NASHVILLE — As New Englanders invaded the Music City all weekend, they were showered with Southern hospitality around every corner.
Their favorite football team was not extended the same courtesy on Sunday afternoon.
The Tennessee Titans declined to roll out the red carpet for the Patriots, and instead pulled the rug out from underneath their visitors in a 34-10 blowout in front of a split crowd of 69,363 at Nissan Stadium.
The Patriots, who saw their six-game winning streak snapped, have two weeks to chew on the loss as they head into their bye week at 7-3.
New England was outplayed in every area and was only able to pile up 284 yards of total offense as Tom Brady was not allowed to get in synch. The Tennessee defense sacked him three times, hit him six times, and pressured him countless times.
“Thought we had a good game plan but when push came to shove we just didn’t execute it,’’ said center David Andrews. “You do that against a good football team, these are the results.’’
The running game couldn’t get into gear, either, New England churned out only 40 yards on the ground, including 31 on 11 carries by Sony Michel, who returned after a two-game absence because of a knee injury.
“Just couldn’t get into rhythm,’’ said Michel, who said his knee felt good. “Just got to execute better.’’
The Titans, meanwhile, had no problem establishing a rhythm, scoring on their first three possessions and taking a 17-3 lead that almost seemed insurmountable.
Marcus Mariota orchestrated an offense that struck a perfect balance. The quarterback threw for 228 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Derrick Henry (58 yards) and Dion Lewis (57) spearheaded a ground attack that churned out 150.
“The Titans did a better job than we did in every part of the game, every phase of the game,’’ said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “So, not a good day for us. We’ve got a lot of work to do here, a lot of football left to go.’’
Julian Edelman was one of the lone bright spots on offense for the Patriots, collecting nine catches for 104 yards. He was able to get the better of Logan Ryan plenty, but it was his former teammate who got the last laugh.
Trailing, 27-10, the Patriots were driving with 13 minutes to go, clinging to a comeback hope, when Ryan shut the door on fourth and 6.
Edelman, who last week said that if you “mess up with Logan, he’s going to run the route for you,’’ ran a crosser with Ryan on his hip. The corner timed his dive perfectly, deflecting Tom Brady’s pass away at the last nanosecond.
While the Patriots have absorbed a few early-season beatings, a loss this lopsided this late is rare, and Edelman was asked if that is of particular concern.
“Any time you lose like that it’s always concerning,’’ said Edelman. “You know, we’ve got a resilient bunch of guys and we’re going to go back to work, take advantage of this week, and that’s what we’ll do.’’
Stephon Gilmore has been playing at an All-Pro level most of the season, so it was surprising to see the corner struggle in his battle with Corey Davis, who finished with seven catches for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Gilmore hadn’t given up a touchdown pass since Week 3 and hadn’t allowed more than three catches to any one receiver in a game all season.
“I could have won that matchup a little bit more, but he made some plays today. I have to [take] my hat off to them,’’ Gilmore said.
New England was forced to do some shuffling along the offensive line as both tackles were forced out. And they already were missing right guard Shaq Mason, who has a calf injury.
Left tackle Trent Brown, who missed two practices this past week with an illness, was forced out twice. He left in the first half because of the illness but returned to start the second half. He went out for good because of a back problem suffered in a friendly-fire collision with Dwayne Allen.
Right tackle Marcus Cannon left briefly for an undisclosed reason but was able to return.
LaAdrian Waddle replaced both players at times and finished the game at left tackle.
The Patriots’ defense, normally known for its ability to stiffen in the red zone, wasn’t able to protect that valuable patch of real estate. The Titans scored touchdowns on four of their six trips.
“That was definitely a big emphasis for us,’’ said receiver Corey Davis. “We love [kicker Ryan] Succop, we love 3 points, but if we can get 6, we are definitely going to like that.’’
ANYTHING I CAN DO . . .
The Patriots tried a little sleight of hand to get things going in the fourth quarter when they tried a double-reverse pass from Julian Edelman (who had taken a handoff from James White, who had taken a handoff from Tom Brady) to Brady for a 6-yard completion.
Brady, however, fell short (literally), forcing a fourth and 1 that became a fourth and 6 when Marcus Cannon false started. They failed to convert (see Edelman-Logan Ryan, above) and the Titans rubbed it in a little.
On the first play of their ensuing drive, Mike Vrabel called the same play. Dion Lewis, who took a handoff from Marcus Mariota, flipped to Darius Jennings, who then passed it to Mariota for a 21-yard gain.
“I wanted to see if it looked any better than theirs,’’ quipped Vrabel. “[Marcus] got up a lot quicker than Tom, I know that.’’
After the game, Mariota was asked (in jest, we think) if he is better than Brady.
“I’m not even going there,’’ he said.
The Patriots only hit paydirt once, and it came from an unlikely source as James Develin dived in from the 1-yard line. It was the rugged fullback’s first carry since 2014 and the second score of his six-year career.
“It was awesome, but I’d have traded it all for a win today,’’ said Develin. “But the offensive line did a good job on the play. I had to try and get a couple of inches there and I was just lucky to get in. But we have a lot to work on and a lot of other stuff to focus on.’’
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“You’re going into that bye week with a dirty taste in your mouth. So, you could either do well from it or you could tank. So, we’re going to go out and take advantage of this week, and I’m sure our coaches are going to have us ready. Guys [are] going to be out there fiery and it’s up to us,’’ Julian Edelman.
In addition to Trent Brown and Marcus Cannon, the Patriots also lost Dwayne Allen to a knee injury during the collision with Brown. Allen tried to give it a go but eventually had to take himself out.
Julian Edelman retreated to the locker room to have his ankle looked at in the fourth quarter but did return to the sideline, though he didn’t reenter the game.
“We’ll see how it feels tomorrow,’’ he said.
For the Titans, tailback David Fluellen suffered a noncontact knee injury in the second quarter and did not return. Also, former Boston College star Harold Landry hurt his knee during the Tom Brady double-reverse pass play.
NEXT WEEK: BYE
The Patriots don’t play again until Nov. 25, when they take on the reeling Jets.
“Only thing we can do is go back to work this week,’’ said center David Andrews. “Six games left, got to take advantage of this week off and get better and improve on a lot of things and come rolling out of the gates for these last six games.’’