Monday, September 15, 2014

Cowboys spoil Titans' home opener

Using a dominating first half, Dallas handed Tennessee a 26-10 loss at LP field.

Quarterback Jake Locker and the Titans offense struggled in the first two quarters. And although they put together a couple of drives in the second half, it was way too little to comeback against Dallas.

What it means: Both teams are 1-1 after two weeks. After an impressive season-opening win at Kansas City, the Titans struggled offensively in the first half against the Cowboys and could not recover.

The Titans now face two consecutive tough road games: At Cincinnati on Sept. 21, then at Indianapolis on Sept. 28.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "I was disappointed we did not player better today, especially at home. It really hurts and we got a lot of things that we can correct and work on from this game. So, too many mistakes in the first half. I think one of the things that really hurt was when we forced the turnover and we did nothing with it. Of course, getting 0-for-third downs in the first half that's not something that is characteristic of us."

The player quote: "This is the hard fall off the high horse. We are going to get this fixed," Bernard Pollard.

First half to forget: The Cowboys held edges in: time of possession (21:41 to 8:19), total yardage (209-68), rushing yards (140-44), total plays (40-21), first downs (15-2).

The lopsided final stats: Dallas held a huge edge in time of possession (41:11-18:49). and in total plays (76-49).

Turning point: After the Titans trimmed a 16-0 halftime deficit to 16-10, the Cowboys went on a 12-play 80-yard scoring drive to push ahead 23-10. Dez Bryant capped the drive with a 3-yard TD reception from Tony Romo.

Titans MVP: Tight end Delanie Walker had a career day. He had 10 catches for 142 yards, including a 61-yard TD reception. On the score,he caught the ball, bounced off Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne, then outraced four Dallas defenders into the end zone.

Cowboys MVP: There was one in each half. Running back DeMarco Murray controlled the first half, running 17 times for 115 yards and a 3-yard touchdown run. He finished the day with 167 yards. In the second half, wide receiver Dez Bryant dominated the action, especially in the third quarter when the Cowboys thwarted the Titans' comeback with a long 80-yard scoring drive. Bryant had five catches for 57 yards, including a 3-yard TD catch in the third quarter. He finished with 10 receptions for 103 yards.

Final Titans statistics: Locker completed 18 of 34 passes for 234 yards, one TD and two interceptions. He targeted Walker 14 times. No other receiver had more than three receptions (Kendall Wright, 3; Justin Hunter, 2).

Locker was sacked twice. Shonn Greene led the ground game with five rushes and 40 yards. The Titans running attack had just 13 carries for 82 yards. Bernard Pollard had a team-high 11 tackles, while Jurrell Casey had two of the Titans' four sacks.

Notable Cowboys statistics: Romo completed 19 of 29 passes for 176 yards. He targeted Bryant with 14 of those passes. Tight end Jason Witten was targeted seven times. He caught four passes for 32 yards.

Stopping the run: The Titans will need to find a way to stop the run before they visit Cincinnati next week. The Bengals ran 45 times for 170 yards in their win over Arizona. Giovani Bernard had 27 carries for 90 yards and a TD on Sunday.

The series: The Cowboys lead the series 8-6.

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