Sunday, December 4, 2011
Wrap-up: Titans 23, Bills 17
By Paul Kuharsky
Thoughts on the Tennessee Titans’ 23-17 win over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium:
What it means: The Titans improved to 7-5 and won two straight for the first time since Weeks 3 and 4. They’re still two games behind Houston in the AFC South, but at the very least they’ve got reasonable hopes about a wild-card playoff berth. Losses for Oakland and Cincinnati certainly helped the cause.
What I liked: Chris Johnson had a monster game for the second week in a row with 23 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns. It’s taken too long, but this is what the Titans expected to look like -- a run-first team, with Matt Hasselbeck making some key throws and a defense that can get the ball back for them.
Who I like: Rookie middle linebacker Colin McCarthy continues to shine. He had a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries and led the team in tackles with nine. The Titans had a good draft, but he's not a guy who was expected to make an immediate defensive impact. No one’s making the contribution he is right now.
What I didn’t like: The Titans won despite converting just two of 11 third downs, while allowing the Bills to move the chains seven times on 16 third downs. But Tennessee did match Buffalo with 18 total first downs, so the Titans were getting them on first and second downs. Running back C.J. Spiller averaged 5.9 yards a carry.
What’s next: The Titans host high-powered New Orleans at LP Field in a game that may provide as big a challenge for the defense as it's had all season.