Photos by Warren Roseborough
Story by Teresa M. Walker, AP Pro Football Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans believe they can play with the NFL’s best this season, and a big win over the Seattle Seahawks is just the latest proof to back them up.
The Titans scored 24 points in the second half and ran over the Seahawks for 195 yards Sunday for a 33-27 victory . They’ve now won two straight for their best start since opening 3-1 in 2013.
“These are the games we talk about,” Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said. “Playoff teams and championship teams. If you beat them, that puts you in a good spot going through the season. We know what type of team we are. We know we can play with the big dogs. Now we just have to crush the rest of the people in our way.”
Marcus Mariota threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns, while DeMarco Murray ran for 115 yards, including a 75-yard TD run as the Titans (2-1) rallied with 21 straight points after the Seahawks took their last lead at 14-9.
“It really is a measuring stick for us moving forward, playing a team like that with a great defense and a great QB,” Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo said.
The Seahawks (1-2) finally got their offense scoring touchdowns, with Russell Wilson throwing for 373 yards and four touchdowns, but now their hard-hitting defense is struggling to stop the run. Seattle coach Pete Carroll was surprised to see his Seahawks give up three touchdowns all 24 yards or longer.
“Right now, it’s kind of spotty and not consistent enough,” Carroll said. “We’ve got a big challenge, and we’ve got to get together.”
Here are some things to know about the Titans’ win over Seattle:
JOINT ANTHEM DECISION
The Titans and Seahawks texted each other in agreeing to remain in their locker rooms during the national anthem in protest of President Donald Trump’s comments about NFL players. Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk was with her players inside the locker room during the anthem, and Meghan Linsey, a runner-up on “The Voice,” took a knee when she finished singing. Then Wilson and Mariota each linked an arm or two with teammates as the teams came onto the field.
“Well, 45 can say what he wants to say,” Titans tight end Delanie Walker said. “He can tweet whatever he wants to tweet. We’re here to play football. For a long time we’ve been united, playing with one another, all races, and that’s all we’re trying to show is that we’re united in here.”
TOO MANY PENALTIES
The Seahawks finished with 11 penalties for 98 yards, including one with 11 seconds left when the Titans lined up to punt the ball back. Once the flag was thrown, the Titans started signaling first down in celebration. Cornerback Richard Sherman was flagged for pass interference, wiping out an interception by Kam Chancellor. Sherman said he tried to ask the official what he did wrong and was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“I thought that was a poor call, and it had a huge impact on the game because that’s a turnover,” Sherman said.
The Seahawks cornerback hit Mariota on the sideline at the Titans bench in the second quarter, prompting a scrum that resulted in a pair of unnecessary roughness penalties to each team. Titans coach Mike Mularkey said he wasn’t surprised Sherman was not ejected but liked how his players defended Mariota without anyone being ejected.
Murray’s TD run came as he zig-zagged through the Seahawks, and it was the longest against Seattle since Frank Gore had an 80-yarder in 2009 — before Carroll was hired in January 2010.
Titans rookie Adoree Jackson returned a punt 80 yards in the second quarter , or so he thought. Officials flagged the Titans for an illegal block above the waist, though Mularkey said it was a clean block. “I feel bad for him and us,” Mularkey said.
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