NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tom Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and the defending AFC champion Patriots routed the Tennessee Titans 34-13 for their ninth straight season-opening win Sunday. It's the longest current streak in the league.
Titans defensive end
''It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but it's always fun to win,'' Brady said. ''It's a good feeling.''
The Patriots ruined
New England even knocked Locker out of the game in the fourth quarter and held
''This is something that can be a backbone for us,'' Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. '' To hold a great back to only 4 yards that was good defense.''
Locker hurt his left shoulder tackling safety Patrick Chung on a fumble return officials should have whistled dead as an incomplete pass to Titans receiver
The eighth pick overall in 2011 tried to talk his way back onto the field after being examined. Locker said he was sore but expects to play next week at San Diego. And he won't shy away from tackling in the future.
''I know I'm playing offense,'' Locker said. ''I'm not going to let a guy run into the end zone.''
The Titans weren't happy at the failure of the replacement officials on three different passes into the end zone they thought deserved flags for pass interference. Coach Mike Munchak said there always will be calls they believe are missed by officials.
The first came on the opening drive when Devin McCourty helped break up a pass to
Williams had an opinion on the lack of a flag, but refused to criticize the officials, who also needed replay to overturn the on-field ruling of an interception by McCourty in the third quarter that squirted out when he hit the ground.
The Titans even had former Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt on hand, not that she could help them stop or even slow Brady - despite spending the offseason prepping for the teams' first meeting since being routed 59-0 in New England in October 2009.
Brady threw five TD passes in one quarter that day. He didn't match that Sunday, but didn't need to with Ridley providing plenty of help on the ground as the Patriots outgained Tennessee 390-284.
''They're going to make their share of plays, which we knew,'' Munchak said. ''We just couldn't help them, and unfortunately along the way, we helped them.''
The Titans couldn't match Brady's efficiency and had to settle twice for field goals of 28 and 24 yards by
Brady missed connecting with Brandon Lloyd for a would-be TD on the opening drive. That was among his few misses.
He put the Patriots up 7-3 with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez late in the first quarter, capping a 67-yard drive. It was Brady's 301st career pass, surpassing John Elway for fifth in TD passes in NFL history. It also marked his 33rd straight game with a TD pass. He found Rob Gronkowski on a 2-yard TD pass just before halftime for a 21-3 lead.
The Patriots' work boosting their defense through the draft showed early dividends. Jones sacked Locker and forced a fumble that Hightower ran in for a 14-3 lead in the second quarter.
NOTES: Patriots coach Bill Belichick got his 193rd career victory, tying him for eighth all-time with Chuck Knox. ... Brady became the 14th player with 40,000 yards passing in his career. He has 40,215 yards, just shy of Johnny Unitas (40,239) for 13th. ... Brady now has sole possession of fifth for career wins by a quarterback with 125. ... Brady is 5-1 against Tennessee and has 10 TDs with no interceptions in those games. ... Titans LB