The Titans' pass rush had been conspicuous by its absence for much of the first half of the season, with just 14 through the first eight games.
So there was really no reason to believe that things would get markedly better this week when the Titans faced the most elusive quarterback on their schedule in Carolina's Cam Newton.
But the defense more than rose to the occasion, sacking the Panthers rookie starter five times in Sunday's 30-3 rout and showing that a unit that had been struggling to get to opposing quarterbacks might be jelling just in time for the second half of the season.
"The defensive line played well, and our offense started scoring points, we sort of made them one-dimensional. And that was the biggest key today. The defensive line got rolling," said cornerback Cortland Finnegan who had one of the two sacks that did not come from the line on Sunday.
Many times in previous years with the Titans, as has gone the defensive line, so has gone the team. When the Titans ...