Two big first-half gaffes hurt Titans

September, 18, 2011
9/18/11
2:49
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans have looked to be the better team though the first half of their game against the Baltimore Ravens. But a couple crucial mistakes have made it a 10-10 game at intermission.

On a short pass over the middle that turned into a 31-yard Ray Rice touchdown, several Titans including linebacker Barrett Ruud and safety Jordan Babineaux missed chances to bring down the running back. (Not as bad as Maurice Jones-Drew's untouched run last week, but not better enough.)

After the Titans pulled ahead 10-7 they kicked off with just 29 seconds left in the second quarter. Even with three Baltimore timeouts, it was reasonable to hope they’d get to the locker room unscathed.

But kick returner David Reed burst up the middle then headed to the left sideline and only a good play by Lavelle Hawkins prevented a return touchdown. Reed advanced the ball 77 yards. Baltimore moved it just seven more, but it was enough for Billy Cundiff to hit a 41-yard field goal as time expired.

If the Titans could have tackled on the Rice play and could have covered the kickoff, they’d be in a lot better shape.

A small bright side: They deferred the opening kickoff and will get the ball to start the third quarter.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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