Titans defense stifles Panthers in 30-3 win

By Steve Reed

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Nov. 13 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

"We were on the same page as an offense, executing plays," Johnson said. "Some of the plays we ran in the second half, we'd run in the first half and didn't have a lot of success. There are those situations as an offensive line and as a running back to get more of those opportunities to run the same plays, and eventually, it will work out."

The Panthers appeared to be sleepwalking early on after coming off a bye week.

After Carolina went three-and-out on its first possession, Marc Mariani returned Jason Baker's punt 79 yards for a 7-0 lead. It was the third long punt return for a touchdown allowed by the Panthers this season and the 11th against Baker, the most of any active punter in the NFL.

Tennessee quickly made it 14-0 on its first possession when Damian Williams turned a short pass from Hasselbeck into a 43-yard scoring play after defensive backs Sherrod Martin and Darius Butler missed tackles. Williams finished with 107 yards receiving.

Hasselbeck was 15 of 27 for 219 yards with his only mistake, a third-quarter interception, leading to a Carolina field goal. Even then, the Tennessee defense held after the Panthers took over deep in Titans territory.

Five of Carolina's eight first-half drives ended in three-and-outs and two others were halted by costly mistakes by tight end Greg Olsen.

Olsen fumbled in the red zone early on then dropped an easy 16-yard reception late in the first half that would have made for a short field goal attempt by Olindo Mare. Instead, Mare missed the ensuing 50-yard kick on the final play of the first half, and the Titans took a 17-0 lead into the locker room.

"We didn't do anything right," Olsen said. "There isn't one thing that we can hang our hat on. It was just an overall pathetic effort by us."

NOTES: Rob Bironas' 38-yard field goal in the second quarter was the 200th of his career. ... Chris Gamble's third-quarter interception was the 26th of his career, giving him the Panthers all-time franchise record... The Panthers are 4-21 over their last 25 games.

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