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Titans’ Win Overshadowed by Loss of Locker
By Ashley Braun
The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway
NASHVILLE, TN – Sept. 29, 2013- After an impressive showing in the home opener last week, Jake Locker continued his streak during the Titans’ 38-13 win over the New York Jets on Sunday in Nashville. But tragedy struck with 11:14 left in the third quarter when Locker took a hard hit by Muhammad Wilkerson followed by a second hit from Quinton Coples.
Despite being carted off the field—to eventually spend the night in the hospital under further evaluation—Locker gave a thumbs up to the fans as they sent chants of “Jake” around LP Field.
Before suffering an apparent right hip injury, Locker went 18 of 24 for 149 yards including 3 touchdown passes.
Tennessee’s defense also played a key role in the Titans’ victory. On just the second play of the game, Alterraun Verner intercepted a pass intended for Jets receiver Stephen Hill. Verner ran 34 yards before being pushed out of bounds at the Jets 18 yard line. Johnson advanced the ball 14 yards on the next two plays and Battle advanced 3 more, setting up a 1-yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker.
Before the end of the first quarter, Rob Bironas added a 26-yard field goal to put the Titans up 10-0 against the Jets who were scoreless until their kicker Nick Folk completed a 45-yard field goal in the opening play of the second quarter.
The Titans’ defense stepped up again on the Jets’ second drive of the second quarter when Zach Brown stripped the ball from Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith causing a fumble. Verner recovered the ball for a 9-yard gain putting the Titans in prime scoring position.
Locker connected with Washington for an 18-yard gain before once again finding him for the 4-yard touchdown.
New York answered with back-to-back first downs amounting in 48 total yards but fell short of a touchdown, bringing in Folk for a 47-yard field goal.
Tennessee was forced to punt just after the 2-minute warning but the determined defense was ready and waiting. On the first play of the drive, Verner once again intercepted Geno Smith’s pass—this time intended for Santonio Holmes.
With time winding down, Locker found Williams 3 times for a total of 16 yards and a first down before connecting with Justin Hunter for a 16-yard touchdown putting Tennessee up 24-6 at halftime.
Both teams had 4 possessions in the scoreless and rather uneventful third quarter. After the unfortunate injury to Jake Locker, Geno Smith was sacked by defensive end Ropati Pitoitua for what looked like a safety but was ruled down at the 1 yard line.
The defensive plays continued for the Titans in the fourth quarter. On the Jets opening play, Smith was sacked by Karl Klug who not only caused Smith to fumble, but also recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown putting the Titans up 31-6.
New York came back to score on the next play where Smith connected with tight end Jeff Cumberland for a 34-yard touchdown.
The last big play of the game came when backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington, sealing the deal on the Titans’ 38-13 victory.
By the Numbers:
Before getting injured, Jake Locker threw a career-high 3 touchdown passes.
Alterraun Verner had 2 interceptions and recovered 1 of the 2 fumbles.
Pitoitua was credited with 2 of the 5 sacks on Geno Smith.
After receiving 11 penalties in last week’s game, the Titans only had 4 compared to the Jets 10. (Jets had 20 penalties in their game last week.)
Titans scored 28 points on the 4 Jets turnovers.Nate Washington passed the 5,000 career receiving yards with his 77-yard touchdown
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