NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans (8-6) could not overcome the surging San Francisco 49ers (4-10) in the first home start of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s Bay Area tenure. The trade-deadline acquisition had a career-day against the Tennessee defense, completing 31-of-43 passes for 381 yards and a touchdown for a rating of 106.8.
Garoppolo has yet to lose an NFL start in his five opportunities at the helm and overcame the Titans 25-23. It is the first time Tennessee has dropped back-to-back games since Weeks 4 and 5 of this season. The loss keeps coach Mike Mularkey’s team in their playoff wildcard spot but puts them two games back of the Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) in the AFC South.
Jimmy G.’s visiting counterpart, Marcus Mariota, did his part through the air with 241 yards on 23 completions and two touchdown passes but continued offensive miscues and a sieve-like Titans pass defense sand-bagged his efforts.
Mariota led his unit down the field to set kicker Ryan Succop up for a 50-yard field goal that went through the uprights with 1:07 remaining in the game, making the score 22-20. But, a secondary that had been savaged throughout the day gave up 48 yards in seven plays to put them in range for Robbie Gould, who promptly made his career-high sixth field goal of the game from 45 yards as time expired.
San Francisco opened the scoring and drove 64 yards down the field in 12 plays on their opening possesion. Linebacker Avery Williamson brought Garoppolo down for an eight-yard loss on a first-down pass play from the Tennessee 29 and an incompletion followed by a pass short of the first down set Gould up for his first field goal and a 3-0 lead.
The 49ers increased the margin to six on their second drive after Gould drilled his second make from 48.
A 40-yard field goal by Succop put the Titans on the board at 6-3 but only after tight end Delanie Walker dropped a third-and-10 pass in the end zone that would have resulted in six. Garoppolo then directed a back-breaking 17-play, 85 yard drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown pass to his tight end and a 16-3 lead.
Walker piled on himself with a second crucial mistake, a fumble recovered by San Francisco in Tennessee territory that led to another Gould field goal and a score of 16-3, but the former 49er rebounded with a touchdown catch just before halftime to bring his team closer trailing 16-10.
The Titans scored on their next two drives in the second half.
A 31-yard kick by Succop put them within three of San Francisco and the time-killing 12-play, 84 yard drive that followed resulted in an eight-yard connection from Mariota to Rishard Matthews and the put Tennessee in the driver’s seat for the first time in the contest.
Garoppolo put his kicker in position for three points on the 49ers final four drives and kept his starting record at a perfect 5-0.
UP NEXT: The Titans host the NFC West-leading Los Angeles Rams (10-4) at Nissan Stadium on Christmas Eve.