Mularkey-Whisenhunt – 1st Quarter

How efficient were the Titans when led by Whisenhunt vs Mularkey in the First Quarter?

The first quarter. The tone can be set. Momentum can be built. Confidence can be lost. At any rate, the flow of the game begins in the first 15 minutes of play. This article will focus on the Titans production in the first quarter – both offensively and defensively – when led by Whisenhunt vs Mularkey.


The total number of points Ken Whisenhunt’s Titans scored in the first period of play is 67. In 23 games, that averages about 3 points/per 1st Quarter. Mike Mulakey’s team scored a total of 117 points. This averages to 5 points/per 1st Quarter.

murray line

Mularkey’s average indicates his squad is more likely to score a touchdown in the first as opposed to kicking field goals. Scoring a touchdown in the first quarter can be a huge confidence booster for the offense.

Consequently, the opposite can be said for the defensive side of the ball. Allowing a first quarter touchdown can shatter defensive unit’s confidence. Some team’s are built to come from behind.

The Titans – not so much.

Offense in the First

Whisenhunt’s team scored 7 total touchdowns in the 1st Quarter. 3 of the 7 came from Marcus Mariota during his rookie debut. In 12 of 23 games, the Whisenhunt led team was scoreless.

In a little more than half (52%) of games coached by Whisenhunt, his team could not put points on the board. Mularkey’s team has been held to zero points 8 out of 25 1st quarters (32%).

Titans Chiefs football

The most points both coaches have put up in the 1st quarter is 21. Whisenhunt’s team did it on Mariota’s season opening performance against Jameis Winston’s Buccaneers. Mularkey accomplished this last season against the Aaron Rodger led Green Bay Packers.

Mularkey’s team scored 14 total 1st quarter touchdowns. 5 of the 14 came using the same roster as Whisenhunt in 2014. Mularkey scored 9 with new offensive weapons like DeMarco Murray, Rishard Matthews, and Derrick Henry in the fold.

Defense in the First


Defensively, Whisenhunt’s team allowed 136 points, which was 26 points less than Mularkey led team with 162. The Whisenhunt led team allowed 15 opponent touchdowns in the first stanza.  The Mularkey led team allowed 20 touchdowns in the 1st. Whisenhunt’s team kept opponents scoreless in 10 first quarters (43%). Mularkey’s team held opponents to zero points in 8 out of 25 1st quarters (32%).

The most points Whisenhunt’s team allowed in the 1st quarter is 17 – twice to a pair NFC East teams in the Giants and Eagles. The most points Mularkey’s team has allowed in the first is 14 – which has happened 4 times (Texans, Chiefs, Colts, and Saints).

Playing from Behind and Protecting the Lead

Whisenhunt’s team finished trailing in the 1st quarter in 12 of 23 games (52%). Mularkey’s team trailed in 14 of 25 games (56%) following the close of the 1st. Whisenhunt’s record was 1- 11 in games trailing in the 1st. Mularkey’s record is 3-11 when playing from behind after one quarter of play.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) celebrates a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Tampa , Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) ORG XMIT: TPS114

Whisenhunt had a 1st quarter lead in 5 of 23 games (22%). His record when leading in the 1st quarter is 1-4. Mularkey’s team had a 1st quarter lead in 9 of 25 games (36%). His record is 7-2 when having the lead heading into the 2nd quarter.


The difference in roster contributed to the statistical edge Mularkey has over Whisenhunt in the 1st. What can be taken from these statistics is that if Mularkey can escape the 1st quarter with a lead, the Titans are more likely to come away with a lead. Both coaches struggled to dig themselves out of a hole after one.

Mularkey needs to emphasize 1st quarter scoring – which I think shouldn’t be too difficult with recent roster upgrades.

***All photo credit goes to respective authors. I do not claim credit on any photo featured in this article. Stats referenced by***

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