Eagles explode as Huff, McCoy lead the way over Titans
PHILADELPHIA (AP) It took the Philadelphia Eagles just 13 seconds to wipe a terrible loss from memory.
Josh Huff returned the opening kickoff 107 yards, LeSean McCoy ran for 130 yards and the Eagles beat the Tennessee Titans 43-24 on Sunday.
''We talk about starting fast, but you can't start faster than that,'' coach Chip Kelly said. ''It takes the wind out of the sails for the other team.''
Coming off a 53-20 loss at Green Bay, the Eagles jumped ahead of the lowly Titans immediately and never let up.
Huff ran up the right side, broke a tackle inside the 30, cut to the right sideline and stiff-armed a defender at the Titans 20 on his way to the end zone for his first career TD.
His return was the longest in franchise history and the 10th non-offensive touchdown for Philadelphia this season.
''That's not the way you want to start the game off,'' Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said. ''It's tough. But to get down 17-0, I thought we made a good recovery in the second quarter.''
Mark Sanchez threw for 307 yards and one touchdown in his third start for the injured Nick Foles. He has 300 yards passing in three straight games, tying a team record.
Rookie Zach Mettenberger had 345 yards passing and two TDs and Delanie Walker had 155 yards receiving for the Titans (2-9).
Now, the Eagles (8-3) can shift their focus to the Cowboys (7-3) for a first-place showdown on Thanksgiving. The top two teams in the NFC East will play twice in 18 days, starting with Thursday's game at Dallas.
''We were in the third quarter and fans are screaming about the Dallas game,'' Sanchez said. ''It's obviously a big rivalry. I'll get a good introduction to it this week.''
After the first of four straight three-and-outs to start the game by the Titans, the Eagles went up 14-0 on a 4-yard TD run by Darren Sproles.
McCoy had a 2-yard TD run in the second quarter. Sanchez fired a 14-yard TD pass to James Casey in the third quarter.
The Titans didn't get a first down until Mettenberger threw a 40-yard TD pass to Justin Hunter on their fifth offensive series. Brandon Ghee intercepted Sanchez at the Eagles 30 to set up the score that cut it to 17-7.
Mettenberger tossed a 68-yard pass to Walker to start the next drive to set up Shonn Greene's 2-yard TD run, cutting the deficit to 20-14.
Cody Parkey kicked field goals of 36, 26, 35, 40 and 50 yards but his 49-yard attempt hit the post at the end of the first half to snap his successful streak at 17.
The Eagles sacked Mettenberger five times, including 2 1/2 by Connor Barwin and two for Trent Cole.
McCoy, the reigning NFL rushing champion, hasn't looked the same this year with his yards-per-carry average down more than one yard. He was irritated this week by questions from reporters suggesting he lost a step. So, McCoy responded with his third 100-yard performance in the past six games. He had a season-best 53-yard run.
''Everybody has their opinion, but the guys in the locker room know what's up,'' McCoy said. ''But that's fine. When the running game isn't going well, I'll take the blame.''
The Eagles beat the Titans for the first time. They were 0-4 against them after their move from Houston to Tennessee.
''We just weren't able to protect the ball like we wanted to,'' Mettenberger said. ''We needed more points, more first downs.''
NOTES: The Eagles are the first team since the Packers in 1970 to have two players with kickoff returns of 100-plus yards in the same season. Chris Polk had one for 102 yards in Week 3 vs. Washington. ... The 10 touchdowns on special teams and defense are a franchise-record for the Eagles. ... Mettenberger's 345 yards passing a rookie franchise record. ... Sanchez was intercepted twice and has six picks in four games. ... Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Nick Foles also had three straight 300-yard passing games for Philadelphia. ... Eagles LB Emmanuel Acho injured his groin chasing Walker on the long catch and didn't return. ... Titans C Brian Schwenke caught a batted pass for a 6-yard gain before he fumbled it away. ... Eagles Barwin has a career-best 12 1/2 sacks. ... Parkey broke a team record with his fourth 50-plus yarder in a season.