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Tennessee Titans (2-6) vs. Carolina Panthers (8-0)
Sunday, November 15th, 2015 | Noon CST
Nashville, TN | Nissan Stadium | TV: FOX
Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Titans (2-6) return to Nissan Stadium this week to face the undefeated Carolina Panthers (8-0). Kickoff at Nissan Stadium (capacity 69,143) is scheduled for noon CST on Sunday, November 15th.
This week’s game will be televised regionally on FOX, including Nashville affiliate WZTV FOX 17. Thom Brennaman will handle play-by-play duties alongside analyst Charles Davis with Tony Siragusa serving as an on-field analyst.
Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker (82) makes a 2-yard touchdown catch while defended by New Orleans Saints strong safety Jamarca Sanford (33) in the second quarter of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports)
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will carry the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.
Additionally, Sports USA will broadcast the Titans-Panthers game to a national radio audience. Adam Amin (play-by-play) and John Robinson (analyst) will have the call.
Titans Begin With Win Under Mularkey
The Titans began a new era last week with a dramatic overtime victory at New Orleans. In the first game under interim head coach Mike Mularkey, Marcus Mariota’s five-yard touchdown pass in overtime to tight end Anthony Fasano gave them a 34-28 win.
Mariota returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to the knee injury he suffered on October 18th against the Miami Dolphins. In his sixth career start, he was 28-of-39 passing for 371 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 135.7. His 371 passing yards broke his own franchise rookie record, and he joined Daunte Culpepper as the only two quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for at least 350 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions and the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime.
Mariota set the franchise rookie record with his 13th touchdown pass of the season, and he became the only rookie in NFL history to record two games with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) looks to make a throw in the second quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports)
Mularkey was promoted to the post from his former title of assistant head coach/tight ends on November 3rd, at the same time former head coach Ken Whisenhunt was relieved of his duties by Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk. He became the second coach in franchise history to take over as head coach during a season and win his debut, joining Wally Lemm (1961).
Mularkey joined the Titans in 2014. The former NFL tight end has spent a total of three seasons as a head coach, first with the Buffalo Bills from 2004–2005 and then with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012. He also served as an offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2001–2003), Miami Dolphins (2006) and Atlanta Falcons (2008–2011).
Panthers Among Three Remaining Unbeaten Teams
The Panthers visit Tennessee as the sole leaders of the NFC South and owners of one of the league’s three undefeated records. The New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals also are 8-0.
Last week in Charlotte, the Panthers used three touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown by quarterback Cam Newton to beat the Packers 37-29. Newton was 15-of-30 for 297 yards passing and added 57 rushing yards. Newton, who won the Heisman Trophy four years before Mariota did, is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career. Through eight games, the former Auburn Tiger has passed for 1,820 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 343 yards and five touchdowns.
Under fifth-year head coach Ron Rivera, the well-balanced Panthers rank first in rushing offense (142.3 yards per game), fourth in points per game (28.5) and second in opponents’ yards per play (4.8).
Salute to Service
This week marks the Titans’ annual Salute to Service game to honor and support veterans, active-duty servicemen and women and their families.
The Titans and Panthers will wear camouflaged-themed apparel including hats, hoodies, gloves and captains patches, in addition to camouflaged-branded Gatorade towels and Bose headsets on the sidelines.
All player helmets will feature a seal decal that represents a branch of the military. Salute to Service-themed merchandise and game-used items are sold on NFL Auction, with 100% of the proceeds going to the NFL’s military non-profit partners. The Titans will honor servicemen and women in a ceremony at halftime.
Food Drive For Second Harvest Food Bank
Before fans enter Nissan Stadium, they are encouraged to participate in the annual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank by dropping off non-perishable items at one of several collection sites near the stadium entrances. Among the most-needed items are peanut butter, canned chicken or tuna, canned fruit & vegetables, soups, stews, pasta and cereal.
Titans-Panthers Series at a Glance
Overall series (regular & postseason): Titans lead 3-1
Regular season series: Titans lead 3-1
Postseason series: None
Total points: Titans 93, Panthers 58
Current streak: Three wins by Titans
Titans at home vs. Panthers: 1-1
Titans on the road vs. Panthers: 2-0
Longest winning streak by Titans: 3 (2003-11)
Longest losing streak by Titans: 1 (1996)
Titans vs. Panthers at Nissan Stadium: 1-0
Last time at Nissan Stadium: Panthers 7 at TITANS 20 (11-4-07)
Titans vs. Panthers at Bank of America Stadium: 2-0
Last time at Bank of America Stadium: TITANS 30 at Panthers 3 (11-13-11)
First time: PANTHERS 31 at Oilers 6 (11-24-96)
Mike Mularkey’s record vs. Panthers: 0-1
Ron Rivera’s record vs. Titans: 0-1
Mike Mularkey’s record vs. Ron Rivera: 0-0
A Titans Victory Would
Improve the Titans’ all-time record against the Panthers to 4-1.
Give the Titans a 12-4 record against the NFC South since 2002 realignment.
Improve Marcus Mariota’s starting record to 3-4.
Improve Mike Mularkey’s career record as a head coach to 17-32.
What to look for this Week
TE Anthony Fasano (2,991 career receiving yards) needs nine receiving yards to reach 3,000 for his career.
S Michael Griffin needs one interception to tie Mike Reinfeldt (26 career interceptions) for seventh place on the franchise’s all-time interceptions list.
QB Marcus Mariota needs four touchdown passes to become the third player in franchise history to pass for four touchdowns at least three times in a season, joining George Blanda (1960, 1961) and Warren Moon (1990).
QB Marcus Mariota could record his third 300-yard passing game of his career.
Heisman winner Marcus Mariota meets up with a Heisman winner (Cam Newton) on the opposite sideline for the fourth time this season, with the Titans having already faced Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel and Mark Ingram.
OLB Brian Orakpo can record at least one sack for the third consecutive game.
TE Delanie Walker (42 receptions in 2015) needs eight receptions to become the ninth player in franchise history with three or more consecutive seasons of at least 50 receptions.
WR Kendall Wright (243 career receptions for 2,763 yards) needs nine receptions to pass Bo Scaife (251) for 13th place on the team’s all-time receptions list and needs 56 yards to pass Alvin Reed (2,818) for 15th place on the team’s all-time receiving yards list.
Titans-Panthers Series History
The Titans have played fewer games against the Panthers than any other NFL team. There have been just four regular season matchups and one preseason meeting (2010) since the Panthers began play as an expansion team in 1995. The Titans have won the last three regular season games with the Panthers after losing the initial meeting.
In 1996, the then-Houston Oilers and Carolina Panthers met in one of the final games to be played in the Houston Astrodome. In the Panthers’ second year of existence, they won what turned out to be their third game of an eight-game winning streak that ended with an NFC Championship Game loss at Green Bay.
In a 31-6 victory, Panthers quarterback Steve Beuerlein tossed three touchdowns and linebacker Sam Mills returned a fumbled exchange between Oilers quarterback Steve McNair and center Mark Stepnoski 41 yards for a touchdown. Despite collecting five more first downs (17 to 12) and 17 more yards (274 to 251) than Carolina, Houston’s only points in the game came from two field goals by kicker Al Del Greco.
The tables were turned in the 2003 rematch. The Titans traveled to Carolina and came away with a 37-17 win, which was their third victory in a six-game winning streak and a run of nine wins in their last 11 games of the regular season. The Panthers had opened their season with five consecutive victories before their loss to the Titans.
McNair passed for one touchdown and ran for another in the game. Kicker Gary Anderson made three field goals, and the Titans scored 20 points off turnovers, including a 32-yard fumble return for a touchdown by linebacker Keith Bulluck.
In 2007, the Titans improved their record to 6-2 through eight games with a 20-7 victory over the Panthers at Nissan Stadium. The Titans scored touchdowns on rushes by Vince Young and LenDale White, and Rob Bironas booted a pair of field goals in the game, including a 53-yarder.
Most recently, the Titans and Panthers met in 2011 at Bank of America Stadium, where the Titans pulled away early for a 30-3 victory. Marc Mariani provided a 79-yard punt return for a touchdown, running back Chris Johnson rushed for 130 yards, and receiver Damian Williams led the club with five catches for 107 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown from quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. On defense, Tennessee notched five sacks and forced two turnovers.
Titans-Panthers: The Last Meeting
Tennessee Titans 30 at Carolina Panthers 3
Sunday, November 13th, 2011
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
The Titans scored 14 points in the first quarter and never trailed en route to a 30-3 victory over the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.
The Titans defense caused trouble all day for the Panthers offense, a unit that ranked fifth overall in the NFL entering the contest. While recording five sacks, one interception and a fumble recovery, the Titans defense held Carolina to 279 total yards and 21 percent (3-14) on third down. The Panthers’ potent combination of quarterback Cam Newton and wide receiver Steve Smith connected five times but for only 33 yards. The only points given up all game by the Titans came after a Titans turnover deep in their own territory.
Meanwhile, the Titans offense tallied 383 total yards, including 174 total yards by running back Chris Johnson. Johnson rushed 27 times for 130 yards and a touchdown and added four receptions for 44 yards. The Titans also had a 100-yard receiver, as Damian Williams hauled in five passes for 107 yards and a score.
But it was a play on special teams that set the tone and gave the Titans an early 7-0 lead. After a Panthers three-and-out to begin the game, Marc Mariani fielded a 56-yard punt and raced 79 yards for a touchdown.
The Panthers responded by driving from their own 20-yard line to the Tennessee 17. However, the Titans quickly ended the threat, courtesy of linebackers Will Witherspoon and Akeem Ayers. On a pass from Newton to tight end Greg Olsen, Witherspoon knocked the ball loose, and Ayers recovered.
Backed up at the eight-yard line, Matt Hasselbeck completed consecutive passes of 18 yards to tight end Jared Cook and 29 yards to Johnson. Then, on third-and-eight, Hasselbeck threw a short pass to Williams, who evaded defenders and raced to the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown and a two-touchdown lead.
After another Panthers three-and-out, the Titans drove 32 yards before Rob Bironas booted a 38-yard field goal.
The score remained 17-0 through halftime. The Panthers had a chance to cut into the lead late in the first half, but Olindo Mare missed a 50-yard field goal attempt.
In the third quarter, Panthers cornerback Chris Gamble intercepted a Matt Hasselbeck pass in Titans territory. However, the Titans did not allow the Panthers to get a first down, and the Panthers settled for a 29-yard field goal by Mare.
The Titans responded with a pair of field goals by Bironas. Later in the third period, Hasselbeck and Williams connected on a 40-yard pass play that led to a 36-yard field goal. Then, an eight-play, 45-yard drive ended with a 49-yarder by Bironas that put the Titans ahead 23-3 with 10:41 on the clock in the fourth quarter.
On their next series, the Titans used over six minutes of the clock to drive 83 yards on 11 plays. Johnson rushed for 44 yards on the drive and capped it with a one-yard touchdown run, but only after Hasselbeck converted a third-and-six with a 21-yard keeper to the one-yard line.
Penalties adversely affected both teams. The Titans were whistled for nine penalties and 92 yards, while the Panthers were flagged 12 times for 99 yards.