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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mike Moraitis

Titans barely escape with win over Panthers: Everything we know

The Tennessee Titans (4-7) remain unbeaten at Nissan Stadium this season after barely escaping with a 17-10 win over the Carolina Panthers (1-10) in Week 12.

It was a tale of two halves for quarterback Will Levis and the Titans’ offense. After a strong start that saw the unit score 17 points over the first two quarters, things went south in a scoreless second half.

Thankfully, Tennessee’s defense was able to step up to put this one away. It was arguably the best defensive performance the Titans have seen this season, although it came against one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

While the Titans will certainly take the win, this was an ugly one and Tennessee likely loses to anyone other than the worst team in the NFL.

Now, let’s dive a bit deeper and see how the Titans notched their first win in nearly a month.

Final score: Titans 17, Panthers 10

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Team 1 2 3 4 F
CAR 0 3 7 0 10
TEN 7 10 0 0 17


Titans' top performers

Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

RB Derrick Henry: 18 CAR, 76 YDS, 2 TD

DL Jeffery Simmons: 5 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack

DL Denico Autry: 3 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sack

Instant analysis: Offense

Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

-Levis and the Titans came out firing in the first half, with the highlight being a 15-play, 91-yard drive in the first quarter in which the rookie looked sensational, making several impressive throws.

-Unfortunately, things went off the rails in the second half, with Levis struggling with inaccuracy on some fairly routine throws. He also put the ball in harms way a few times and was lucky to not get picked off. He finished 18-of-28 for 185 yards and no scores or picks.

-Tennessee’s offensive line was much better in pass protection than it has been in weeks, but bear in mind, Carolina’s pass-rush is not good. Levis only took one sack and didn’t face much pressure throughout the game. Run-blocking wasn’t good but got better as the game progressed and Derrick Henry ended up averaging a respectable 4.2 yards per carry.

-Rookie Jaelyn Duncan had some hiccups during the game but was solid overall, as was Dillon Radunz, who overcame an early sack and penalty to put together a good performance.

-The Titans were a miserable 2-11 on third downs and were successful on their lone fourth-down try. In three trips to the red zone, Tennessee found pay dirt twice.

Instant analysis: Defense

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

-This was one of the better showings from the Titans’ defense all season. Carolina averaged just three yards per carry and tallied 96 rushing yards. The Panthers’ passing attack didn’t break the 200-yard mark through the air.

-Tennessee’s pass-rush was a difference-maker in this one, with Jeffery Simmons and Arden Key each notching a sack, and Denico Autry added two. Key’s sack forced a fumble that Tennessee ultimately turned into six points. In all, the Titans’ pass-rush finished with four sacks and nine QB hits.

-Kristian Fulton was a total liability, both because of his poor coverage and penalties. Fulton was flagged three times to help Carolina extend drives, but he wasn’t the only one who had ill-timed penalties on defense. If not for those flags, the Titans probably hold Carolina to three points. Other than those issues, the secondary was mostly solid in coverage.

-The Panthers were a dreadful 6-16 on third downs and 2-3 on fourth downs. Carolina scored on its lone trip to the red zone.

Instant analysis: Special teams

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

-Nick Folk attempted just one field goal and made it from 53 yards out right before the half. He was 2-for-2 on extra points, also.

-Ryan Stonehouse was an absolute beast, per usual. He averaged 53.7 yards per punt and dropped five inside the 20, including a beautiful 71-yarder the Titans downed at the four-yard line.


Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

What's next?

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

After ending their three-game losing streak, the Titans will face a stiffer test in Week 13 when they host the Indianapolis Colts, who improved to 6-5 after a Week 12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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