It was a battle for the most part, but the Titans could not come out with the win. Facing one of the remaining undefeated teams in the league, the Titans played hard, but it was not enough.
On defense, Cam Newton started this one off hot. He completed his first 11 passes, and the Titans' defense had no answer for Greg Olsen over the middle. It was evident that the secondary was banged up, but the team still held its own, overall, keeping it relatively close.
Offensively, Marcus Mariota had a hot start as well. He consistently found Delanie Walker and Anthony Fasano open, sitting in the soft spots of the Panthers' zone defense. There was a lot less success on the ground, outside of a long touchdown run by Dexter McCluster. Kawann Short and company were way too much for Joe Looney and Andy Gallik to handle.
Things evened out at the beginning of the second half, and things turned to the defensive battle that was expected. Hats off to Dick Lebeau for another week of great second half adjustments after a shaky start by the defense. The Titans started off with three straight sacks. The Panthers made great adjustments at the half as well, as the Titans could not move the ball at all in the second half.
Carolina went on a scoring drive in the fourth quarter, putting them up by two scores, 20-10, which all but ended the game, as the offense could not respond. Much like their team slogan, the Panthers kept pounding until they just wore the Titans down. They completely dominated the fourth quarter, and really, the second half.
You've got to appreciate the fight from this team that looked completely lifeless a couple of weeks ago, but the Panthers are one of the best teams in the league with elite players all over the roster. There is no doubt that this team is improved under Mike Mularkey, but they are not quite there yet. Much more on the aftermath will come quickly, as the Titans have to turn around and face a divisional foe in Jacksonville on Thursday.