Big play against Ravens: A first down

January, 8, 2009
1/08/09
2:51
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans' starting wide receivers gave the same answer to the question: What, exactly, qualifies as a big play against the Ravens, who will bring the NFL's second-rated defense to town for Saturday's playoff game?

Their answer: Anything that produces a first down.

"We realize if we make two plays in a drive, that's going to get us down the field, onto the half of the field that we need to be on," Justin Gage said. "A big play against the Ravens is a first down. As long as you can keep the chains moving and get a new set of downs, that's good, that keeps their offense off the field, it keeps our defense on the sideline, they are able to rest up, it also gives our offense a chance to move the ball and put points on the board. Anything bigger than a first down at this time of the year is a big play."

Said Justin McCareins: "Against this 'D', just moving the chains and holding on to the ball, keeping it out of their defense's hands is very positive."

The Ravens gave up 4.5 yards per play this season. They allowed 11 pass plays of 30 yards or more and nine rushing plays of 20 yards or more.

When the Titans won 13-10 in Baltimore on Oct. 5, they ran 54 offensive plays.

Ten of them were for 10 yards or more with a long of 26

Fourteen of them were for a loss or no gain. (The Ravens had nine plays for a loss in 65 offensive plays.)

The Titans are willing to accept a certain amount of no gains or losses in their run game in exchange for maintaining their commitment to the run. Chris Johnson had runs of 13 and 11 yards early against the Ravens on October, but averaged 1.25 yards per carry on his other 16 touches in the run game. LenDale White's three carries produced four yards.

 "I think there are going to be negative plays on both sides," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "You're going to have negative plays when you face a defense like them. You just have to move on, you correct it and you put it behind you. When teams are committed to run the football and you've got defenses that are committed to stopping the run, there are going to be some no gains and some losses."

The Titans are 76-12 in the last 10 years and 11-0 this season when they run 30 times.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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