One day after electing not to use his timeouts with 56 seconds to play and the Miami Dolphins at their own 6-yard line facing second-and-six, Titans coach Jeff Fisher was still explaining the move, even as Tennessee pulled out a 27-24 overtime victory.
Everything worked out, even as the Titans lost the coin toss, when Michael Griffin intercepted Chad Henne and a 15-yard penalty on the play moved Tennessee in position for Rob Bironas’ 46-yard field goal to win it.
Still, with Miami holding just one timeout and the Titans with all three in their pocket, the decision to play for overtime was one that caused plenty of debate.
“One timeout is enough. There’s a lot of things that went into that decision,” Fisher said. “One timeout is enough to make a big play down the field and throw to the boundary and kick a field goal. I’ll stand by it.”
Fisher said he wished the defense had held better on first down instead of giving up a 4-yard to Ricky Williams from the 2 on first down.
“In retrospect, if I had to do it all over, if we’d done a better job on first down, there was always the potential to stop the clock on second and third down and try to create a punting situation,” Fisher said. “Not necessarily to get the ball back to win, but to try to potentially use your fair catch option and a kick after the fair catch.”
He said his fear was that a tired defense that already blown an 18-point lead might give up a big play down the field. Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne had hit on a 57-yard pass to Brian Hartline on the game-tying drive, although Griffin should have intercepted the ball.
“Our defense had been on the field for two consecutive drives and didn’t stop them. We had a chance to end the game in regulation offensively,” Fisher said. “At that point, I was not going to take a chance and force his hand and let him take an opportunity to throw the ball down the field.”
Defensive tackle Tony Brown, who did not finish Sunday’s game because of a knee problem that kept him out of practice, should be OK, according to Fisher.
At one point in Sunday’s game, the Titans played ends Dave Ball and Jacob Ford at tackles, flanked by William Hayes and Kyle Vanden Bosch at ends.
“We lost J.J. [Jason Jones] for the year, so we’re just trying to do some different stuff to help our pass rush,” Ford said.
Chris Johnson still holds a commanding lead in rushing with 1,730 yards and is in range of 2,000 yards with two games remaining.
Still, with defenses keying on Johnson, his numbers have taken a bit of a hit in recent weeks. Johnson got his ninth consecutive 100-yard game Sunday with 104 yards on 29 carries, his lowest output since the streak began.
“When you’ve got Chris Johnson in the game, there’s no doubt we’re gonna see eight guys in the box, and sometimes they’re dropping a ninth player in. The yards aren’t reeling off 150 or 250 like they were, but I think that’s a compliment to the offense,” center Kevin Mawae said. “Anytime a defense feels like they’ve got to stack that many in the box, I think you’ve done something pretty good. That’s a good feeling when you go for over 100 yards as a running back and you’re disappointed.”
Fisher said explosive plays from Johnson are certainly possible, but can’t always be expected.
“I think we all are just hoping he runs for an 85-yard touchdown run every time he touches a ball, and that’s not gonna be the case. He has the potential to do that, and he was close, but that was a very, very tough opponent we faced yesterday,” Fisher said.