hit."

Johnson took a handoff up the middle on the fourth play of Tennessee's next drive, ran through a huge hole and sprinted past helpless safety Dwight Smith to make it 14-3.

Backup defensive tackle Dave Ball got in on the fun by returning an interception 15 yards for a score, capping it by leaping over the goal line and flapping his arms like a turkey.

"The last time I scored a touchdown was my junior year in high school, so I'm not exactly a frequent visitor to the end zone," Ball said.

The Lions continued to hurt themselves on the ensuing possession, getting called for delay of game after calling a timeout.

White added TD runs of 6 and 2 yards to make it 35-3 late in the first half.

Tennessee's Kerry Collins made a rare mistake, fumbling as he dropped back to pass to set up Detroit's only touchdown.

Young helped Rob Bironas get in position for his fourth field goal by tossing a short pass to fullback Ahmard Hall and watching him outrace defenders as if he was an Olympic sprinter for a 54-yard gain.

Culpepper was 13-of-26 for 134 yards with a TD and an interception.

Drew Henson replaced him late in the fourth quarter, playing for the first time since his appearance with the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving in 2004 and becoming Detroit's fifth quarterback to take a snap during its miserable season.


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