Magnificent Mariota shines as Titans pound Packers

*The Tennessee Titans exotic smashmouthed Green Bay early, pummeling the slumping Packers, 47-25, in Nashville. Here is what you need to know: *

  1. Marcus Mariota tossed four touchdowns for the sixth time in 22 career games, picking apart the Packers' secondary with precision passes, dynamic downfield throws and brilliant reads. Late in the first half, the Titans quarterback boasted a perfect passer rating, which only began to explain how well he performed early. Mariota's combination of pinpoint accuracy and athletic creativity allows him to surgically dismantle defenses. When Mariota plays like he did Sunday (19-of-26, 295 yards, 4 TDs) the Titans are a playoff-caliber offense.
  1. The Packers looked collectively hungover to start the game. With eight seconds remaining in the first quarter, Aaron Rodgers had one completed pass and the Packers were being outgained 231 yards to 17 yards. Mike McCarthy's team couldn't get off the field on defense, consistently shot themselves in the foot with penalties, muffed a punt leading to a touchdown and Rodgers threw two interceptions. The muffed punt led to a Titans touchdown putting the Packers down 35-10, the largest first-half deficit in any game started by Rodgers, per NFL Research. The Packers' offense came to life for a spurt in the second quarter -- with Rodgers tossing 13 straight completions at one point -- but couldn't keep pace with the magnificent Mariota.
  1. The Green Bay defense entered the week allowing a league-low 75.8 rushing yards per game. DeMarco Murray almost equaled that total on his first tote. The running back took the Titans first play from scrimmage 75 yards untouched for a touchdown. On the next drive, Murray threw a touchdown pass to Delanie Walker. Murray finished with 17 carries for 127 rushing yards, a touchdown, two receptions for 33 yards and the 10-yard TD pass. The fresh running back easily outflanked a limp, injured Packers defense. Murray and Walker (nine receptions for 124 yards, TD) destroyed Green Bay's will Sunday.
  1. Davante Adams was the only Packers player on fire from the start. The unfairly maligned receiver gashed the Titans secondary, picking up chunk gains en route to a six-catch 156-yard day. Finally healthy after dealing with an ankle sprain all last season, Adams is able to create separation and has Rodgers trust on back-shoulder throws. Adams and Jordy Nelson (12 catches, 126 yards, TD) routinely torched corner Perrish Cox. Outside of those two, however, the Packers' offense was unproductive and predictable.

James Starks returned to the lineup and earned the majority of backfield snaps, but carried just seven times for 33 yards as Green Bay went pass-heavy once again (51 attempts for Rodgers).

  1. Titans starting left tackle Taylor Lewan was ejected early in the first quarter for contacting an official during a scrum. It was the first of two brouhahas that took place Sunday. The Titans didn't suffer sans Lewan, scoring a touchdown six plays after the starter was ejected. Even without Lewan, the Titans did not allow a QB hit in the first half against a Packers defense that struggles to pressure the passer without Clay Matthews.
  1. Perhaps the craziest reality of this season: A previously magoo Mike Mularkey is guiding a fun, gutsy team. Mularkey called for an onside kick to open the game (failed). His halfback threw a touchdown pass. Tennessee's offense is one of the most diverse and entertaining when Mariota is in a groove. Believe it, world, THE TITANS ARE FUN.
  1. The Titans pulled to 5-5 ahead of a Week 11 divisional matchup versus the Indianapolis Colts followed by a trip to face the woeful Chicago Bears. Tennessee can surge into contention in a winnable AFC South.

The Packers (4-5) are sinking. For the first time since 2008, Green Bay is under .500 after nine games. That was when Aaron Rodgers first became the starter. With road trips to Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia on deck before hosting the Seahawks, the Packers are in danger of washing out of the playoff picture before Christmas.

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