Titans hope to start new streak to finish season

The Tennessee Titans won’t be streaking their way into the

postseason. They aren’t giving up even if the playoff math is

complicated at the least and improbable at best.

Call it the lesson learned from 2006.

That year, the Titans started out 0-5 and still had a chance at

a wild-card berth on the final day if three teams lost and they

won. All three teams lost that day, but the Titans did too.

These Titans (5-7) have been very streaky starting 0-6 before

making NFL history by winning the next five, a stretch that ended

Sunday in a 27-17 loss at Indianapolis. That put them two back in

the loss column with five teams between the Titans and the AFC’s

final wild-card slot, and Fisher noted they have not been

eliminated yet.

“Realistically, most of it’s out of our control,” coach Jeff

Fisher said Monday. “We need to win out, and they’re aware of

that. The only chance we’ve got is to win the next one.”

The Titans play three of their final four at home starting with

a visit from St. Louis (1-11).

“This last month in the National Football League may be one of

the more exciting months we’ve had in recent years as far as people

still having an opportunity to get in. I’m sure there’ll be teams

in Week 17 that score at the end to get in and teams that gave up a

last minute score to get bounced out,” Fisher said.

Cornerback Cortland Finnegan was a rookie in 2006 when the

Titans lost to New England in the regular season finale and

remembers how they could blame only themselves for missing a

playoff spot. An unpredictable AFC offers hope.

“We’ll see how it goes. We just need to win the next one. It’s

exciting to see how it happens,” Finnegan said.

Even with no playoff berth, the chance at a third straight

winning record remains possible – something this franchise has

never managed under Fisher.

First, the Titans need to figure out once again how to avoid

hurting themselves.

They had the edge in time of possession, holding the ball for 32

minutes, 59 seconds, and they also outgained Indianapolis 375-358

in total offense. Chris Johnson ran for 113 yards and became just

the fifth different player in NFL history to reach 1,500 yards

rushing in his team’s first 12 games. He now has an NFL-best 1,509


An offense that had been good inside the opponent’s 20 this

season failed. The Titans got inside the Indianapolis 20 three

times and scored only one field goal. The field goal came after

having first-and-goal at the Colts 9, but the Titans turned the

ball over on downs after having first-and-goal at the Colts 1 and

Colts 19 in the second half.

They also had two turnovers and couldn’t stay in control. The

costliest was defensive tackle Tony Brown reacting to being pushed

from behind, then trying to poke a Colts lineman through his face

mask. That put the Colts into field goal range for a 24-10 halftime


That doesn’t even include Nate Washington dropping a perfectly

thrown pass from Vince Young that hit his hands. Washington had

beaten the defender and seemingly blew what would have been a

touchdown giving Tennessee the lead in the first quarter.

“That’s something I can’t do,” Washington said after the


Fisher wasn’t happy with the officiating in a game where a

defender dove at Young’s legs and took him down, injuring his left

ankle with no flag thrown, and the missing of a defensive pass

interference in the end zone. He said Monday he was disappointed at

a number of calls both made and missed.

“There were some things in critical situations that slid by,”

Fisher said.

Young was getting treatment Monday for a sore right knee that

Fisher said he didn’t anticipate being a problem. Young said after

the game it won’t be tough at all to get over this streak-ending


“Anything can happen. We have four more games left, and we will

let that play out like it’s supposed to be.”

NOTES: Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch was voted the 2009 winner

of the Titans’ Walter Payton Man of the Year award. He now is a

finalist for the league-wide award, which will be announced the

week of the Super Bowl in Miami. … Vanden Bosch and cornerback

Cortland Finnegan also were named to “All-Fundamentals” team by

USA Football and the NFL Players Association.