Thoughts on the Tennessee Titans’ 30-3 win against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium:
What it means: The Titans got back over .500, improving to 5-4 with a trouncing of the Panthers. Tennessee looked a lot more like the team that raised expectations in big performances against the Ravens and Browns this season. The Titans will have a chance to pull within a game and a tiebreaker of the Texans in the AFC South next week.
What I liked, offense: Chris Johnson had his biggest effort of the season, with 27 carries for 130 rushing yards and a touchdown to go with four catches for 44 yards. Matt Hasselbeck found connections with Damian Williams, who looked like a dependable, dangerous threat in the passing game with five catches for 107 yards including a 43-yard touchdown.
What I liked, defense: A team that’s struggled to get consistent pressure on the quarterback found five sacks of Cam Newton to go with a Chris Hope interception. The Titans didn’t allow a pass play longer than 19 yards.
What I didn’t like: The Titans were just 3-for-13 on third down, a rate that won’t cut it against a higher-caliber team going forward. Nine penalties for 92 yards are too many for too much.
What’s next: The Titans head for Atlanta for a second consecutive game against an NFC South foe. If they can improve to 6-4, they’ll be only a game and a head-to-head loss off the pace of idle Houston in the division.