Titans lose Locker, but still take down Jets
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Jake Locker was well on his way to a career afternoon before leaving the game with a right hip injury.
Locker had completed 18-for-24 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns before taking a hit from Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson early in the third quarter. Locker was carted off with his Tennessee Titans holding an 18-point lead, and they held on to defeat the Jets, 38-13.
Ryan Fitzpatrick took over at quarterback and completed 3-for-8 throws for 108 yards, 77 of which came on a touchdown pass to Nate Washington.
Washington hauled in four passes for 105 yards and two scores as Tennessee (3-1) won its second straight game. The veteran receiver also went over 5,000 career receiving yards.
"It's just hard work that got me to 5,000," said Washington. "A lot of people told me I'm not even supposed to be here."
New York (2-2) rookie quarterback Geno Smith threw for 289 yards and a touchdown, but lost a pair of fumbles and was picked off twice. The Titans turned four Jets' turnovers into 28 points.
"It was one of those days where not much went right, with me in particular," said Smith. "I put the ball on the ground way too many times."
Smith's afternoon got off to a rough start when Alterraun Verner picked off the rookie's first pass from scrimmage and was pushed out of bounds at the Jets' 18. Chris Johnson and Jackie Battle each carried twice to get the ball down to the 1-yard line before Locker found Delanie Walker for a score.
Rod Bironas added a 26-yard field goal on Tennessee's next possession, putting the Titans ahead 10-0.
Nick Folk's 45-yard field goal made it 10-3, but Smith lost a fumble on the Jets' next possession, setting up Locker's 4-yard touchdown pass to Washington.
Folk knocked home a 47-yard kick with 2:26 left in the second quarter to bring the Jets within 17-6.
With 1:37 remaining before halftime, Smith took a snap and made an ill-advised throw to the sideline right into the arms of Verner for his second pick of the game, which set up another Titans' touchdown.
Three straight short passes to Damian Williams put Tennessee on the New York 16-yard line. Locker then lofted a ball to Justin Hunter in single coverage down the left sideline. Hunter leapt and made an acrobatic catch, landing on his back in the end zone for a touchdown with just two seconds on the clock.
Locker's injury was deflating to Tennessee's offense, which failed to score in the third quarter, but the Titans defense stepped up and made things difficult for Smith and the Jets. All three New York drives in the third ended with a Ryan Quigley punt.
"We're just playing with a different attitude out there," said safety Michael Griffin. "You get guys like Bernard Pollard and George Wilson, you just feed off them."
Early in the fourth, Smith dropped back to pass and was sacked near the goal line by Karl Klug, who jarred the ball loose as Smith was going to the ground and fell on it in the end zone for a 31-6 Titans' lead.
The young signal-caller had a positive moment on the next New York series. He completed 6-of-7 passes, including a 34-yard pitch-and-catch with Jeff Cumberland for the Jets' lone touchdown.
Fitzpatrick returned the favor when he launched a pass deep down the field for Washington, who had a step on his defender. Washington jumped and made a difficult catch, knocking down a referee in the process, before scampering to the end zone for a 77-yard touchdown that capped the scoring with 7:06 to play.
Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes left after injuring his hamstring early in the fourth quarter ... The Jets outgained Tennessee on the ground, 91-78 ... Tennessee remains home to host the undefeated Chiefs next week, while the Jets have an extra day of rest before meeting the Falcons on Monday Night Football.
09/29 20:06:57 ET
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