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Locker’s Return Not Enough to Stop 49ers' Gold Rush

 

 

By Ashley Braun, Sports Correspondent

 

 

 

The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway

NASHVILLE, TN – October 21, 2013 -The early return of starting quarterback Jake Locker had Titans fans excited. Originally expected to return for the November 3rd game against St. Louis, Locker was cleared and ready to get back on the field to lead his team.

Despite throwing for 326 yards, Locker’s return was not enough to beat the now 5-2 San Francisco 49ers.

The Titans were unable to get on the board in the first quarter but were able to hold San Francisco to just a field goal.  An interception by Bernard Pollard early in the second quarter could have been a game changer but an unnecessary roughness penalty on line backer Akeem Ayers not only gave the ball back to San Francisco but also advanced the ball 15 yards, putting the 49ers in prime scoring position.

Fans were rather unhappy with the penalty—that eventually led to a touchdown—because it looked eerily familiar to the injury causing hit on Jake Locker, which yielded no penalty, from the September 29th game against the Jets.

The Titans next possession resulted in an interception by Tramaine Brock on a pass intended for Nate Washington putting the 49ers up 17-0 at the half.

San Francisco opened the third quarter with a 12-play scoring drive that burned 7:40 off of the clock. Unable to get a first down on their next two possessions, the Titans entered the fourth quarter still scoreless but with possession of the ball.

After scrambling for 20 yards on two plays, Locker was given a 5-yard delay of game penalty and was sacked 2 plays later for a loss of 9 yards.

With 12:27 remaining in the game, Rob Bironas was able to put the Titans in the board with a 31-yard field goal.

The Titans continued to rally in fourth quarter even in a stadium where only 49er fans remained. After holding off San Francisco on their next 2 attempts, Locker was finally able to connect with Chris Johnson for a 66-yard touchdown, giving the Titans their first touchdown of the game with just over 7 minutes left on the clock. The touchdown was Johnson’s 50th career touchdown.

Thirty seconds later, Tennessee’s defense forced the 49ers to punt giving them hope of a fourth quarter comeback but Darius Reynaud muffed the return catch on the 11 yard line which led to a 49ers touchdown.

Down 31-10, the Titans still pushed forward. Despite the chippy play, almost resulting in several fights, the Titans were able to score one more touchdown before the final whistle. The fourth quarter rally resulted in all 17 points for the Titans but it wasn’t enough to surpass the 31 points that San Francisco had put on the board.

Titans (3-4) have a bye week next week before traveling to St. Louis to face the Rams (3-4).

Noteworthy:

 A video tribute for the late Bum Phillips played before the game and a moment of silence was observed before the coin toss. Phillips was instrumental in the Houston Oilers franchise, coaching them to two AFC championship appearances. He was 90 years old.

 The day after the Titans/49ers matchup, Titans’ owner Bud Adams also passed away at the age of 90. Adams helped found the American Football League and was influential in the merger with the NFL. He had the most wins (409) of any current NFL owner.  

  

 

 

 

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