NFL

Titans can't overcome former WR Brown in 2nd straight loss

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By DAN GELSTON

AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Titans rookie receiver Treylon Burks absorbed a brutal blow from a helmet to his facemask and somehow held onto the ball for his first receiving touchdown. The score came with a hefty price.

Burks briefly lay motionless in the end zone because of a concussion, and Titans and Eagles players took a knee in prayer. Burks eventually walked off on his own power.

"It's unfortunate he couldn't finish the game," Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel said.

The talented wideout had downplayed comparisons all week to the receiver he replaced - A.J Brown - and insisted there was no comparison in production between the two.

Because of the injury, Burks never really got his chance to flash his stuff.

Brown made the most of his shot to show the Titans what they missed, and they were the latest team steamrolled by the 11-1 Eagles.

Ryan Tannehill threw for only 141 yards, and Derrick Henry was held to only 30 yards rushing in Philadelphia's 35-10 win over the Tennessee on Sunday. The AFC South-leading Titans (7-5) lost their second straight game.

"I think we're at a crossroads with how we kind of want to continue down this season," Vrabel said. "We can't point fingers. We have to assume that each and every one of us didn't do a good enough job, because we didn't."

That included Henry. He entered second in the NFL in scrimmage yards (1,326), rushing yards (1,048) and rushing TDs (10). But the two-time NFL rushing champ had an uncharacteristically rough effort on the ground in last week's loss to Cincinnati, running for just 38 yards.

Against Philly, he had only 11 carries and a long rush of 6 yards.

"I pride myself on being a playmaker with this team and I haven't done it the last two weeks," he said. "It's tough to get two losses and I haven't had success."

The Titans are still the only team in their division with a winning record and still have a grip on earning a top-four playoff seed in the conference.

"It's time to focus on getting better," Henry said.

Vrabel, though, has been around long enough to know that one or two losses can sometimes spiral into three or four - or at least slow a team's momentum heading into the playoffs.

"It sucks losing. It sucks getting beat the way we did," Vrabel said. "We've got to make a decision in how much we're willing to invest and trust in what the coaches are doing, what other players are doing. I think it's a critical time for us."

The good news: There's a chance to steady the team Sunday against lowly Jacksonville.

"Everyone has a role in it," said Tannehill, who was sacked six times. "I try to go win a game each and every week. That process won't change. I know we have a division game at home this week and we've got to find a way to win."

Burks was injured and so was linebacker David Long Jr. (hamstring) and cornerback Kristian Fulton (groin). Fulton was hurt when he was barreled over by Brown on his run to the end zone for his first touchdown.

At least the Titans don't have to worry about another game against Brown.

The Eagles traded the 18th overall pick in the draft and a third-rounder to Tennessee to get the 2020 Pro Bowl wide receiver after contract extension talks stalled. Brown put on a show with eight catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns. He didn't forget his roots and hugged his former teammates before the game - and Vrabel, who walked off and shook his head in the team's draft room when the deal was announced.

"We built a relationship, that hasn't changed," Brown said. "Lot of respect for him as a person, even before a coach."

Vrabel just wished this was one game on Brown's highlight reel he could have missed.

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Updated December 4, 2022


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