Hasselbeck, defense guides Titans over Ravens
Nashville, TN – Matt Hasselbeck threw for 358 yards and a 13 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
Hasselbeck completed 30-of-42 passes against one interception. Kenny Britt had nine receptions for 135 yards and a score for the Titans (1-1), who secured Mike Munchak's first win as an NFL head coach.
Joe Flacco threw for 197 yards and a touchdown against two interceptions on 15-of-32 passing for the Ravens (1-1), who were coming off of a galvanizing, 35-7 victory over the rival Steelers in Week 1.
A 29-yard field goal from Billy Cundiff in the fourth quarter accounted for the lone Baltimore score of the second half.
Munchak, who spent 12 years as a Hall of Fame guard for the Houston Oilers, replaced the long-tenured and respected Jeff Fisher during the offseason.
"That is a huge honor, to be on the team that gave him his first-ever win," said Titans linebacker Will Witherspoon. "That goes down in history."
The new head coach clearly retained some of Fisher's gritty philosophy, as the Titans went blow-for-blow with on of the NFL's more taxing teams.
The first quarter saw each offense struggle to find its footing. Hasselbeck was intercepted by Terrell Suggs on the Titans' second possession, but Flacco gave the ball back three plays later with a pick to Alterraun Verner.
Rob Bironas missed a 34-yard field goal at the start of the second quarter, but was given another chance after Ricky Williams' fumble was recovered by Jordan Banineaux on the Ravens' ensuing possession.
Hasselbeck moved the Titans into field goal range before Bironas was good from 25 yards for a 3-0 Tennessee lead.
The Ravens started their next drive at their own 19 and reeled off a seven- play drive to grab a 7-3 advantage. Flacco completed consecutive 16-yard passes to Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin on the march before connecting with Ray Rice over the middle, who scampered 31-yards for the score.
Tennessee responded in turn. Hasselbeck completed 5-of-6 passes as part of a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. Jared Cook reeled in a 33-yard completion during the possession and Hasselbeck's four-yard pass to Britt in the endzone put the Titans on top 10-7.
Under a minute remained in the half, but David Reed returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards to set up a Cundiff 41-yard field goal and a 10-10 tie at the break.
The third quarter belonged to the Titans.
On the opening drive, an incompletion and a short pass set up a 3rd-and-8. Facing heavy pressure, Hasselbeck unleashed a 42-yard bomb off his back foot which was caught over the middle by Nate Washington. Then, facing a 4th-and-1, Javon Ringer took a pitch from Hasselbeck and ran 10 yards for the go-ahead score.
"We didn't get off the field on third down and that's the bottom line," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
Following a Ravens punt, Bironas capped a 12-play, 65-yard drive with a 43- yard field goal for a 20-10 Titans advantage.
Under pressure, Flacco was incomplete on 3rd-and-2 from his own 48-yard line to stall Baltimore's next drive as the third quarter drew to a close.
The Ravens' defense held, forcing a punt, but two plays into the team's next possession Flacco's pass intended for Ed Dickson was tipped and fell into the arms of Jason McCourty, who returned the interception to the Baltimore 26-yard line.
Bironas' 39-yard field goal made it a 23-10 game.
The Ravens then moved 72 yards to the Tennessee 11-yard line, but the drive stalled on a three-yard run by Rice and two incompletions by Flacco. Cundiff's 29-yard field goal was the result.
The Titans received the ball with 6:58 remaining and burned 6:32 minutes off the clock, chewed up 66 yards, and sealed the game with a 33-yard Bironas field goal.
Hasselbeck notched his 20th career 300-yard passing game. He surpassed 30,000 career passing yards, at 30,200...Titans running back Chris Johnson, a notable preseason holdout, ran for 53 yards on 24 carries.