Titans Wins Season Opener 13-10 over Jacksonville

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The scoreboard gave Chris Brown very little indication how successful he was against Jacksonville. The silence said much more.

"When they got quiet, we knew we got 'em," Brown said.

The Jaguars were almost speechless after this one.

Brown ran for a career-high 175 yards -- more than he had all last season -- as the Titans ran roughshod over the Jacksonville Jaguars, opening their season with a 13-10 victory Sunday.

LenDale White added 66 yards on the ground, and Vince Young scrambled for 22 and a touchdown.

Tennessee finished with 282 yards rushing, the second-most in franchise history. The Houston Oilers had 296 yards against Kansas City in 1977.

The Titans also answered any questions about missing Travis Henry, who ran for more than 1,200 yards last season then signed with Denver in the offseason.

Brown and White did just fine without him.

"They didn't have an answer for us, so we just kept running the same stuff," Brown said.

Brown found gaping holes in Jacksonville's vaunted defense, making the Jaguars look either out of shape or out of position on nearly every play. Most of his big runs came up the middle as Tennessee's offensive line manhandled Pro Bowl tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson.

Defensive ends Paul Spicer, Bobby McCray and Reggie Hayward weren't much better.

"I can definitely guarantee you one thing: you ain't going to see that again," Spicer said. "You ain't going to see the defense play like that again. We pride ourselves in being one of the best, and today was one of the worst."

Stroud had offseason micro-fracture surgery on his ankle, Hayward is coming off a torn Achilles tendon, Henderson injured his shoulder before the preseason finale and Spicer missed most of training camp and the preseason with a sore back.

Coach Jack Del Rio even conceded last week that Stroud and Hayward probably would never be 100 percent again.

But the Jags refused to use the injuries as an excuse Sunday.

"They were faster, stronger, flying to the ball, blocking better," linebacker Mike Peterson said. "I don't have any answers for you. I wish I could give y'all some answers because I'm looking for some answers myself."

Jacksonville spent the entire preseason working on its passing attack, a scheme installed by new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Maybe the Jaguars should have worked on the running game, too. The were basically bottled up in this one.

Fred Taylor ran six times for 16 yards. Maurice Jones-Drew had 32 yards on seven carries. And David Garrard, who was supposed to give the team a better chance to win in the wake of Byron Leftwich's stunning departure, didn't do enough to pick up the slack.

"The Jaguars really depend on running the ball, and when they couldn't run the ball, they just couldn't move it," Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth said. "They have good receivers, but they're not a Peyton Manning-type team where they can pass all the time."

Garrard finished 17-of-30 for 204 yards and a touchdown. His best throw was to John Broussard in the first quarter, hitting him in stride for a 47-yard score and a 7-3 lead. Garrard had Jacksonville on the move several more times, but two of the drives ended without points.

Jones-Drew fumbled -- teammate Marcedes Lewis actually kicked it out of his hands -- at the 8-yard line following a fourth-quarter reception with the Jags trailing 13-10. Jacksonville also could have gone ahead 13-6 earlier in the second half with a short field goal, but they had to go for it on fourth-and-10 from the 19 because kicker Josh Scobee was injured.

Scobee strained his right quadriceps muscle during pregame warmups and was unable to kick anything other than an extra point or chip-shot field goal.

Nonetheless, Tennessee probably should have put the game out of reach before the closing minutes.

The Titans had the ball four times inside the 10-yard line, but came away with two field goals and a touchdown. Young scored on a draw from 2 yards out to make it 13-10 late in the third.

White was stopped on fourth down on the other drive inside the 10 -- one of the few plays the Jaguars made on defense. "Jacksonville is supposed to be a good run-stopping defense, but it didn't look like it today," Haynesworth said. "Chris and LenDale had great games, and I just hope it continues."

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