Skidding Titans back home looking for edge again
So much time has passed since the Tennessee Titans last played in Music City that Chris Johnson says he's not sure of the opponent.
Defensive end Derrick Morgan had to be reminded of the last home win.
Yes, it's been a long time for both.
The Titans will play their first home game in a month Sunday against Arizona. Not that being back in Nashville guarantees anything because the Titans have lost four straight since their last home win Sept. 29 and are 2-4 this season at LP Field. So much for the annual goal of winning all the home games.
Tennessee (5-8) has sold out every game since moving into LP Field for the 1999, and Sunday's game will extend the sellout streak to 153. Not every ticket has been used this season, and safety Bernard Pollard encourages fans not to waste money already spent and use the tickets and have fun even if this isn't the season the Titans wanted.
''And if all fails, I'll take a fine and hit somebody for you,'' the often-penalized and fined safety said with a smile.
This isn't what coach Mike Munchak wanted this season after going 4-4 at home in 2012 en route to a 6-10 finish. Now the Titans have to beat Arizona (8-5) and close out the season Dec. 29 with a win over Houston just to reach that mark for a second straight season.
''We came into the year thinking we could win all our home games, we have to protect our territory,'' Morgan said. ''It just hasn't worked out the way we wanted it too. We need to finish out these last two games at home and the last three games of the season strong.''
The Cardinals have had the opposite problem this season. They come to Nashville just 2-4 on the road with the only wins at Tampa Bay and Jacksonville.
''We just really haven't played well enough,'' Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said. ''Point blank, there's not one recurring theme. It's not this, it's not that. We got to play better. We got to come out fast, we got to explode early, we got to stop them early, and we got to finish the game strong.''
That's exactly what the Titans have wanted since winning their last home game Sept. 29 in a 38-13 rout of the Jets.
But as the losses have piled up, fans are tiring of waiting for a turnaround.
The empty seats have grown along with the team's skid, and tickets for the Cardinals' game could be found Thursday at www.StubHub.com for just $4. Fans are venting their frustration on social media at a franchise expected to miss the playoffs for a fifth straight season despite late owner Bud Adams spending more than $100 million in the offseason.
Pollard has heard fans talk about the Titans stringing them along only to always let them down. He said he can't argue that because they have played good in spots only to fail at the end.
''We're fighting,'' Pollard said of the Titans. ''We have not laid down. We haven't given up. We're going to go out and we're going to put on a show. The shows as of late haven't been good as far as the end result, but we have to turn the corner at some point. I say to the fans continue to trust.''
Notes: Only CB Alterraun Verner (groin), LB Akeem Ayers (groin) and RT David Stewart (shoulder) did not practice Thursday. Munchak said all should practice Friday and play Sunday. ... Leon Washington has played only two games with Tennessee, but his performance in last week's loss to Denver ranks him third in franchise history. He had 209 yards on returns, second only to Bobby Jancik, who had games with 240 and 221 yards in separate games in 1963.
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