Following the blow-out win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Tennessee Titans played spoiler in their home opener, upsetting the team 26-13. After holding Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to one of his worst games of the year, the Ravens gave up 358 yards to afterthought quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. They will really have to step up their game if they want to continue selling out of Ravens tickets.
As some had predicted going in, the game was initially a defensive stare-down, as each team exchanged punts, turnovers and missed scoring opportunities in the games first nine possessions. The Ravens defensive end/ outside linebacker Terrel Suggs picked off Hasselbeck on the Titans second possession, but Baltimore was unable to capitalize as quarterback Matt Flacco threw a pick of his own.
The first score of the contest came in the second quarter when the Titans drove the field against the vaunted Ravens defense, knocking in a field goal from 25 yards as the Ravens defense held deep in their own red zone. Baltimore would answer back on its very next possession, driving 81 yards in seven plays to take a 7-3 lead. Quarterback Joe Falcco found running back Ray Rice in the flat for the 31 yard score with just under five minutes remaining in the half.
With just under a minute to go, the Titans would score their first touchdown of the game, taking their drive 80 yards in nine plays and finishing it with a scoring strike from Hasselbeck to receiver Kenny Britt. Despite having less than a minute to make something happen, the Ravens returned the favor by scoring a field goal as the first half clock expired, with kicker Billy Cundiff booting one in from 41 yards out. The Ravens used a short field set up by a long kick return to get the score, as their four plays netted just seven yards.
The Ravens late second half life seemed to have given the team momentum heading into the second half, but that notion was easily dismissed when the Titans took their first two drives of the second half for ten points.
Baltimore yielded drives of 75 and 65 yards, giving up big plays through the air and significant chunks on the ground. The Titans added to their lead with their first drive of the fourth quarter, going up 23-10 on another field goal by Bironas. Baltimore’s attempts to get back in the game were thwarted by a surprisingly strong Tennessee defense. Baltimore had five drives in the second half, none of which went for a touchdown and four of which went for under 40 yards.
Flacco, who dominated in his first game against the Steelers, struggled in the second half as well, throwing his second interception of the game. While the passing struggles were evident, Baltimore finished with under 200 yards passing, its inability to mount a complimentary running game compounded the problems for the Flacco led unit. Baltimore rushed for a total 45 yards on 17 carries, as the team was forced to abandon the running game early due to its inefficiency and the deficit. Linebacker Ray Lewis had a solid game, accumulating eight tackles including one for a loss. All in all, this team will have to start playing more consistently if they want their fans to continue having interest in buying Ravens tickets.