Defense sunk by Titans offense

Green Bay's defense was defenseless.

Green Bay's defense was a stick of butter to the hot knife of Tennessee's offense.

Green Bay's defense had more holes than Swiss cheese.

Pick your cliche and it's probably appropriate after an embarrassing 48-27 loss to Tennessee in front of a national television audience on Monday night in Lambeau Field.

Tennessee had its first touchdown with 13:31 remaining in the first quarter. Tennessee had it second touchdown with 9:45 remaining in the first quarter. Tennessee added a field goal with 6:05 remaining in the first quarter. That's 17 points allowed against an outfit averaging 15.8 points in the first four games of the season.

Suddenly the Packers are 1-4. Suddenly the Packers are 0-3 at Lambeau Field, where they used to be invincible. Suddenly, a team with Super Bowl aspirations is all but eliminated from the playoff chase just five games into this season.

The Packers have allowed more than 400 yards in their last four games, and yielded 40-plus points in two of those. Even last week, when the Giants were held to 14 points, a series of missed field goals and a telegraphed interception prevented them from putting 30 on the board.

Tennessee imposed its will on the Packers on the first two possessions of the game. The Titans scored a touchdown on the opening series, needing five plays to move the 66 yards. The first play of the game was a bomb that was dropped by Titans receiver Drew Bennett. The third play was a Steve McNair bootleg in which he overthrew a wide-open receiver. No matter, because a wide receiver screen to Derrick Mason gained 24 yards on the second play of the game and Chris Brown rumbled 37 yards for the touchdown.

The second touchdown run by Brown, a 29-yarder, was a near replay of the first. This time Brown ran to the left, but like the first touchdown, the Packers defended it poorly and tackled it even worse.

After allowing 150-plus rushing yards to Chicago's Thomas Jones and New York's Tiki Barber in the first two games at Lambeau, Brown had 78 yards after the first two drives. He finished with 148 despite getting to watch most of the fourth quarter.

Packers coach Mike Sherman tore into his players on the sideline after the second touchdown, and it sort of had an impact as the defense held Tennessee to a field goal after an Ahman Green fumble. On the third-down play, Packers linebacker Nick Barnett slashed through the Tennessee line and stopped Brown shy of the first-down marker. Barnett got up and posed as if he had done something special, even though he was a major culprit on both of the previous touchdown runs.

Despite the stand, Tennessee rolled up 456 yards of total offense — 310 of which came in the first half. The Titans rushed for 224 yards on the night.

The pass defense, getting no help from an anemic pass rush, was hardly immune from the ghastly performance. Cornerback Michael Hawthorne had another brutal game, giving up the wide receiver screen on the first touchdown drive and a 20-yard hookup on the second touchdown drive. He missed a tackle on Brown's first touchdown, and was knocked from the game for a spell after suffering a blow to the head in the first quarter.

Hawthorne, who was limited to duty in the dime defense the rest of the game, was replaced in the base defense by first-round pick Ahmad Carroll. The rookie was turned in circles by Tennessee's passing game, particularly when he allowed a 30-yard gain on a third-and-23 play to set up Tennessee's third touchdown of the night.

Starting strong safety Mark Roman didn't start due to a knee injury suffered at practice late last week. He was replaced by Bhawoh Jue for the first two series before entering the base defense. Starting free safety Darren Sharper missed a tackle on Brown's second touchdown.

Starting strong-side linebacker Hannibal Navies was held out due to an ongoing shoulder injury. He was replaced by Paris Lenon, who started, and Torrance Marshall.

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