Late turnover dooms Titans in season-ending loss to Colts

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 7:35pm
Staff reports

The Tennessee Titans nearly found a way to extend their season — even if only for a few minutes of overtime.

Instead, a lost fumble on an exchange between rookie center Kevin Matthews and veteran quarterback Kerry Collins led to Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal as time expired and the Titans lost 23-20 to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“I don’t think anyone expected that type of performance or expected us to have a chance to win the game at the end,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “Unfortunately we didn’t.”

Tennessee had the first significant opportunity to break the 20-20 tie, which had stood for more than a quarter, when safety Michael Griffin recovered a fumble and returned it to the Indianapolis 37 with 1:34 to play.

Two plays later, the Titans committed their only turnover of the contest when Collins failed to come away from center with the ball.

“There’s two turnovers in the game and they take place in three plays,” Fisher said. “That’s clearly the difference. We get the ball back, and if we hang on to it we have a chance to win.”

The Colts drove from their own 38 to the Titans’ 25 in four plays and called their final timeout with three seconds remaining. Vinatieri then came on and made the shortest of his three field goals in the contest.

Prior to that sequence the teams combined for eight straight punts and appeared headed toward overtime.

With the loss, the Titans finished the season with a 6-10 record. The Colts went 10-6 and won the AFC South by two games over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The big question now for Tennessee is whether Fisher will remain as head coach.

“I’m under contract for another year,” he said. “So we’ll see. We’ll come back and have wrap-up physicals [Monday] and start our evaluation process.

“ … I’ve said time and time again that I want to finish my career in Tennessee.”

Tennessee never led but tied it four times, the last on Chris Johnson’s 15-yard touchdown reception with 4:18 to play in the third quarter.

It was the first receiving touchdown of the season for Johnson, who rushed for just 39 yards on 20 carries.

His six receptions (for 51 yards) were second on the team to tight end Jared Cook, who had seven for 58 yards. Wide receiver Kenny Britt added five catches for 85 yards and a touchdown as Collins completed 28 of 39 attempts for a season-high 300 yards with no interceptions.

Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning was 27-for-41 for 264 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

7 Comments on this post:

By: jwk6179 on 1/2/11 at 6:44

Have you noticed that the only times Kenny Britt has had a BIG game this year, Kerry Collins was QBing the team, not Vince Young. You would be wasting Kenny Britt's talent by bringing Vince Young back as QB. Either bring Kerry Collins back as the starting QB or bring in someone like Kevin Kolb, Carson Palmer or Kyle Orton if the Titans really want to make Kenny Britt one of the elite WRs in the NFL. He will never be that with Vince Young as the starting QB.

By: richgoose on 1/2/11 at 7:22

I notice that a lot of people are critical of Jeff Fisher. (Titans coach) How can you guys tell how bad a coach he is when the players are so bad?

By: dargent7 on 1/3/11 at 5:56

It was a great game. Tied 4 times...3-3, 6-6, 13-13, 20-20.
The Titans just lost focus.
They absolutely had this one in the final minutes.
Until the nimrod center screwed up an easy snap to Collins.
They gave Manning a Golden opportunity, which if you follow his game, he gladly takes advantage of.
A 43 yd. FG and Fisher may be history.
But, who'd Adams hire to tame, control, and teach the crybaby Young next year?

By: TITAN1 on 1/3/11 at 7:36

I agree, great game! Not sure what is going to happen. I was very disappointed in VY after he disrespected coach Fisher. Mr Adams says VY is staying, at least that is what he was quoted after VY went on the IR. I like coach Fisher, but if he is not our coach then I will of course back whoever the coach is. Change might be good after 17 years for coach Fisher and our Titans.

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.

By: dargent7 on 1/3/11 at 9:25

Ok, old wise one: Here's a half- full prediction:
Fisher may get thrown a bone by ancient Adams.....1 more year. "18" and Out".
But, VY HAS TO GO. Both are incompatible. And, they don't win enough games.
It's really that simple.
Fisher's 17 years trumps VY's 4 years.

By: jwk6179 on 1/3/11 at 9:45

I'm beginning to think that Bud Adams may be as SENILE as Al Davis.

By: TITAN1 on 1/3/11 at 9:49

I may not have made myself clear. I have always been a fan of coach Fisher and would prefer him to stay. If it came down to choosing coach Fisher or VY, I would choose coach Fisher in a heartbeat. But, that is only my opinion. I hope our GM and Mr Underwood will persuade Mr Adams to keep coach Fisher and let him put the best players on the field regardless how long they have been here. Bottom line is, I'll back my Titans no matter who the coach or QB is because they are my hometown team. I am a firm believer that you make the best out of any situation. Control what you can control and then hope for the best. Should get very interesting.

Positive people always look at the glass half full and make the best of it and are happy most of the time. Negative people always find it half empty and complain and are miserable most of the time.