PHILADELPHIA — Zach Mettenberger kept getting smacked to the turf, battered after the pass or just plain sacked, his protection almost as invisible as a Tennessee lead.
He had plenty of time on the ground to reflect on a season gone wrong for the Titans.
"It's not looking real good for us for the playoffs," he said. "It's about pride. The work is there. The extra time put in is there. We just can't seem to get everything going at once."
The Titans ran into trouble from the opening kickoff and never recovered in a 43-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Josh Huff returned the opening kickoff 107 yards and the Titans (2-9) were well on their way toward another defeat in a season to forget.
"That's not the way you want to start the game off," Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
Not at all. And the next 59 minutes weren't much better.
The Eagles sacked Mettenberger five times, including 2 1/2 by Connor Barwin and two for Trent Cole. Mettenberger had 345 yards passing and two TDs and Delanie Walker had 155 yards receiving for the Titans.
The Titans didn't allow any sacks in last week's loss against the Steelers.
Without much pass protection, the Titans could never sustain a serious rally against an Eagles defense that swarmed Mettenberger. They got within six in the second quarter, then watched the Eagles (8-3) pull away and put a a 53-20 loss at Green Bay behind them.
"This is a pressure team. They bring it after you," Whisenhunt said.
The Titans have lost five straight games and nine of 10 after beating Kansas City in the season opener. Up next, at Houston against a Texans team that beat them 30-16 on Oct. 26.
Walker's return after a one-game absence from a concussion suffered against Baltimore was the lone highlight for the Titans.
"It was a good day, just to have a concussion and come back to do what I did," he said. "But I'm not really happy about it."
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.
LeSean McCoy had a 2-yard TD run in the second quarter. Mark Sanchez, who threw for 307 yards and one touchdown in his third start for the injured Nick Foles, 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.
Walker said the first four series doomed the Titans.
"It was a big killer," he said. "Their crowd was into it, they were jumping around very excited. When you get that type of momentum at your home field, it can go a long way, which it today."
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. ... Titans C Brian Schwenke caught a batted pass for a 6-yard gain before he fumbled it away. ... The Titans had two sacks and are among the league leaders with 31.