Titans' goal now just finish off season with win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
The Tennessee Titans and coach Mike Munchak have an ambitious agenda for their season finale: Just win.
That may not sound like much, but the Titans have lost five straight at home. Their 2-5 record is a constant reminder of where this season's high expectations went so wrong.
Munchak said Monday winning is certainly better than the alternative and no one wants to head into the offseason on a loss.
''The only way to have fun in this league is to win, even though it's only going to be our seventh,'' Munchak said. ''We wish it was a bigger number than that. That's all we can control. So it's have a good week, enjoy Christmas but be focused and ready to play a game on Sunday.''
Beating Houston on Sunday would give the Titans a two-game winning streak heading into the offseason with a 7-9 mark - a one-win improvement over last year's 6-10 record.
The Titans split their home games in 2012, and having only two wins at home this season isn't close to what Munchak or the Titans wanted even with the last three by a combined eight points. Munchak said the key is winning Sunday to prevent the skid from dragging into the next season.
''You want to put all that stuff to rest and doing that by winning the last one,'' Munchak said.
The Titans have clinched second in the AFC South with their 20-16 win at Jacksonville last week. They already were set to play the NFC East in 2014, and finishing second slots them into a trip to Kansas City and either a visit from the Jets or Miami.
Receiver Nate Washington is among the Titans who aren't ready to focus on next year just yet.
''We have one more game left so the season is not over,'' Washington said after the win over Jacksonville. ''We have another game we need to win.''
He certainly helped with six catches for 117 yards and a touchdown.
The Titans also looked like the run-oriented team Munchak talked all offseason of wanting to be. They ran 44 times, the most since they ran 49 times against the Jaguars on Nov. 11, 2009 - the season Chris Johnson ran for 2,006 yards. Their 182 yards was the second-best performance this season with the Titans running for 198 in a win Nov. 3 at St. Louis.
Shonn Greene, one of the Titans' big free agent signees in March, had his best game this season running for 91 yards on 19 carries. That helped them hold the ball for more than 35 minutes with their second-best time of possession of the season.
Tennessee also had its cleanest game this season with only one penalty for 4 yards in its best performance since Dec. 24, 2011, when they weren't flagged even once in a win against Jacksonville on Dec. 24, 2011. In a sign of improvement, the Titans have been flagged only four times for 20 yards over the past two games.
The Texans (2-13) also give the Titans a second straight opportunity at payback. They were up 24-16 in the fourth quarter in Houston only to lose 30-24 in overtime, the only loss in a 3-1 start that Munchak still sees as frustrating.
''As you know one game can change a season the way things go. But that was one of unfortunately a handful of games like that that we had in the fourth quarter that we had in our grasp that we didn't win.''
Notes: The Titans are set to host Pittsburgh, Dallas, the Giants, Cleveland and either Miami or the Jets along with their AFC South opponents. They will visit Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Washington and Kansas City along with their division games.
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