Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones was living rent free in Taylor Lewan’s head on Sunday.
The 31-year-old linebacker had a career-high five sacks against the Tennessee Titans in a 38-13 season opening win at Nissan Stadium, most of which came at Lewan’s expense. Jones also tied the Cardinals’ single-game sack record.
“I think it was epic,” Cardinals’ safety Budda Baker said of Jones’ performance. “I think it was one for the ages… He’s a technician. He’s a professional when it comes to pass rushing. He has that down. Just to see that today bought smiles to my face for sure.”
Lewan, a Pro Bowl tackle, struggled so much so that he was booed upon returning to the lineup in the second half after missing a few drives due to cramps.
Jones toyed with Lewan in the first quarter, torching him for three sacks and a forced fumble. He added four tackles for loss, two more sacks and another forced fumble in two more quarters, leaving Lewan to do a little soul searching following one of the worst performances of his career.
“Got my ass kicked today, no way around that,” Lewan tweeted. “I let the team and the fans down. Thank you @chanjones55 for exposing me. It will only force me to get better.”
Added Titans coach Mike Vrabel: “I mean, that's what this game comes down to: one-on-one. We'll have to identify what the issues were. We'll watch the tape, we'll correct, we'll coach, and we'll teach.”
In total, Tannehill was sacked six times on Sunday — tying his career high as Tennessee's starter. It was also his first three-turnover game as a member of the Titans and just the fourth time that Tannehill’s fumbled twice in one game as a Titan.
“Quarterbacks have clocks ticking in their head,” Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons said. “Having a guy like [Jones] speeds the clock up. All his progressions, everything is on a timer, so just being able to speed that up I think throws their chemistry off. It’s very effective.”
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