Titans escape with win versus Browns

Wide receivers Kendall Wright and Rishard Matthews celebrate after Matthews' TD grab.

Wide receivers Kendall Wright and Rishard Matthews celebrate after Matthews’ TD grab.

The Tennessee Titans (3-3) almost blew the lead to Terrelle Pryor, Sr. and the Cleveland Browns (0-6) this past Sunday afternoon. The Titans led all day, but became very vulnerable the last five minutes of the game. Browns quarterback Cody Kessler rallied his troops to within two points, before running out of time. They trailed 28-13 when Kessler hit Pryor for a five-yard touchdown with approximately two minutes left. The two-point conversion failed. The Browns, then, attempted and recovered an onside kick. Duke Johnson, Jr. scored a one-yard touchdown with less than 30 seconds remaining. Cleveland attempted another onside kick, but failed to recover that one. The final score was 28-26.

This is the Titans’ second straight victory. In the process, they matched their win total for all of last season. It just so happens that they also beat a team other than Jacksonville on their home turf for the first time since 2013. They take on their biggest division rival this week, the Indianapolis Colts. Maybe, another win is among them.

Marcus Mariota threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns. The Titans went on a 75-yard drive, capped off by an 11-yard TD pass from Mariota to Rishard Matthews to open the game—their first opening touchdown drive since the season opener last year. Mariota rushed for 41 yards on the first play from scrimmage, helping to set up the score. Wide receiver Kendall Wright finished his day with eight catches for 133 yards and a score. Mariota hit Wright with a 48-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

Cleveland now has its worst start since 1999. It seemed as if Tennessee got to Kessler all day, as they sacked him six times. He did, however, throw for a career-high 336 yards. He also had two touchdown passes, both to Pryor.

This was somewhat sweet revenge for the Titans. They’ve lost to the Browns each of the past two seasons, narrowly avoiding a thrilling comeback by the Dawgs in this one.