Today’s game between the Tennessee Titans and the Denver Broncos was a defensive battle, period. Both teams were sluggish on offense, as it took a good portion of this game for the Broncos to even get any points on the board. The Titans made the Broncos fight for every one of their 348 net yards. Plus, they used two RYAN SUCCOP field goals and a DEMARCO MURRAY touchdown run in the first quarter to turn back the Broncos 13-10 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
Titans quarterback MARCUS MARIOTA (6 of 20 for 88 yards and no score) and running back Murray (21 carries for 92 yards and 1 score) were the chief antagonists for the Broncos defense. Neither one of them had games they were capable of, but they both made enough plays to help the Titans win this game.The Titans (7-6) haven’t been one game or more over .500 (winning percentage) in December since the 2011 season. And there’s actually talk that the Titans could actually make the playoffs, something that has eluded them this entire decade. Moreover, the Titans haven’t even been in the playoffs since the 2008 season.
As for the Broncos (8-5), they had it worse than the Titans did as far as offense, as they couldn’t get their running game going and their passing game didn’t really bear fruit until the fourth quarter. Their top-shelf receivers in DEMARYIUS THOMAS (10 catches for 126 yards) and EMMANUEL SANDERS (11 catches for 100 yards and 1 score) were held out of the end zone for much of this game, with Thomas having no scoring catch today and Sanders getting his first scoring catch just past the ten-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
Broncos quarterback TREVOR SIEMIAN (35 of 51 for 334 yards and 1 scoring pass) got no help from the running game (9 carries for 18 yards; and the “leading” rusher had 6 carries for 17 yards) and he was under siege for much of the fourth quarter. Also, he was sacked 3 times today.
Murray put up the first points of the game for both teams, when he followed his fullback JALSTON FOWLER into the end zone from 1-yard out on 3rd and goal. That was Murray’s first touchdown run since November 13 when Tennessee beat Green Bay 47-25 in Week 10. That run gave the Titans a 7-0 lead at the 7:29 mark of the first quarter. Who knew at the time that Murray’s touchdown run would be the last touchdown of the game for the Titans, and that his scoring run would be just enough to beat the Broncos?
The Broncos scored their first points of the game, when Sanders got behind Titans cornerback JASON MCCOURTY for a 3-yard back of the end zone scoring catch. At the 9:58 mark of the fourth quarter the Broncos were able to cut the Titans lead to 13-7.
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