NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ryan Tannehill threw for 240 yards and a touchdown and the Tennessee Titans rebounded from the franchise’s worst offensive performance in 49 years by routing the Cincinnati Bengals 27-3 Sunday.
The Titans (2-2) managed only 94 yards in losing last week in Cleveland, and they bounced back strongly. They scored 27 unanswered points and led 24-3 at halftime, giving coach Mike Vrabel his first win in four tries against Cincinnati.
Derrick Henry ran 29 yards for a touchdown, and he also found rookie tight end Josh Whyle for a 2-yard TD on a jump pass from the wildcat just before halftime. Henry, held to just 20 yards rushing last week, finished with 122 yards on 22 carries.
Tennessee played without a pair of offensive starters with left guard Peter Skoronski missing his third game recovering from an appendectomy, and wide receiver Treylon Burks out with an injured left knee. It didn’t matter as Tennessee sacked Joe Burrow three times and stripped him of the ball.
The Bengals (1-3) had won seven of the past nine between these old AFC Central rivals.
Cincinnati won the toss and took the ball, and Burrow worked mostly out of the shotgun throwing lots of quick, short passes after practicing fully all week with his sore calf. The Bengals settled for a 21-yard field goal by Evan McPherson after having first-and-goal from the Titans 10.
A sequence in the third quarter summed up Cincinnati’s offensive struggles.
Linebacker Trevis Gipson stripped Burrow of the ball in the third quarter and safety Kevin Byard recovered. The defense went to the end zone and celebrated while officials switched and announced Tennessee recovered the ball and not the Bengals.
The Bengals remain one of two NFL teams not to score a first-half TD this season. The Giants have a chance to end that Monday night when they host Seattle.
Nick Folk capped Tennessee’s opening drive with a 53-yard field goal. The Titans scored 21 points to take control in the second quarter.
Tannehill connected with DeAndre Hopkins on their longest pass since the three-time All-Pro signed with the Titans, a 38-yarder on third-and-7. Tannehill hit his next two passes, the second a 13-yard TD to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine for a 10-3 lead capping a 78-yard drive.
MOVING ON UP
Henry ran for 5 yards on the second play of the third quarter, giving him 77 yards and passing Pro Football Hall of Fame running back and 1979 NFL MVP Earl Campbell (8,574) for second on the franchise career rushing list. Henry trails only Eddie George (10,009) in that category.
His rushing TD was the 80th of Henry’s career, tying him with Edgerrin James for 21st in NFL history. His TD pass was the fourth of Henry’s career. Henry now has 38 100-yard rushing games in his career, including the playoffs.
The Titans opened the third quarter with a 15-play drive that ended in Folk’s second field goal. But they held the ball for 10 minutes, 22 seconds for the franchise’s longest scoring drive since Oct. 26, 2003, against Jacksonville.
Cincinnati WR Tee Higgins did not play in the second half because of injured ribs. The native of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, finished with two catches for 19 yards. Starting CB Cam Taylor-Britt was ruled out after being evaluated for a concussion.
Whyle hurt an ankle and didn’t return for Tennessee.
The Bengals finish a two-game road swing, visiting Arizona.
The Titans visit Indianapolis for their first AFC South game.