Up next: Tennessee Titans

Posted Oct 8, 2013

The Seahawks play their only home game in the month of October on Sunday afternoon when they host the 3-2 Tennessee Titans at CenturyLink Field.

A look at the Tennessee Titans, the Seahawks’ opponent in their Week 6 game at CenturyLink Field:

When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. PT, CenturyLink Field

Record: 3-2 after Sunday’s 26-17 loss to the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs

Where they rank: No. 26 on offense (13th rushing, 26th passing); No. 9 on defense (14th rushing, 9th passing)

TV: CBS (KIRO/7 in the greater Seattle area), with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf

Series: Seahawks lead 9-5, but the Titans won the last meeting – 17-13 in the 2009 season finale in Seattle – to snap the Seahawks’ five-game winning streak

Star power: Chris Johnson. While he’s not exactly having a Chris Johnson kind of season, averaging 3.1 yards per carry and 58.8 yards per game, he remains the league’s second-leading rusher since joining the Titans in 2008. Johnson’s 7,182 yards trail only the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson (7,929) over that span. Of that total, 2,006 came in 2009 – and 134 of those yards came in the season finale against the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. And Johnson did it on 36 carries, as then-Titans coach Jeff Fisher came into that game determined to make Johnson only the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards and get the Titans their eighth win. That double-check performance, without any discount, allowed Johnson to join O.J. Simpson (1973), Eric Dickerson (1984), Barry Sanders (1997), Terrell Davis (1998) and Jamal Lewis (2003) as the league’s only 2K rushers. Peterson joined them last season.

Unsung hero: Kendall Wright. The second-year wide receiver not only leads the Titans with 26 receptions, he leads the league with 13 third-down receptions – including his only touchdown catch. Last season, after being the 20th overall pick in the NFL Draft, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Wright had 64 receptions to become the first rookie to lead the Titans/Oilers in receiving since Bill Groman in the franchise’s inaugural season in 1960. Despite not being a “starter,” Wright led the team with seven receptions in Week 2 and six receptions last week; tied for the team lead with five receptions in Week 4; and was second with six receptions in Week 3. 

On the spot: Ryan Fitzpatrick. This was supposed to be a homecoming for Jake Locker, the Ferndale-born former University of Washington quarterback. Locker is coming home, but he won’t play because of a sprained right hip. So Fitzpatrick it is, in his second start for the Titans. The Seahawks saw him in Week 15 last season, when Fitzpatrick was quarterbacking the Buffalo Bills. He was 21 of 38 for 217 yards and a touchdown in the game that was played at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, but also threw two interceptions in the game – one that was returned 57 yards for a touchdown by All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas in the Seahawks’ 50-17 victory. This season’s Titans are better than last season’s Bills, but this season’s Titans aren’t the same team with Fitzpatrick taking over for Locker. Fitzpatrick missed his first five throws against the Chiefs last week and then threw two interceptions in the final 6:14 of the nine-point loss. In between, he threw 49- and 9-yard TD passes. Which Fitzpatrick shows up at CenturyLink Field on Sunday?

Burning question: Whatever happened to Chris Spencer? The Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 2005 is a backup center and guard for the Titans. Spencer played the past two seasons with the Chicago Bears, who signed him just before the start of training camp in 2011. Spencer then signed with the Titans in April. During his six-season stay in Seattle, Spencer started 70 games for the Seahawks.

Numbers to know: 4, interceptions by cornerback Alterraun Verner to share the NFL lead. … 3, turnovers by the Titans, fewest in the league. … 51, points scored by the Titans in the fourth quarter. … 52, points scored off turnovers by the Titans. … .281, opponents’ third-down conversion percentage against the Titans (18 of 64). … 58.8, Fitzpatrick’s passer rating in his first start for the Titans. … Plus-8, Titans’ turnover differential, second in the NFL to the Chiefs (plus-10) and one spot ahead of the Seahawks (plus-7).

Familiar faces: In addition to Locker and Spencer, Estonia-born left tackle Michael Roos played at Eastern Washington University and Mountain View High School in Vancouver and Samoa-born defensive end Ropati Pitoitua played at Washington State University and Clover Park High School in Lakewood. On the coaching staff, defensive coordinator Jerry Gray was the Seahawks’ secondary coach in 2010 and defensive assistant/pass rush specialist Keith Millard played for the Seahawks in 1992 and was an All-Pac-10 defensive lineman at Washington State University. In the front office, GM Ruston Webster was the Seahawks’ VP of player personnel for four seasons before joining the Titans in 2010. VP of player personnel Lake Dawson worked in the Seahawks’ scouting department from 2001-06 before joining the Titans in 2007. Scout Tim Ruskell was the Seahawks’ GM from 2005-09.

The last word: “We’re all frustrated. I think a lot of guys didn’t make plays when they had to. All of us – coaches, players. We know going to Seattle, how hard it is. … We have to go reload, and we will, then have a good week and play better next weekend.” – Titans coach Mike Munchak after Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs