Titans want another great ‘MNF’ performance

Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 12:41am

When the Tennessee Titans were last in the spotlight at New Orleans in Week 3, they turned in their most complete performance of the season, a 31-14 pasting of the Saints before a Monday Night Football national audience.

In that game, the defense was stellar, led by Keith Bulluck’s three interceptions, and the offense enjoyed one of its more productive games of the season.

As another primetime opportunity this Monday in Denver, the Titans find themselves at a bit of a crossroads in the season. They are 6-3 and currently are in position to hold one of the two AFC wild-card berths, but coming off a 28-13 loss at home to Jacksonville, the Titans are eager to not only put a poor performance behind them, but also show America they are worthy of being considered a top-flight playoff contender.

“I think everybody on this team is a little embarrassed by how the game went [against Jacksonville],” defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. “A lot of things were out of character as opposed to the other things we’ve done this year. It’s a really good chance for us to redeem ourselves and prove to everybody that we’re the team, especially the defense, that was out there most of the season and not the defense that was out there last week.”

Bulluck, who deemed himself “Mr. Monday Night” before the Saints game, then played one of the best games of his career, agreed that the primetime game comes at a good time for the Titans.

“Just like when we had that meltdown in Houston [29-point fourth quarter], we came back and played great football,” Bulluck said. “We’re looking forward to this week and coming back and having a solid performance and putting last week behind us and trying to jockey ourselves for position going into the playoffs.”

The Titans were just beginning to get back on the football radar this season after not being in the playoffs since 2003, only to stumble last week. Now they have to take advantage of any chance they can get for recognition.

It comes with the small-market territory of playing in Tennessee, as opposed to a place like New York where everything can be overly scrutinized. Center Kevin Mawae, a former New York Jet, knows first-hand of the difference.

“I think it’s of big importance, especially for a lot of guys that want to get recognized,” Mawae said. “When you play in a small market, if you’re not just blowing the doors off everybody, you tend to get forgotten. That’s the beauty of being where we’re at — if you don’t want to be known, this is a good place to be. But yet if you’re playing well enough and make a strong showing on Monday Night Football, people are going to know about you.”

According to Mawae, it is important for the Titans to do more than just make a primetime appearance. They need to impress, and that will take more than they have shown of late.

“We’re kind of teetering on that edge where we can go out and be gangbusters and everybody is going to know what we’re really about,” he said, “or we can go out there and play like we’ve been playing the last three weeks and try to squeak by, and everybody is just going to say we’re another average team. So I think there is a lot riding on this game for our team and this locker room.”

Added Vanden Bosch, “It’s a chance for us to showcase what we have on this team, because we don’t get very many nationally televised games. We still feel like we’re one of the premier teams in this league, and we just have to go out on Monday night and prove it.”

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By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I think this game could turn out like the Saints game, a big win for the Titans!

By: serr8d on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Denver is 4-5, just coming off of a huge victory at arch-rival Kansas City (where Shanahan seldom gets out with a win; he's 2-12.) Denver's Jevon Walker and John Lynch might not play; Travis Henry may not play (not because of the pot smoking, that's being appealed, but because of a left knee injury.)But Shanahan is one cool customer. He and Jeff Fisher are good friends (they were assistant coaches together in San Francisco in 1992 and '93) and are the two longest-tenured coaches left in the league. Shanahan called Fisher for advice before selecting Cutler in the 2006 draft.Coach-wise, the teams are split 1-1 on their previous two meetings. They have never met on Monday Night Football.Should be a good game. My pick? Denver 23, Tennessee 16.Don't bet the house payment...;D

By: MJB on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I'm with Serr0d on the house payment. I predict a close game but the Titans coming out w/ the win. Of course, predictions are crap. Look for added importance to defense & to special teams. The team w/ the good runbacks for field position or that just blows open w/ one return for a t.d. could settle the game, because the offenses are about even.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

YAWN...the one thing you can count on from a Jeff Fisher team...they sure are boring to watch!Anyone else sick of the "let's keep it close and win in the end" mentality??

By: Cowboy84 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

We should be used to "Field Goal Fisher" by now and he would not call it boring he would call it low-risk or ball-control football. I do believe that Fisher subscribes to the Woody Hayes, opinion of the forward pass when he has a good defense, "two things can happen when you throw the ball and two of them are bad." (I'm not sure if Hayes actually said it or if it has been attributed to him)

By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Amen, gdiafante! His pregame preparation speech for the players - "Let's keep it close and FIND A WAY TO WIN."
"8302

By: Rocket99 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

If the team that showd up last Sunday shows up for MNF we'll loose. If the team from the week before shows up, we'll win.Why did it take them almost 3 quarters to figure out what they were doing wasn't working?Anyone else happy about the new franchise record Manning set for teh Colts in their last game? I know he's not.