In Week 1 of the NFL season the Tennessee Titans traveled to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in the 50th match-up between the two teams. The Titans were seeking their 100th win in franchise history and Ken Whisenhunt was seeking his first win as the new head coach. Both team and coach got their wishes as the Titans defeated the Chiefs 26 to 10.

Jake Locker was generally solid in his regular season debut completing 22 of 33 passes for 266 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Locker took some time to settle in and his mechanics were off but he settled down and got into a rhythm in the second half. He also rushed for 14 yards on six carries. Early on he was holding onto the ball as well and he took 4 sacks for a loss of 23 yards.

Justin Hunter was the preferred target today with a grand total of 8. He would finish with three receptions for 63 yards. Nate Washington was targeted six times and finished with four receptions for 59 yards. Kendall Wright was targeted seven times with six receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown. Delanie Walker rounded out the most targeted list with four targets and three receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown.

The running backs only got four targets on the day but do not expect that to continue. Dexter McCluster and Leon Washington both targeted twice. McCluster had one reception for 17 yards while Washington had two for 11 yards.

Shonn Greene got the bulk of the carries at running back with 15 carries for 71 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Bishop Sankey did not see action until midway through the 3rd quarter. He finished with six carries for 25 yards and a 4.2 yards per carry average. Leon Washington saw time at running back and had two carries for 23 yards.

The Titans looked much improved on defense against a depleted Kansas City offense. Donnie Avery was their number one wide receiver with Dwayne Bowe out serving a one game suspension. Avery was the target on all three of quarterback Alex Smith’s interceptions.

The Titans negated the big plays and their bend but don’t break style allowed Avery to catch seven passes for 84 yards but limit the passing game. Anthony Fasano had the only touchdown of the game with a five yard touchdown pass from Smith in the 4th quarter.

The Titans kept consistent pressure on Smith who 19 of 35 for 204 yards, one touchdown and the three interceptions. He finished the game with a 45.2 passer rating. He was also sacked four times for a loss of 24 yards. He also finished the game as the Chiefs leading rusher with six carries for 36 yards.

The Titans defense was stout in the run game and limited Jamaal Charles to seven carries for 19 yards. He finished with a measly 2.7 yards per carry average and a long run of six. He caught four passes for 15 yards and was rarely a factor.

Wesley Woodyard is proving to be ultimate team captain and leader in his short stint on the Titans. He led the defense with five solo tackles, 1 sack and a tackle for a loss. He also was key in a defensive stop in the 4th quarter on an Alex Smith to Jamaal Charles swing pass. Jason McCourty had two interceptions and tipped a pass to Mike Griffin to give him one as well.

On special teams, Ryan Succop performed admirably against his old team making all four of his field goals and converting a long of 47. It was punter Brett Kern though who was the star of the kicking game outperforming Dustin Colquitt with 6 punts for 304 yards, an average of 50.7, a long of 63 and dropping three inside the 20 yard line. Coverage units and the return game still need work but with 15 more games to play there is plenty of time to get better there.

Other games notes include the Titans dominating the time of possession battle with 37:44 to the Chiefs 22:16. The Titans were two of four in field goal efficiency after being one of the best in the league there during the pre-season. Finally, the Titans were penalized 12 times for 110 yards.

Update: After looking through the gamebook again, the third down stats really stand out. The Titans on offense were 7 of 16 on third down for a 43% conversion rate. The Chiefs on offense were 1 of 12 on third down for an 8% conversion rate. Those numbers represent a big difference in the game.

Also, the Titans were very balanced on offense with 33 passing plays and 38 run plays. They had 405 total net yards to the Chiefs 245 net yards on offense. The Titans had 24 first downs while the Chiefs had 15.The Titans average pain per offensive play was 5.4 yards while the Chiefs averaged 4.4 yards per offensive play. 

Also, the Chiefs suffered two rather significant injuries during the game, losing linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive lineman Mike DiVeto to torn Achilles injuries. The Titans lost linebacker Zach Brown to a shoulder injury. 

You can find the full gamebook here.

Final score:

Titans 26

Chiefs 10

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