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Notebook: Titans Defense Continues Takeaways, Stingy Pace

Posted Oct 13, 2013

Tennessee continued to be stingy in allowing points and strong in taking the ball away from opponents Sunday at Seattle.

The Titans have allowed 115 points through six games (19.2 per game), and the Seahawks were the fourth opponent this season to be held to 20 or fewer points. Sunday also marked the fifth game this season in which the Titans’ defense recorded at least two takeaways.

Tennessee (3-3) recovered two of Seattle’s five fumbles, turning one recovery just before halftime into points, and halting Seattle’s first possession of the second half.

The Seahawks (5-1) attempted a field goal with two seconds remaining but Chris Maragos fumbled the snap, recovered the ball and tried to make a play. As Titans safety Michael Griffin began tackling Maragos, Jason McCourty attacked the ball, knocked it free and recovered it. He returned it 77 yards for a touchdown and a 10-7 halftime lead.

“When I saw (Michael Griffin) making the tackle, it was already fourth down, so the ball was going to be ours at the end of the half,” McCourty said. “So I was just trying to get the ball out. Once the ball was on the ground, you try to get seven points out of it.”

Jason McCourty returns a fumble he recovered 77 yards for his second career TD. Click here for a slideshow from the Titans-Seahawks game.

It was McCourty’s first takeaway of the season and second career touchdown (along with a recovery of a punt block in the end zone in 2011).

Moise Fokou forced two Seahawks fumbles. Fokou teamed with Griffin to end Seattle’s first possession of the second half. Fokou hit the ball as Sidney Rice extended it and Griffin recovered it. That takeaway, and a 15-yard personal foul penalty against Seattle’s Michael Bowie, gave Tennessee’s offense the ball at the Seattle 39-yard line, but a pair of incomplete passes bookended a short run by Chris Johnson, and the Titans had to punt.

“That’s the one that is going to haunt you because we should have done something with the ball there and we didn’t and we punted the ball back to them,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “In that scenario, we could have put points on the board and put pressure on them and then it changes the game dramatically; we didn’t do that.”

Fokou also forced a fumble by Marshawn Lynch early in the fourth quarter, but it slipped from Zach Brown’s grip and bounced to Seahawks QB Russell Wilson at the Tennessee 11-yard line. The recovery enabled Seattle to kick a field goal and break a tie at 10.

WRIGHT LEADING WAY: Kendall Wright had five receptions for 69 yards, including a 32-yard catch that helped set up Tennessee’s first field goal. It marked the third time in as many weeks that Wright led or tied for the team-high in receptions. Wright has 31 receptions for 335 yards.

TWO SACKS: Bernard Pollard recorded a sack when he stopped Wilson for no gain in the second quarter, and Ropati Pitoitua tackled Wilson for a loss of 4 in the third quarter.

It was the first sack this season for Pollard and 10th of his career. Pitoitua’s sack was his team-leading fourth this season and doubled his previous career high of two in a season.

INACTIVES: In addition to Jake Locker (hip and knee), Shonn Greene (knee), Blidi Wreh-Wilson (hamstring), Zaviar Gooden (hamstring), Patrick Bailey (hamstring), Brian Schwenke and Byron Stingily were inactive for the Titans.

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