CINCINNATI — Look out below!
The Tennessee Titans continued their rapid descent out of contention and toward the bottom of the AFC South with an embarrassing 35-6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
Tennessee dropped to 6-5 with the defeat and, just like losses the weeks before to Jacksonville and Denver, never led in the game. Instead, the Titans wound up with another double-digit defeat to show as they continue a freefall that suddenly shows no end in sight. The 29-point loss was their worst since an Oct. 1 31-point loss to Dallas last year.
The defense continued its struggles without Albert Haynesworth, who missed his third straight game, as Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer completed 32 of 38 passes for 283 yards and four touchdowns, including three to Chad Johnson, who doubled his season output in scores and wound up with 12 catches for 103 yards.
Tennessee’s defense was completely shredded, and it showed most on third down as the Bengals converted on 13 of their first 15 third-down tries and did not punt until the 6:10 mark of the fourth quarter.
Offensively, Tennessee had its chances, but five trips into the red zone produced just two Rob Bironas field goals, plus a lost fumble and a turnover on downs.
In the process, the Titans wasted a 73-yard pass from Vince Young to Justin Gage and a 46-yard Young to Eric Moulds completion, getting no points from either drive. Later, after replay overturned a Chris Brown touchdown, placing the ball at the 1, the Titans completely inept red zone offense couldn’t punch it in with two more chances. Brown was stuffed for no gain on third down, then a ragged fourth-down pass was deflected in the end zone and fell incomplete.
The Titans host the Houston Texans next week at LP Field as they attempt to regroup in time to salvage something of a promising 6-2 start that has suddenly gone horribly wrong.