Gameday Live Blog/Open Thread: Titans at Panthers

Scott Hamilton

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Almost kickoff at Bank of America Stadium for the game between the Tennessee Titans (4-4) and the Carolina Panthers (4-3). The Titans lead the all-time series between the teams 3-2, with Carolina winning their last matchup, 27-10, during the magical 2015 season. However, the Panthers have never beaten the Titans in Charlotte, with the wins coming in Nashville and, before that, while the Titans were still the Houston Oilers. It's 58 degrees and sunny in Uptown Charlotte.

  • And the first kick headed Greg Dortch's way ... is a touchback.
  • Panthers ran six plays and got a first down on initial drive, but Allen seems a bit off. A little frantic, not quite as smooth as earlier this season.
  • Poe absolutely abuses the middle of Titans' line, bullies his way to a sack.
  • Sack made a difference. Titans ended up trying a 43-yard FG on fourth-and-one, but missed it.
  • Allen hit Olsen with a 23-yard pass on first play of second drive. Olsen has already been targeted three times today after having only two passes thrown his way last week during loss at 49ers. He's been targeted 43 times this season, 26 coming during the first three games. DJ Moore was targeted a team-leading 58 times coming into today.
  • Another pick for Allen. That's four now since kickoff last Sunday in San Francisco after not throwing an interception during his first five NFL starts. The end-around before that during which Wright was tackled for a 7-yard loss didn't help matters.
  • Allen 3-7, 40 yards and now that INT. Again -- not sharp. 
  • Titans' penalties bailing out Carolina so far.
  • Greg Dortch lines up to receive a punt ... and it's shanked out of bounds. And so we wait ...
  • A really nice 1st down pass to Curtis Samuel for 32-yard gain. Panthers ball at Tennessee 33.
  • McCaffrey bulldozing his way between the tackles. Then takes a toss around the left side for seven yards. He's got eight carries, 34 yards as first quarter winds down.

Panthers 0, Titans 0 end of 1st quarter

  • Different vibe to this drive: Panthers committed to run rather than going play-action and then run. Second and goal from the Titans' 9.
  • Incomplete pass and then Allen sacked. Joey Slye hits 35-yard FG attempt. 3-0 Panthers w/13:28 left in the 1st half.
  • After a nice screen for a first down, another penalty for Titans. Tennessee has been flagged five times for 43 yards, Carolina has three for 52 yards.
  • Make that four for 57 yards for Carolina after Haynes jumped ...
  • Reid strips and recovers Lewis fumble. Panthers ball at the Carolina 42.
  • Derrick Henry had 16 carries for 75 yards and a 4.7 YPC average against Tampa Bay’s then-top-rated run defense and he's averaging 72.6 yards per game. Henry has two carries for 4 yards today ...
  • Jackson picks off Tannehill at the Titans 31. Tack on yet another Tennessee penalty and its 1st and 10 Panthers from the Tennessee 15.
  • We have a Riverboat Ron sighting. Allen his McCaffrey on 4th and 2 with a swing pass to the right side and a 7-yard TD. 8:07, Panthers up 10-0.
  • Titans punting with 7:16 left in 2nd quarter. Starting to look a lot like the team the 49ers thrashed last week.
  • Greg Olsen with another catch. Has caught three of five targets today. First and 10 at Tennessee 44, 3:07 remaining first half.
  • Speaking of Allen, he's settled down after that frantic start. Six straight completions for Allen after five straight incompletions. Is 10 of 19, 132 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. Still the big question is about the other guy who plays QB for Carolina ...
  • Panthers rebound from sack of Allen as Moore turns a short pass into an 18-yard gain to the Titans' 19-yard line. 1:39 left in the half.
  • That's nine straight completions for Kyle Allen -- this time a TD to cap off a 12-play, 90-yard drive.
  • Tannehill making things happen, has guided Titans to the Carolina 31 with :21 left in first half. But a sack results in a ill-fated field goal attempt from 56 yards out as clock expires.

Panthers 17, Titans 0 halftime

Halftime analysis

  • After a spastic start, Carolina smartly tightened up its offensive focus. The Panthers have committed to running for the sake of running, but have also shifted its passing game to quick, shorter attempts. That's offset a tough Titans pass rush and has also allowed Carolina to take advantage of its playmakers against man-to-man coverage.
  • Allen has obviously benefited the most from the quick passing game. He's 13 of 22 for 169 yards with two TDs and an interception. He's completed his last nine passes.
  • Both teams have been sloppy at times, especially with regards to penalties. Tennessee has six for 58 yards, while Carolina has been flagged four times for 62 yards. But at least the Panthers have had some sustained offensive success. the Panthers' time of possession is 19:52, while the Titans have had the ball 9:51. Titans are 0-4 on third-down attempts.

Third quarter

  • Titans get the ball.
  • Make that five Henry carries ...
  • And Derrick Henry now has 38 yards rushing.
  • Tannehill gets in on the act, tucking and running with his receivers recovered for 25 yards down the left side. 1st and 10 from the Panthers 15.
  • Henry through a huge hole up the middle for a 15-yard TD. 17-7, Carolina 10:11 left in the third quarter. Eight plays, 67 yards -- all on the ground.
  • Worth noting that Titans has no third-down plays during that scoring drive. Everything happened on first or second down.
  • Panthers drive stalls at its own 36 -- but Riverboat Ron sticking around ...
  • Fake punt call has changed the tone and feel of the game. Panthers leveraged that gamble into a TD to go up 24-7. Now they are teeing off on the Titans, forcing the Titans to punt on 4th and 15 from their own 9-yard line with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
  • Side note: Florida State has fired Willie Taggart.
  • Tannehill delivers a strong ball when he has time. Could go the route of the Panthers with more quick throws, but Titans don't have the playmakers to really leverage that strategy.

Panthers 24, Titans 7 end of 3rd quarter

  • Carolina should feel good right now, what with a 17-point lead going into the fourth quarter over a run-focused team. Check that -- a penalty-prone, run-focused team. Titans have been flagged 10 times for 84 yards.

And ... Allen hits Brown down the right sideline