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In showdown with Texans, rested Titans fail to show

In showdown with Texans, rested Titans fail to show
In showdown with Texans, rested Titans fail to show | In showdown with Texans, rested Titans fail to show
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
NASHVILLE — Due to a bye, the Tennessee Titans didn’t play last week.
They essentially didn’t show up Sunday either, for reasons unknown.
Hosting Houston for sole possession of the AFC South Division lead, the Titans laid an egg — embarrassed by the Texans in a 41-7 rout before a largely-displeased LP Field crowd.
Tennessee fans began booing in the second quarter and started filing out of the stadium early in the fourth when their team fell behind by four touchdowns and showed little in the way of fight or resistance to Houston’s dominance.
It marked the second straight lopsided loss by the Titans, who began the year by winning three of their first four games.
“It was clear they’re better than us in every category that you can bring up,” Tennessee head coach Mike Munchak understated after the lopsided loss. “After the first couple of possessions, we just weren’t very competitive.
“We’re not happy at all with the product we put on the field today.”
Former University of Tennessee standout Arian Foster ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns and had another 119 yards receiving with a third score as Houston racked up 518 total yards in dominating the Titans in every statistical category — including a decided time of possession advantage of more than 14 minutes.
Foster’s scoring runs came from one and five yards, respectively, and his receiving TD covered 78 yards off a well-designed bootleg that was set up by Houston’s successful run game.
Backup running back Ben Tate totaled 104 yards, marking the first time in their brief 10-year history that the Texans have had two 100-yard rushers in the same game.
Houston quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 296 yards and two TDs on 18-of-23 passing and directed an offense that scored on six of seven possessions after being shut out on its first two series.
On the flip-side, much-maligned Titan running back Chris Johnson — who held out before signing a $53 million contract extension — was booed early and often as his season-long struggles continued. Johnson gained just 18 yards on 10 rushes and was part of a anemic offense that produced just 148 yards in all.
Tennessee QB Matt Hasselbeck missed his first four passes and never discovered the rhythm that he displayed in his team’s quick start to the season. One of his two interceptions was returned 38 yards for a touchdown by Brice McCain with 9:28 to play that sent what was remaining of the Titan fans scurrying toward the exits.
Hasselbeck completed just 14-of-30 passes in all for 104 yards. He did have a hand in Tennessee’s lone score, a five-yard pass on fourth down to tight-end Jared Cook with 5:34 showing in the third period.
“We have got a lot to fix,” Munchak added. “It’s on all of us, coaches, players. That’s not us, and we have to improve.
The Titans (3-3) will host winless Indianapolis — sans favorite Tennessee native son Peyton Manning — next week.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 10.24.11

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