Titans 48, Packers 21
Tuesday, October 12th 2004, 8:16 am
News On 6
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ Lambeau Field has lost its mystique.
And Green Bay's run of 12 straight competitive seasons under Brett Favre might be coming to an end, too.
``Maybe my perception of this team is different than what we really are,'' Favre said after the Packers were humiliated by the Tennessee Titans 48-27 Monday night, their third straight loss at home.
``I think Tennessee several years ago started out 1-4 and made the AFC Championship game. Will we do that? I have no idea. We have to win a game first. Maybe my expectations of this team are too high.''
Tennessee, which scored more points than any visitor ever had at the famed stadium, took advantage of six turnovers and Chris Brown ran for 148 yards and scored two long touchdowns on the Titans' first two series.
The Titans (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak and sent the Packers (1-4) to their fourth straight loss. This is Green Bay's first four-game losing streak since 1991 and its first 0-3 start at home since 1988.
From 1995-02, Green Bay was 61-8 at home, including the postseason. The Packers lost to Atlanta in a playoff game in January 2003, starting a Lambeau slump that reached 6-7 with the loss to Tennessee.
``This is unfamiliar territory,'' Packers coach Mike Sherman said.
Only eight teams in NFL history have overcome a 1-4 start to reach the playoffs, including the Titans two years ago.
``It's something you want to avoid at all costs,'' Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
And they did.
Tennessee scored on five of its first six possessions with Brown, who had 27 carries, going in on its first two series, from 37 and 29 yards out, and the staggered Packers never recovered.
``This wasn't season-saving, but it got us back on the right track,'' Titans safety Tank Williams said.
Steve McNair (chest, ankle) returned after missing Tennessee's last game, and threw two touchdown passes, including an 11-yarder to Eddie Berlin in the third quarter after Favre's third interception.
Favre extended his NFL record with his 213th consecutive start, including playoffs, despite numerous injuries, including a mild concussion he suffered last week. Favre also played after the death last week of his 24-year-old brother-in-law in an ATV accident at the family home in Mississippi.
The Packers have lost three straight at home primarily because they can't stop the run without 350-pound nose tackle Grady Jackson, who hurt a kneecap in the opener at Carolina and hasn't played since.
Chicago's Thomas Jones ran over them for 152 yards, New York's Tiki Barker had 182 and Brown might have topped them both had he not been pulled for backups early in the fourth quarter.
Brown had 90 yards on nine carries in the first quarter as Tennessee built a quick 17-0 lead that snuffed Green Bay's plan of giving the Titans a steady diet of Ahman Green.
The Packers had just 5 yards rushing on five carries in the first half, and Green finished with just 10 carries for 33 yards _ and he lost another fumble.
After Brown's 29-yard blitz-beating TD made it 14-0, Sherman chewed out his defenders on the sideline.
His wrath soon turned to Green, his slippery-handed running back who fumbled for the fourth time this season. Anderson converted Green's gaffe into a 36-yard field goal that made it 17-0 with 6 minutes left in the first quarter. At that point, the Titans had outgained the Packers 145 yards to 4.
Favre tried to rally his team, but without a running game to worry about, the Titans keyed on his passes and picked off three of them, two by Lamont Thompson. His second interception set up McNair's 11-yard touchdown strike to Berlin that made it 34-13 in the third quarter. Thompson also forced a fumble.
Anderson's kick following Antowain Smith's 15-yard touchdown run with 2:34 left made it 48-20 and broke the record for visiting points that Washington set in a 48-47 loss at Green Bay in 1983.
``The season is still salvageable, but not the way we're playing,'' Packers right tackle Mark Tauscher said. ``The hole is getting deeper and deeper as we go here.''
Notes: McNair's 71 wins is most in franchise history, bettering Warren Moon's 70. ... Favre has thrown a TD pass in 30 straight games, tying him for second place with Dan Marino. Johnny Unitas holds the NFL record at 47.