Matt Hasselbeck doesn’t believe he is on the same page yet with Kenny Britt.
He is doing a good job of fooling everybody.
The new Tennessee Titans quarterback hooked up with Britt nine times for 135 yards and a touchdown as the Titans held off the Baltimore Ravens for a 26-13 victory on Sunday at LP Field. A week earlier Britt caught five passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening loss to Jacksonville.
“I’m not sure if I have ever had a guy that talented,” said Hasselbeck, who is in his 13th NFL season. “He has special abilities.”
Due to a hamstring injury, Britt sat out most of training camp, not seeing action until the final preseason game. In fact, the Titans’ third-year receiver has practiced with the first-team offense only for the last month.
“I wish it was a lot better, to be honest,” Hasselbeck said of his chemistry with Britt. “There is just way more effort and work going into that relationship than normal because we are trying to play catch up.”
Hasselbeck said utilizing double moves in the passing game kept a usually stingy Baltimore defense off balance. The Ravens forced seven turnovers against Pittsburgh last week. But the Titans picked up 432 yards — the most they have ever gained against Baltimore.
Britt was in the middle of it, targeted 13 times by Hasselbeck. The third-year receiver out of Rutgers now has six 100-yard receiving performances and four in his last seven games.
“I think he has been ready to emerge,” running back Chris Johnson said of Britt. “I think it is a big key for the offense if Kenny can stay healthy and play throughout the whole season, I feel like it’s going to be tough to beat us.”
Nate Washington added seven receptions for 99 yards as the Titans just missed having two 100-yard receivers for the first time in seven years. Hasselbeck completed 30 of 42 passes for 358 yards and threw passes to nine different receivers.
“I think it is trouble [for opposing defenses]," Washington said. “I think this is an offense right now that has a lot of weapons. You are not going to just be able to double one guy or pack in the box for [Chris Johnson]. We understand it and we are going to come in and do our best job to come in every Sunday and get better.”
Britt sparked the offense late in the first quarter, grabbing his first catch down the sideline for 37 yards. Hasselbeck went right back to him as Britt reeled in a 16-yard pass, making it hard for safety Ed Reed to finish the tackle. In fact, Reed brought Britt down by his facemask — boosting the Titans’ into the red zone after the 15-yard penalty.
The offense failed to score on that possession but the quarterback-receiver combo struck before halftime.
After the two-minute warning, Hasselbeck and Britt connected three times. Britt capped it off by shaking his defender with a curl route, a four-yard touchdown reception that gave the Titans a 10-7 lead with 44 seconds left.
The play was designed for the throw to go to Britt’s shoulder, but the receiver said offensive coordinator Chris Palmer gave him several options.
“He gave me a fade stop, which gave me the ability to run a fade or just stop at the goal line,” Britt said. “If [the cornerback] plays off it, I got a stop-route and if he plays press, I got a go-route. ... After the touchdown, [Hasselbeck] threw it back shoulder, he said, ‘Actually, once I know what you are doing at all times, we will be great at it.’ That’s what I’m waiting for.”