“Wow”, was was the first thing coach Mike Munchak said leaving the locker room, after a heart-attack inducing, 44-41 win at L.P. field . The Tennessee Titans did everything in their power to lose, and thankfully, eventually win this game. After giving up a 14 point lead with just over a minute left, they regained their composure and edged out the Lions with a field goal in OT.
Here’s a look back:
-Big plays: the entire game was full of them, in fact, the Titans broke an NFL record with five touchdowns of 60 yards or more. They included:
Tommie Campbell’s 65 yd punt return for a touchdown after receiving a lateral pass across field from Darius Reynaud, a-la Music City Miracle. Look back at my feature here and interview here with Tommie Campbell.
TE Jared Cook’s 61 yd touchdown reception.
Reynaud’s 105 yd kick-off return, which was longest kick-off return for a TD in L.P. field history.
WR Nate Washington’s 71 yd catch of the year from Jake Locker.
CB Alterraun Verner’s strip and return for a 72 yd touchdown.
-The Collapse: That should be enough right? NO. With a 41-27 lead with just over a minute left, many thought the game was over. However, after the Lions lucked out with a roughing the passer the call after another Verner pick. The Lions got the ball back and scored quickly with Shaun Hill at QB. Then the Lions were able to recover an onside kick with under a minute left in the game. This set up a hail mary pass from Hill. Akeem Ayers was able to make a play on the ball, but batted it straight into the hands of Titus Young Sr. for the touchdown. The rest is history, thanks to Jurrell Casey’s stop on 4th and 1 in OT.
-Offensive Improvement: Jake Locker made play after play this game and showed why the Titans took him in the 1st round, just two years ago. He had almost 400 yd’s passing, two touchdowns, no turnovers, and showed off his mobility. All of the receivers were in the mix, and expect Kenny Britt to get better as the year moves along. Chris Johnson had multiple runs of over 10 yds, however he was still held to just 24 yds on the ground. This was due to a couple huge losses, where he had no chance. There still needs to be a vast improvement in the run game.
- Akeem Ayers had his coming out party Sunday against the Lions. He had over 10 tackles, a pivotal sack, and was the playmaker the Titans needed to step up on defense. Once MLB McCarthy returns to the defense, he and Ayers could be one hell of a tandem.
-The Titans (1-2) travel to face the undefeated (3-0) division rival Houston Texans. This will be the first divisional opponent the Titans face in this young season. The last time they met the Titans won in Week 17 of last year.
-The Titans have to be better on defense against the Texans. They have an offense that includes the likes of Schaub, Foster, and A. Johnson. The defense has let up over 30 points in every game; crazy right? They improved this week, until the last 18 seconds of the game. They made the big plays on defense that Munchak and his staff had been talking about (Verner, Ayers, and Casey specifically). Hopefully Colin McCarthy can return this week from a sprained ankle.
The Titans need to take this momentum and roll with it into Houston this Sunday. Hopefully the win over the Lions is a sign of more to come. The Texans are another early season test for this young Titans team.
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