Both teams came into the game into the game searching for a little momentum and just four wins each. The Titans came in with DeMarco Murray and one of the best running attacks in football. The Packers countered with one of the best run defenses in the league. The Packers also activated James Starks in hopes that he might finally provide a little bit more confidence in the running game. The Packers players were vocal in questioning the intensity and heart of this team last week. All eyes were watching to see how the players and the coaching staff would come out against the Titans.
If anyone felt a slight sense of relief that the Packers would not start by kicking off to start the game, it was short lived. After Joe Thomas made a heads up recovery on an attempted onside kick to start the game, the Packers had two runs and an incomplete pass before giving the Titans their first possession. DeMarco Murray took the carry on the Titans very first play from scrimmage and went 75 yards for the 7-0 lead.
The Packers managed a single first down before errant passes and penalties halted their second drive. The Titans started at their fifteen and drove straight down the field in large chunks. The drive culminated in a halfback pass from DeMarco Murray to Tight End Delanie Walker. With 6:58 left in the first quarter it was already 14-0 and the Packers looked lost.
As the clock ran out on the first quarter, the Titans had over 200 yards of offense and a 21-0 lead. Down by three scores, the Packers finally started to show signs of life. Rodgers went 6-for-6 as he led the Packers on a 75 yard drive that ended with Jordy Nelson in the end zone on a one-yard pass.
This was about the last ray of hope as the Titans continued to press their offense against the Packers. Tennessee had 359 yards in the first half and did not punt as they scored on each of their first five drives. The Packers did see a promising drive end with a field goal and a touchdown on a screen pass to James Starks. The Packers also lined up for one last Hail Mary play after Tennessee failed on a fourth down conversion attempt. The prayer ended in an interception and the Packers walked in to halftime losing 35-16. Beyond the pain of losing, T.J. Lang went out early and did not come back.
The Packers opened the second half forcing the first three-and-out of the day. Rodgers then led a 78-yard, ten-play drive. Rodgers finished the drive with a 20-yard touchdown scramble. The Packers twice went for it on fourth down during this drive.
The Packers went with greater sense of urgency, continually going no huddle. The Packers defense also played with a greater urgency. After the Titans responded with a touchdown, the Packers went right back down and kicked a field goal. The Packers defense then recorded their first sack of Mariota on the day as Morgan Burnett made a shoe string tackle to force another Titans punt.
From here on out the Packers slowly watched the clock tick away. Even as fans could be heard on television chanting “Go Pack Go!” the final score was the only remaining mystery. There were few more big plays and the Titans managed a few more field goals. The Second half saw the Packers score nine points and Tennessee answered with 12. David Bakhtiari went out and was fitted for a knee brace, but did not return. Don Barclay and Jason Spriggs saw plenty of playing time in this game.
Packers had no chance of coming back from giving up 35 points early. Tennessee came out with an onside kick and ran their trick plays early to make sure they set the tone early that this was a must-win game. The Packers just never matched the Titans intensity early and then the Packers were forced to throw the ball all day. Rodgers was sacked five times in this game as he seemed out of rhythm and frequently did not get the ball out. Losing two offensive linemen and playing in a deep hole all day did not help matters.
The most valuable players for the Packers were led by Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. Adams saw nine targets and turned them into six catches and 156 yards. Nelson was the clear top target again as Rodgers forced the ball in his direction 18 times. Nelson managed 12 receptions for 126 yards and the one touchdown early. In a passing game that saw a fair number of errant throws and a few drops, these two players were the only lights on this offense today.