Offensive: Kerry Michael Collins
Finally, the old guy gets the recognition he deserves. He has been the glue that has held this team together all year. With his leadership. With his experience. With his calm demeanor. And, on Sunday, with his arm. On the day, Collins finished 30-41 for 289 yards, with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. His performance was not only the best on the field for either team (ok, so admittedly the guy on the other side was “Train” Rex Grossman), he had one of the best days of any QB in the league on Sunday (2nd in completions, 4th in attempts, 5th in yards, tied for 2nd in TD’s and 5th amongst starters in QB rating). Sure, we thought he would have a decent afternoon, and that the Titans would have a tough time running the ball, but we didn’t know Collins would be that good or think the Bears would make the Titans ground attack that irrelevant. For all of those doubters out there that thought that this was a one-dimensional team, Sunday was just a taste of how dangerous the Titans can be.
Side note: Did you see that huge gash on Collins’ nose? Wanna know how it happened? No, it wasn’t a bar fight you jackasses. Kerry Collins got buck, that’s how…
Honorable Mention(s): Bo Scaife, Justin Gage and Brandon Jones
The two recipients of Collins’ TD passes were his two most reliable receivers. Scaife has been an absolute treat all year, and yet again was the QB’s most reliable target on Sunday (10 catches for 78 yards). Gage, who has had a bit of the “banana hands” this season, put together his first nice outing (4 catches for 47 yards) since the week four game in which he got hurt. It “just” so happens that he decided to come up big against his former team. Thanks Justin, we sure needed it.
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention 4-year WR Brandon Jones who has been quietly efficient this year. The Titans were expecting him to really blossom last season, but injuries forced him to miss all or most of nine games. He was actually the Titans leading receiver in this one (8 catches for 82 yards), and really bailed Kerry Collins out a few times. I believe that I heard the stat on the radio today (I know, real professional right?) that he has caught a pass in the last 13 quarters of play. That’s not gonna blow anyone away, but it’s that type of consistency from all of the Titans’ players from top to bottom that has this team where it is now.
Defensive: Keith Bulluck
This was a fairly tame outing for the Tennessee’s fifth ranked defense, but Bulluck was one of few guys that really stood out. On the day, Bulluck led the team in tackles with 10 (9 solo) and made them all over the field. What made the performance all the more impressive was the fact that Bulluck was limited all week with a rib/chest injury and was considered “questionable” for the game. He remained the team’s leading tackler on the year, but it’s the example that he is setting that has really changed the environment here:
"“I was on the sideline telling him all game how much I appreciated that,” tight end Bo Scaife said. “For a young guy seeing that, and seeing the things that (former Titans quarterback Steve McNair) went through and how all the guys on our team play through tough injuries is a lot of credit to them.” – courtesy of The Tennessean"
Honorable Mention: Chris Hope
Hope continues to pave his path to the Pro Bowl with his stellar defensive play. He recorded five tackles on Sunday (tied for third most on the team) and had the team’s only turnover with an interception in the first quarter. That pick now gives him four on the year, tied with Cortland Finnegan and Michael Griffin for team best, and putting all three of them tied for third in the league. It would be an absolute travesty if all three of them didn’t make it to Hawaii. Let’s do our part to get them there…