Titans down ’Hawks

By PATRICK MacCOON Sports Writer
Posted 9/25/17

The Seattle Seahawks defense looked lockdown for much of the first half, but once again the Tennessee Titans offense steam-rolled its way through the second half for the second straight …

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Titans down ’Hawks

Posted

The Seattle Seahawks defense looked lockdown for much of the first half, but once again the Tennessee Titans offense steam-rolled its way through the second half for the second straight week.

DeMarco Murray silenced any doubt about his hamstring, as the three-time Pro Bowl running back tied his career longest run with a 75-yard touchdown scamper with 1:34 left in the third quarter.

Murray rushed for a season-high 115 yards on 14 carries to help lead Tennessee to a 33-27 victory, which left Seattle feeling gassed Sunday evening at Nissan Stadium.

The Seahawks’ (1-2) usually tough-to-break run defense surrendered 195 rushing yards, over 100 yards more than what it held opponents to last season when the longest run it allowed was 34 yards.

Thanks to extra blockers downfield as well on Murray’s big breakthrough, his score provided the difference.

Seattle’s day came to a conclusion with its 11th penalty of the game.

“We needed a big run because we haven’t had one like that this year,” Titans head coach Mike Mularkey said after his team improved to 2-1. “I knew DeMarco was ready to go on Friday when I talked to him. This is a good defense. It’s a really good defense up front, very stout. Seattle has been that way for years. I didn’t have any doubt though when DeMarco looked me in the eye and said he was ready to go.”

While Derrick Henry had taken over in the second half in a 37-16 road win over Jacksonville after Murray left with a minor hamstring injury, it was the veteran who rushed for 91 yards in the second half to seal a big victory.

Henry still split time with Murray, as the two switched off drives most of the game, and finished with 54 rushing yards on 13 carries.

The last time Tennessee rushed for more yards in a game was a 214-yard day on the ground last season in a win at home over the Jaguars Nov. 1.

“I think both DeMarco and Derrick are great,” Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota said, who totaled 252 yards and a pair of scores in Sunday’s win. “To be able to have those guys in the backfield is such a luxury. DeMarco really, really played well today, and Derrick came in and made some big plays as well.”

Both teams had entered the season as preseason favorites to win their divisions, which made for an exciting, playoff-like contest in Nashville.

A defensive battle turned into an offensive showdown in the second half as 44 points were scored over the final 30 minutes.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson only threw for 22 yards in the first quarter, but flashed his MVP potential as he finished with 373 passing yards and four touchdowns, despite losing Doug Baldwin (10-105 1 TD) and Tyler Lockett in the second half to injuries.

Wesley Woodyard led Tennessee with 10 tackles and two tackles for loss, while Seattle run stuffer Michael Bennett led all with three tackles for loss.

“This was a win we needed to have against a good football team at home,” Mularkey said. “I thought it was a great atmosphere, a great day to see and come watch a great game.

“Was it pretty easy? No, it was a grind; it was a grind for both offenses. We can beat these big time teams if we can put three phases together and play good football.”

National anthem

Before the game both teams agreed they would stay in their locker rooms for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Several NFL teams around the league made a statement against recent comments out of the nation’s capital and took a stand for fighting for equality for all in the United States.

“It was phenomenal,” said Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo, who had three QB hits. “It was all about unity. Whether you stand, kneel or whatever the case may be. I thought it was huge our coaches, our owners on both sides had our back, the players’ back, because we got together with the Seahawks and that’s exactly what we wanted to do.”

Seattle’s defensive back Richard Sherman also weighed in on the situation.

“It means strength, hope, it mean’s there’s a chance. It means we have enough people that care and are selfless enough to sacrifice for the greater good of others. When you do something like this, even as a team or individual, you are putting a bullseye on your back. But in order to make a point, in order to be like the Muhammad Alis, the Malcom Xs, the Martin Luther Kings, you have to do that. You have to take those tough roads instead of taking the easy road.

“Today, we could have went out there and played a ballgame and did nothing, just played it normal. I’m sure there are some teams that went out there and did that and that’s fine, too. But sometimes you have to take it upon yourself to go out there and represent the people that are the same skin tone as you. The people you know are still suffering out in the streets and being treated a certain way. You want to make sure that they understand that we are with them, too.”

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