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
“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
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,”
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.