Patriots 34

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Titans 13

(0-1, 0-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, September 9, 2012

LP Field, Nashville, TN 

1 2 3 4 T
NE 7 14 7 634
TEN 3 0 7 313

Top Performers

Passing: T. Brady (NE) - 236 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: S. Ridley (NE) - 21 CAR, 125 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: B. Lloyd (NE) - 5 REC, 69 YDS

Tom Brady leads Pats to ninth straight opener win news services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tom Brady almost broke his nose, but that was about the only damage inflicted by the Tennessee Titans against the New England Patriots, who simply don't lose season openers.

Brady threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and the defending AFC champion Patriots routed the Tennessee Titans 34-13 for their ninth straight season-opening win Sunday. It's the longest current streak in the league.

"I need some scars," Brady said, joking about the white bandage covering his nose and marring his usual look.

Titans defensive end Kamerion Wimbley hurt Brady in the second quarter when he got Tennessee's only sack of the game. Brady told WEEI radio in Boston on Monday that his nose was not broken.

Brady said that was the only good hit he took all day and complimented his revised offensive line featuring a new left tackle in Nate Solder, new center in Dan Connolly and right guard in Donald Thomas.

"It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but it's always fun to win," Brady said. "It's a good feeling."

The Patriots ruined Jake Locker's debut as Tennessee's starter, sacking him twice and forcing two turnovers. New England rookie Dont'a Hightower returned Locker's fumble 6 yards for a TD in his own debut, and Stevan Ridley ran for 125 yards and a TD.

New England even knocked Locker out of the game in the fourth quarter and held Chris Johnson to 4 yards on 11 carries.

"This is something that can be a backbone for us," Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. " To hold a great back to only 4 yards, that was good defense."

Locker hurt his left shoulder tackling safety Patrick Chung on a fumble return officials should have whistled dead as an incomplete pass to Titans receiver Nate Washington, who also was hurt on the play. Matt Hasselbeck replaced Locker, who was kept on the sideline as a precaution.

The eighth pick overall in 2011 tried to talk his way back onto the field after being examined. Locker said he was sore but expects to play next week at San Diego. And he won't shy away from tackling in the future.

"I know I'm playing offense," Locker said. "I'm not going to let a guy run into the end zone."

The Titans weren't happy at the failure of the replacement officials on three different passes into the end zone they thought deserved flags for pass interference. Coach Mike Munchak said there always will be calls they believe are missed by officials.

The first came on the opening drive when Devin McCourty helped break up a pass to Damian Williams in the end zone. The second wound up an interception by Patriots rookie Tavon Wilson on a pass to Washington. The third came with Chung defending Jared Cook in the fourth quarter that left the Titans tight end pleading his case to an official.

Williams had an opinion on the lack of a flag, but refused to criticize the officials, who also needed replay to overturn the on-field ruling of an interception by McCourty in the third quarter that squirted out when he hit the ground.

The Titans even had former Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt on hand, not that she could help them stop or even slow Brady -- despite spending the offseason prepping for the teams' first meeting since being routed 59-0 in New England in October 2009.

Brady threw five TD passes in one quarter that day. He didn't match that Sunday, but didn't need to with Ridley providing plenty of help on the ground as the Patriots outgained Tennessee 390-284.

"They're going to make their share of plays, which we knew," Munchak said. "We just couldn't help them, and unfortunately along the way, we helped them."

The Titans couldn't match Brady's efficiency and had to settle twice for field goals of 28 and 24 yards by Rob Bironas. Locker did find Washington on a 29-yard TD in the third quarter even with Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones grabbing the quarterback.

Brady missed connecting with Brandon Lloyd for a would-be TD on the opening drive. That was among his few misses.

He put the Patriots up 7-3 with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez late in the first quarter, capping a 67-yard drive. It was Brady's 301st career pass, surpassing John Elway for fifth in TD passes in NFL history. It also marked his 33rd straight game with a TD pass. He found Rob Gronkowski on a 2-yard TD pass just before halftime for a 21-3 lead.

The Patriots' work boosting their defense through the draft showed early dividends. Jones sacked Locker and forced a fumble that Hightower ran in for a 14-3 lead in the second quarter.

Game notes

Patriots coach Bill Belichick got his 193rd career victory, tying him for eighth all-time with Chuck Knox. ... Brady became the 14th player with 40,000 yards passing in his career. He has 40,215 yards, just shy of Johnny Unitas (40,239) for 13th. ... Brady now has sole possession of fifth for career wins by a quarterback with 125. ... Brady is 5-1 against Tennessee and has 10 TDs with no interceptions in those games. ... Titans LB Colin McCarthy had a walking boot on his right foot but said he'll be OK.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2516
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6761
Total Yards390284
Yards per play5.84.7
Total Drives1011
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-0
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

tenFG8:47Rob Bironas 28 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 70 yds, 6:17
neTD2:05Aaron Hernandez 23 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 67 yds, 2:06
neTD11:16Dont'A Hightower 6 Yard Fumble Return (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, -4 yds, 0:59
neTD2:06Rob Gronkowski 2 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 67 yds, 5:17
tenTD10:25Nate Washington 29 Yard Pass From Jake Locker (Rob Bironas Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 80 yds, 1:30
neTD1:08Stevan Ridley 1 Yard Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 48 yds, 2:25
tenFG9:20Rob Bironas 24 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 16 plays, 73 yds, 6:47
neFG4:19Stephen Gostkowski 25 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 76 yds, 5:02
neFG0:35Stephen Gostkowski 31 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 11 yds, 3:12

Research Notes

NEXT LEVEL: Robert Griffin III completed 8 of 9 pass attempts for 188 yards two touchdowns when the Saints sent five or more pass rushers. The Saints have sent five or more pass rushers at a higher rate than any other team since 2008, but during that time span no quarterback completed a higher percentage of passes against their pressure in a game than Griffin on Sunday.
Chris Johnson rushed for a career-low four yards on 11 rushes. Johnson never gained more than two yards after contact on a rush and the Patriots defenses hit Johnson at or behind the line of scrimmage on 8-of-11 rushes. Johnson's previous rushing low was five yards on seven rushes against the Texans in 2010.

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