Collins poised to join, pass some NFL legends on all-time passing charts

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 10:12pm

Kerry Collins might not be the best quarterback in NFL history, but he has numbers that match up with some of the best.

The Tennessee Titans’ veteran needs just 94 yards Sunday at Kansas City to become the 12th player in league history with at least 40,000 career passing yards.

Among those who achieved that mark are Brett Favre, Dan Marino, John Elway, Fran Tarkenton, Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas.

“All those things are nice, but I’ve never been one of those guys to follow that stuff or look and see where I’m at or any of that,” Collins said. “I’m just really worried about getting a win and trying to keep our playoff hopes alive.”

Collins needs 234 yards to pass Unitas’ total and 13 completions to pass Montana for ninth place on the league’s career list.

“Hell the guy he’s passing speaks volumes. Johnny U?” wide receiver Randy Moss said. “… Just to see him, to be able to watch him accomplish a milestone like that is something he can really hang his hat on. That 40,000 [yards] … beating Johnny Unitas. That’s a legendary quarterback. For him to be in front of Johnny U, that’s saying something.

“When you have numbers and you have guys behind you that you looked up to – I know as a quarterback he definitely looked up to Johnny Unitas – for him to be able to surpass that, that’s pretty exciting.”

Montana ought to be easy to catch. Collins has completed at least 13 passes in every game he’s started this season except one – at Miami, when he played only a half before he was injured.

He ought to be able to catch Unitas as well, but that might take until the final week of the regular season. He has not passed for 300 yards in a game since Dec. 31, 1995, when he played with the Oakland Raiders.

“I don’t know if it hasn’t hit me or if it’s ever going to hit me,” Collins said. “But I guess I’m just focused on what we’re doing here. Maybe later on down the road I’ll look back and see it as a nice accomplishment. It’s one of those things I just don’t think about a whole lot.”

Road test: Kansas City is one of three NFL teams that have not lost at home this season.

The Chiefs are 6-0 as are the Atlanta Falcons. New England has the best home record at 7-0.

“It’s one of the loudest places in the National Football League,” Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said. “Temperatures are going to be in the low 30s-high 20s, the field is going to be frozen and it’s going to be a perfect day for football.”

Kansas City has won its six home games by an average margin of 12.5 points (best in the NFL) and have held opponents to an average of 12.2 points per game (also the best in the NFL).

However, the Titans have won in their last two trips to Arrowhead Stadium – 26-17 in 2007 and 34-10 in 2008.

“There’s not too many places that are tougher,” Collins said. “I know how tough it is when they were having not-so-good seasons. Now that they’re having a good season, I can imagine it’s going to be that much louder and that tougher to play. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.

“It’s going to be, by far, the most hostile environment we’ve seen this year.”

Getting started: Eric Berry, the Chiefs’ first-round draft pick and a former All-American at the University of Tennessee, has been named the league’s Rookie of the Week four times this season.

His 111 tackles already are a franchise record for rookie safeties, and he leads all NFL rookie safeties with eight passes broken up.

“In college you didn’t really have to worry about the tight ends too much,” he said. “Now on the NFL level the tight ends are more athletic and a lot better. Another [difference] is definitely the quarterback; they are more accurate with their throws, they pretty much know and have seen all the defenses that are possible, so it’s kind of hard fooling those guys sometimes. They are just very accurate with their throws.”

Briefly: Half of the league’s top 12 rushers entering this week were drafted in 2008, led by Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles (third round) and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson (first round). Charles is third with 1,303 yards and Johnson is fourth with 1,267. … Titans’ rookie return man Marc Mariani needs five kickoff return yards to break the franchise record of 1,317 set in 1963 by Bobby Jancik. … With one more victory, Fisher will tie Tony Dungy for 19th place all-time with 148.