Hasselbeck has 2 TDs, Titans beat Broncos 17-14
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans won the game. How long they’ll lose receiver Kenny Britt remains to be seen, though it didn’t look good as he limped to the sideline.
Matt Hasselbeck threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Graham with 4:24 left, and the Titans rallied for a 17-14 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
The Titans (2-1) lost Britt, the AFC’s leading receiver, when his right knee buckled underneath him in the second quarter, and he was carted to the locker room. Hasselbeck found other players to throw to, including Graham, whose first catch of the season came against his former team.
Hasselbeck passed for 311 yards and two touchdowns to lead Tennessee to its second straight win.
The Titans intercepted Kyle Orton twice, sacked him once and also stopped Willis McGahee on fourth-and-goal at the 1 early in the fourth quarter.
Denver (1-2) drove to the Titans 38 before Will Witherspoon sacked Orton, and two plays later, Jason Jones batted Orton’s pass into the air. Witherspoon picked it off with 1:39 left to seal the victory.
A veteran signed to mentor rookie Jake Locker and to win now, Hasselbeck did just that as Denver held Chris Johnson to only 21 yards on 13 carries in his third game back from his contract holdout. Hasselbeck took control on the go-ahead drive that started at the Tennessee 5, completing passes to five different receivers, with the longest a 58-yarder to tight end Craig Stevens. He also tossed a 14-yard TD to Nate Washington.
Britt, who had 271 yards receiving coming into the game, was hurt with 5:55 left in the second quarter. He had just caught a swing pass from Hasselbeck, eluded a tackler and tried to turn upfield when he fell to the ground and lost the ball. The Titans forced Denver to go three-and-out, then punter Brett Kern came up with Tennessee’s longest rush this season.
Denver called the Titans dirty a year ago after winning in Nashville. Tennessee racked up a season-high 11 penalties for 80 yards compared to just one for Denver on a facemask Sunday.
But Tennessee outgained the Broncos 333-231, and Denver didn’t score a point off two fumbles recovered. That included a fumble by Hasselbeck recovered at the Titans 13 late in the third quarter.
At the end of that drive, Denver coach John Fox took a timeout, pulled kicker Matt Prater off the field and went for it on fourth-and-goal. Derrick Morgan, Tennessee’s first-round pick a year ago, stopped McGahee for no gain.
The Titans led 10-7 at halftime before Orton took control of the third quarter with a 16-play drive using up more than eight minutes. He converted four third downs with completions, the last a 5-yarder to McGahee for a TD and a 14-10 lead with 1:17 left in the quarter. Orton was 9 of 10 for 51 yards on the drive.
Denver rookie Von Miller sacked Hasselbeck, knocking the ball loose, on the ensuing drive. That gave Denver the ball at the Titans 13 and seemingly all the momentum.
Hasselbeck completed 10 of his first 11 passes for 125 yards and a TD. He even connected with Johnson on a 34-yard pass down the left sideline that Fox challenged to make sure the running back got both feet in on the catch.
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