- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: The Titans do have a pulse, and at times when it gets faint, it’s possible to resuscitate it. It was the sort of win you’d like to think will have long-lasting implications for all the resolve it revealed. They blew a halftime lead of 11 points. They blew a 14-point lead with 1:16 left in the game. But they got a 26-yard field goal from Rob Bironas in overtime and they stuffed a quarterback sneak on a fourth-and-1 to win an epic, wild game with more swings than a giant elementary school playground.
What I liked: Big plays. The offense wasn’t finding them, so the Titans turned to special teams and echoed the most famous play in Nashville NFL history. Darius Reynaud tossed a lateral across the field to Tommie Campbell for a 63-yard touchdown punt return, and that gave the Titans a major spark. Reynaud also had a 105-yard kickoff return for a TD, and cornerback Alterraun Verner took a ball out of tight end Brandon Pettigrew’s hands and ran it in for a 72-yard fumble return.
What I also liked: While three of the five big plays came from special teams and defense, the other two were on offense. Tight end Jared Cook had a nice 61-yard catch and run. And wide receiver Nate Washington reached over helpless, dumbfounded cornerback Jacob Lacey to pluck a pass from Jake Locker, and take it 71 yards for a score. (Missed the Cook play in the first version of this. Apologies.)
What I didn’t like: A massive 583 net yards yielded and just one sack in 55 drop-backs by Detroit quarterbacks. Lost fumbles by Locker and Kendall Wright. No TDs in two trips inside the red zone. Two field goal attempts missed wide left by Bironas. The rushing offense still struggling with Chris Johnson taking 14 carries for just 24 yards.
What we’re going to talk about: Was it the best, most compelling and most entertaining game ever played at the Titans’ home stadium, which opened for business in 1999?
What’s next: The Titans play their first AFC South game of the year and see how they measure up to first-place Houston in a Sunday matchup at Reliant Stadium.