Titans rout Jags, finally end losing streak

Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 6:57pm

For six weeks, the Tennessee Titans had been going backwards.

On Sunday, they went back to doing the things that had made them successful in seasons past, leading to a 30-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars and finally ending a losing streak that had reached eight games dating to the end of last season.

While all the attention was on Vince Young’s return at quarterback, running back Chris Johnson stole the show with a new franchise record 228 yards rushing in helping the Titans to finally crack the win column in 2009 and also to help erase a bit of the stench of a record 59-0 loss at New England just before the bye.

The changes came from the top, where owner Bud Adams, displeased with the direction and disarray, stepped in and urged that the Titans make the switch back to Young at quarterback.

“We just said looking at that game, we’re gonna have to make some changes some place,” Adams said. We started the season with 21 of our 22 starters from last year. We should have been in the Super Bowl last year. …

“I thought we had the team to be there and I thought this year we would be going there. But the way it started out, it just wasn’t going that way. And it was just something I had to get involved in, not that I can make the decision of what is right, but we had to turn something around because it was not going very good.”

What the Titans did, in addition to going back to Young, who turned in a solid effort going 15 of 18 for 125 yards and a TD, was to get back to Titans football. They ran the ball for 307 yards and got two long TDs from Johnson of 52 and 89 yards, while controlling the clock for 39:43 and forcing a pair of turnovers on defense.

When it was over, the Titans, who had endured tumultuous times since the debacle in New England, felt as if they had somewhat righted their struggling situation.

“It’s a great accomplishment, but we know this is not the end,” said receiver Nate Washington, who was on the receiving end of Young’s 6-yard TD pass. “This is something we need to build off of. We were a struggling football team looking for our first win, but now we’re a team with our first win looking to complete the rest of the season.”

For Young, he was happy to play a supporting role in the victory.

“Before the game, I told our offensive line to take care of everything up front and the skill guys behind them to make lays when it is time to make plays, and that is what we did,” Young said.

Mission accomplished, thanks in large part to Johnson’s heroics. The second-year running back from East Carolina now has 824 yards rushing, and shredded the franchise single-game rushing record of 216 yards previously held by Eddie George and Billy Cannon.

“Coming into the week, we knew we could run the ball, because the last time we played them we were able to have some success running the ball,” Johnson said.

It added up to 430 yards of total offense for the Titans, who also turned up the intensity a notch or two on defense, save for a pair of long touchdown runs by Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew of 80 yards in the second quarter and 79 yards on the first play of the season half following the second-half kickoff.

“Today we played together as a team. We had some adversity and we fought through it,” safety Chris Hope said, referring to Jones-Drew’s two long runs.

First-half domination

The Titans dominated most of the first half, getting a field goal on their opening possession for a 3-0 first-quarter lead on Rob Bironas’ 48-yard field goal.

The Titans struck again with Young running and passing them downfield in the second quarter, capping an eight-play, 54-yard march with his 6-yard touchdown to Washington on second-and-goal. It was the Titans’ first touchdown in a game since the last time they faced Jacksonville in a 37-17 loss back on Oct. 4.

The Titans tacked on a second Bironas field goal after Rod Hood intercepted David Garrard, setting up a 25-yard kick for a 13-0 lead. That was before Jones-Drew gashed the Titans for the 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of the ensuing possession to cut the lead to 13-7 by halftime.

Jones-Drew duplicated that feat to start the second half with a 79-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 13-all. The Titans remained tied when Michael Griffin blocked Josh Scobee’s extra point.

Thus far in 2009, when adversity came the Titans’ way, they had folded. However, Sunday was different. Whoever had order the changed, from Adams on down to the coaches and players, for one game at least, it worked for Tennessee.

“We needed to fix a lot of things, fix our attitude, fix the way we feel about ourselves. I think we’ve got some confidence now, and hopefully we’ll keep things rolling,” said defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who recorded his first sack of the season.

And in a season that had appeared hopeless, perhaps the biggest thing that changed was the Titans’ outlook.

“We have a lot of football left. We have nine games left,” linebacker Keith Bulluck said. “I think that teams that are in playoff contention and fighting for those playoff positions, we’re a team that teams won’t want to see in the future, if we continue to take steps forward.”


14 Comments on this post:

By: frank brown on 11/1/09 at 7:38

This is the thrid saddest day in the 12 year history of the Tennessee Titans. We have traded Jeff Fisher for Vince Young.

I can see the procession of pig looking coaches following Fisher every three or four years. I can only wish Jeff Fisher the very best thank him for the class manner he has represented our team and our city.

By: jps13pat on 11/2/09 at 2:59

Way to be a Debbie Downer, Frank. If VY continues to play well and Chuck Cecil can call blitzes and stunts that are as effective as they were today against the Jaguars, Jeff will still be around next year. No need to get your undies in a wad. After all, this is the first sign of life we've seen out of this group. You should be happy! I am!!

By: house_of_pain on 11/2/09 at 6:08

Way to go, Titans!

By: dargent7 on 11/2/09 at 6:29

Don't quite understand Mr. Brown's assessment of Sunday's win. A win is a win.
Maybe Collins would of won, but the odds weren't good. And the Titans traded Fisher for owner Adams. He made the call from upstairs.
VY stats were poor, but NO INT's. Chris Johnson cannot be expected to run for 200 yds. every game. Next week will tell. At least there's life in them boys.

By: blktenn on 11/2/09 at 7:08

Terry McCormick If kerry was QB you would still be saying " It's not KERRY"S FAULT WHY THE TITANS LOST"

While all the attention was on Vince Young’s return at quarterback, running back Chris Johnson stole the show with a new franchise record 228

For Young, he was happy to play a supporting role in the victory.

You said VY could not do it, Now you say nothing !!!!LOL

By: blktenn on 11/2/09 at 7:31

IF VY had a poor game you would have gotten your noose of words and hung him on this page.

Mr. Brown is a tea bagger LOL

By: blktenn on 11/2/09 at 8:25

Young steps in and Titans win, 30-13 over Jaguars
AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Vince Young felt good but nervous before his first start this season for the Tennessee Titans. He wound up with celebrating with his offensive coordinator and getting high grades from the team owner who wanted him back on the job.

And yes, he threw for a touchdown in helping the Titans win their first game this season, routing Jacksonville 30-13 Sunday to snap an eight-game skid dating to last year.

"The year off has helped me a whole lot," Young said. "I put myself in different scenarios at night time. If I go out and make a bad play and they start to boo me and anything that is going to happen, put it in the past and don't worry about that. ... Continue to make plays and show your humbleness and maturity."

He was greeted by cheers, but Young wasn't the highlight of a game the NFL said was the only one in league history with four touchdowns rushing of 50 yards or longer.

The Titans (1-6) helped put Young in the best position by focusing on running the ball. Chris Johnson set a franchise record by rushing for 228 yards on 24 carries, and he reeled off TD runs of 52 and 89 yards after Jacksonville tied the game at 13 in the opening minute of the third quarter.
Coordinator Mike Heimerdinger got Young into a rhythm early with lots of short throws and runs to tap into his mobility. Young also made some nice throws, including his 6-yard TD toss to Nate Washington and a 7-yarder out to the sideline to Kenny Britt to keep the go-ahead TD drive alive on third down.

Young was 15 of 18 for 125 yards and had 10 runs for 32 yards before two kneel downs at the end for the Titans' first win since Dec. 21. He finished with a 114.1 passer rating that was his second highest in a start and highest since 2006 when he was Offensive Rookie of the Year.

It was exactly what owner Bud Adams wanted to see to revive a team coming off a 59-0 shutout at New England, especially for a franchise that must decide whether to keep Young after this season. Young is due a $4.25 million roster bonus in March with a deal counting $14.2 million against the salary cap in 2010.

By: wayneCaluger on 11/2/09 at 8:46

I hope the Titans have turned the corner, but keeping the win in perspective we still have a way to go. The last time we faced the Jag’s we scored one more point than yesterdays 30 losing that game 34 to 31 and Johnson had a great day in Jacksonville as well.

The biggest area of improvement yesterday was our defense with our secondary getting two interceptions and some slight improvement in special teams with a punter who can punt giving us some decent field position. Why we are catching punts and kickoff’s we still lack in the return game and special teams cannot seem to contain returns against us giving up two for over forty yards and one for about 26 yards.

We got a better improvement test coming up Sunday against the SF whose changing defensive alignment almost did the Colts in. I expect more pressure on VY next game so it will be a better test on how much the team has actually improved compared to facing the Jags who we should have beat the first time out had our defense did the job they did yesterday holding them to under 20 points.

We cannot win shoot outs no matter who the quarterback, so it falls on the defense to keep the game in reach especially with VY who is not a long ball threat being more of a defensive secondary treat by getting too much air under the ball increasing drive breaking interceptions.

Expect more quarterback pressure from SF and a tougher secondary than we saw against the JAG’s. Go Titans!

PS: I agree we most likely have lost Fisher. I expect him to resign at seasons end!

By: TITAN1 on 11/2/09 at 9:22

VY played a very good game and looked comfortable. If he plays like that or better for most of the rest of the season I have no problem with him being our QB. The Oline played very well. The receivers looked much better. CJ was off the charts! The defense improved, but still needs work. Good to have Finnegan and Fuller back. Newcomer Hood played well. Special teams was up and down with the new punter doing a good job but our kickoff coverage was very bad. All in all, a good game!

By: JohnGalt on 11/2/09 at 10:06

If the team as a whole had played as well for Kerry Collins as they did for Young, this win would have happened far earlier in the season.

By: yank283 on 11/2/09 at 10:38

Vince played a good game, but I think what was even a bigger reason for the win was the return of Finnegin and Fuller to the lineup. And yeah, it wsn't Collin's fault they hadn't won a game, but the team did seem to rally around Vince.

By: house_of_pain on 11/2/09 at 12:01

wayne, you're thinking of the game against the Texans.

By: wayneCaluger on 11/2/09 at 5:29

house_of_pain thanks for catching that. It hit me after I went outside to do some yard work. I think the score last time around with the Jags was 37 to 17, but CJ had a banner day with over 200 yards total and over a 100 rushing yards.

In watching our OL they were holding their blocks longer giving CJ and LW some good holes. I hope they keep it up

By: jps13pat on 11/3/09 at 1:23

JohnGalt says: "If the team as a whole had played as well for Kerry Collins as they did for Young, this win would have happened far earlier in the season."

Perhaps if Kerry was the leader that Vince is, the team would have played better earlier. Intangibles play a key role in a person's success, and yet are all too often overlooked.

blktenn says: "IF VY had a poor game you would have gotten your noose of words and hung him on this page."

This statement epitomizes the problem with America and racism. Those that are racist are all too often the ones accusing the world of racism.