• 57°

NFL: Titans 30, Panthers 3

By Steve Reed
Associated Press
CHARLOTTE — The Tennessee Titans’ strategy was simple — put on spy on Cam Newton and try to confuse him.
It worked to perfection.
Tennessee’s defense left the rookie shaking his head in disbelief after its 30-3 rout of the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
The Titans (5-4) sacked Newton five times, intercepted him once and took away Carolina’s downfield passing game. Carolina came in ranked fifth in the league on offense and first in plays of 20-plus yards, but the Titans limited Newton to 209 yards passing and held Steve Smith’s, the NFC’s leading receiver, to 33 yards.
Chris Johnson ran for a season-high 130 yards and scored a touchdown, most of his yards coming in the second half after the Tennessee defense had set the tone.
The Titans sacked Newton four times on first down and put the Panthers in several third-and-long situations.
“(Newton) holds the ball,” said defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. “If a quarterback is going to hold onto the ball like that, we’re going to get to him. We kept him in the pocket. He couldn’t do anything but sit there. Having the spy on him meant he couldn’t run, and our guys got to him.”
After the game, Newton still seemed confused over what the Titans did exactly to disrupt what had been a potent offense throughout the first half of the season. Newton said he couldn’t remember playing quarterback in a game in which his team didn’t score a touchdown.
“Never, ever, ever,” Newton said.
Newton’s longest completion was 19 yards, and the Panthers failed to pick up a first down on seven of their 13 possessions.
“This is embarrassing, man,” Newton repeated three times while shaking his head. “This is as poor of a performance as a team as I’ve ever seen. Poor performance by myself. There’s no pointing fingers without looking at yourself and asking yourself what you could have done better. I know I could have done a lot of things better. It’s a reality check, that’s what it is. “
The Panthers (2-7) came in averaging 415 yards and more than 23 points per game behind a big-play offense, but Tennessee’s defense completely took away their downfield passing game — and just about everything else.
At times Newton rolled out in the pocket and couldn’t find anyone to throw the ball to.
“The thing is, Cam has the ability to extend plays, then slingshot one down the field 50 or 60 yards,” said Titans safety Jonathan Babineaux. “We knew coming into the game they had some down-the-field threats, and we couldn’t let No. 1 get comfortable. We did a good job of harassing him and making sure he didn’t have time to get back on his feet and make accurate throws.”
The Titans finally got Johnson involved in the offense.
He came in with only 366 yards rushing, but had 174 yards from scrimmage and eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the first time since Oct. 2.
Johnson had 104 yards rushing in the second half and scored his second touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run late in the fourth quarter.
Johnnson’s touchdown was set up by Matt Hasselbeck, who scampered 21 yards on a quarterback bootleg before getting knocked out of bounds at the Carolina 1 without much of an effort from the veteran to score.
As Johnson entered the media room, Hasselbeck walked out and yelled, “Fantasy points!”
“Matt told me I was on his fantasy team, and that he stepped out at the 1 to help me get in the end zone,” Johnson said with a laugh.
“So everyone has to thank Matt and all the fantasy owners.”
Said Titans coach Mike Munchak: “We finally gave him carries. This was one of those games we have been waiting for.”
The Titans piled up 172 yards on the ground.
“We were on the same page as an offense, executing plays,” Johnson said. “Some of the plays we ran in the second half, we’d run in the first half and didn’t have a lot of success.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Elections

Tell us your opinion about the first presidential debate

Education

Kannapolis elementary students will return to full, in-person classes Nov. 2

Coronavirus

10 deaths now reported at Liberty Commons nursing home

Education

Rowan-Salisbury School Board will provide money to help athletics restart

Crime

Blotter: Charlotte teen cited with marijuana possession during traffic stop

Local

Rowan-Salisbury Schools receives $26.3 million grant to accelerate renewal

Local

Child injured after running behind father’s truck

Crime

Police identify man who took them on high-speed chase, crashed into lumber truck

China Grove

Reaper’s Realm owners promise beefed-up security after weekend shooting

Business

Contractor expands local footprint, takes on county’s coronavirus projects

News

Home Improvement: Holiday gifts to spark home improvement ideas

Elections

Political Notebook: Local parties will host watch parties for presidential debate

Crime

China Grove man cited for driving through school field

BREAKING NEWS

October closure hearings set for Faith, Enochville elementary schools

Crime

Police say man gave false name after high speed chase, crashing into lumber truck

Coronavirus

Nearly 400 cases considered currently active in the county

Education

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College creates free course to help parents tackle virtual learning

Business

New unemployment claims down in August, could indicate positive trend for businesses

Crime

Salisbury man faces drug possession charges after overdose call

Crime

Police: Man charged after children call 911 from neighbor’s house

Ask Us

Ask Us: Who are people behind sign at City Park playground?

Coronavirus

Prison in Salisbury latest site of COVID-19 outbreak

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury Man charged with felony assault by strangulation

Nation/World

Trump vows quick Supreme Court vote, Biden urges delay for Nov. 3