By Greg Arias
The Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions combined to produce an NFL game on Sunday that would have made any NASCAR fan feel at home as the two teams were flagged for 29 total penalties in the Titans 16-15 week two win at Ford Field.
While the two teams ultimately fell short of challenging the NFL record of 37 penalties in one game, still there were enough flags to turn the game into an ugly affair that included a few questionable decisions by the stripped shirts.
In the first half, the Lions had three touchdowns negated by penalties, two coming on back-to-back plays as Detroit struggled to a 12-3 halftime advantage.
Even the Titans game winning drive was almost short circuited by a penalty when wide receiver Rishard Matthews was flagged for an illegal pick on a completed pass to Andre Johnson that would have given the Titans a first and goal at the Lions one.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota and his offensive mates were able to overcome it as Mariota found Johnson in the end zone on a fourth and 4 at the Detroit 9 yard line as the future Hall of Fame receiver beat double coverage to snag the pass in the end zone for the winning score.
Flagged just twice in their week one loss to Minnesota, the Titans made up for lost time in collecting 12 penalties for 83 yards. Not to be outdone, Detroit was flagged for 17 penalties of their own, totaling 138 yards with several of those stopping potential scoring opportunities with others assisting the Titans in both their fourth quarter touchdown drives.
Titans head coach Mike Mularkey spoke of the penalty fest in his post-game comments.
“I’m gonna have to think that’s a record,” Mularkey said. “It’s got to be an NFL record.”
Mularkey seemed surprised when learning the two teams had not set an NFL record for penalties.
“Oh it wasn’t. I know there were a lot,” Mularkey said.
The Titans must cut down penalties in the future starting next Sunday when they return home to host the Oakland Raiders.