Titans force three turnovers, beat Ravens 26-13

Titans force three turnovers, beat Ravens 26-13

September 18th, 2011 by Associated Press in Sports - Professional

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, left, congratulates Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak after the Titans won 26-13 in an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Russell)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Matt Hasselbeck is showing he can still pitch the ball around the field. Along with Kenny Britt and Nate Washington, the Tennessee Titans now have more on offense than just Chris Johnson.

Hasselbeck threw for 358 yards and a touchdown, and the Tennessee Titans gave new coach Mike Munchak a big win in their home opener by beating the Baltimore Ravens 26-13 on Sunday.

With the Ravens focused on stopping Johnson, Hasselbeck attacked through the air. Britt caught nine passes for 135 yards and a TD, while Washington had seven more receptions for 99 yards. Rob Bironas also kicked four field goals as Tennessee (1-1) held the ball for more than 35 minutes and outgained Baltimore 432-229 in total offense.

The Titans also showed off their revamped defense.

They sacked Joe Flacco three times and hit him repeatedly while forcing three turnovers, including two interceptions. The Ravens (1-1), who looked so dominant in routing Pittsburgh 35-7 in their opener, forced only one turnover.

Baltimore had one last chance to get into the game in the fourth quarter, when Flacco drove the Ravens down to first-and-goal at the Titans 9. But Tennessee broke up two passes, the last by Cortland Finnegan, while the Ravens were called for delay of game. They had to settle for Billy Cundiff's second field goal with 6:58 left to pull within 23-13.

Tennessee then ran out all but 31 seconds before Bironas kicked his fourth field goal to finish off the win.

Munchak was doused with a bucket of Gatorade on the sideline before the ensuing kickoff, and owner Bud Adams gave his new coach a game ball in the locker room as part of the celebration.

The Titans set the tone from the opening kickoff, deferring to let Baltimore take the ball on offense. Tennessee forced the Ravens to go three-and-out on their first two possessions, with Alterraun Verner picking off a Flacco pass to end the third. Playing field position helped the Titans push the Ravens to start two drives at their own 4 and held them to 25 yards in the first quarter.

After going into halftime tied at 10 apiece, the Titans took control in the third quarter, outscoring Baltimore 10-0 and outgaining the Ravens 147-43. Javon Ringer finished off the opening drive with a 10-yard TD run on fourth-and-1 with Johnson on the bench.

The Titans could have led by more if not for settling for two field goals by Bironas after turnovers, the last after Cortland Finnegan tipped a Flacco pass to Jason McCourty two plays into the fourth quarter. Bironas kicked his third field goal, a 39-yarder, after that interception for a 23-10 lead.