Sunday, December 20, 2009
Rapid Reaction: Titans 27, Dolphins 24
By Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A high throw by Chad Henne that floated over his intended receiver and into the arms of Michael Griffin bailed the Titans out in a game they tried to hand away.
After a 27-24 overtime win over Miami, the Titans remarkably stand at 7-7 in a season that started 0-6. They are in range of an AFC pack of teams fighting for wild card spots, though Tennessee needs two more wins and a slew of favorable results to qualify.
The Titans’ AFC record would kill them in a lot of tiebreaking scenarios even if they get to 9-7.
They beat Miami with an efficient and balanced game over three quarters, but had to survive a late-game collapse where they allowed two fourth-quarter touchdown drives by the Dolphins and a two-point conversion on the second one.
Inexplicably, Jeff Fisher kept three timeouts in his pocket with the Dolphins pinned at their own 2-yard line and 56 seconds remaining at the conclusion of regulation. The Titans then lost the coin toss, but were saved by Griffin’s pick and Rob Bironas' 46-yard field goal.
Vince Young threw for three touchdowns for the first time in his career, two to Justin Gage, while Chris Johnson topped 100 rushing yards for the ninth consecutive game.
The defense took the ball away from the Dolphins three times near scoring territory.
But the Titans could have severe linebacking issues Christmas night against San Diego. Keith Bulluck left the game in the second half with a knee injury, which meant Gerald McRath, who started for the injured David Thornton, was working opposite Colin Allred, another young linebacker.
The training room may be full after a physical game, but the hopes remain high.
The Titans will head home as fans of the Bears against the Ravens, the Packers against the Steelers and the Raiders against the Broncos.