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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Johnson: Typical Titans turning heads

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's something Tennessee Titans fans have grown accustomed to.

A low-scoring game dominated by the defense, backed by a sufficient run-oriented offense and a consistent field goal kicker.

Titan defensive end Antwan Odom comes in to make a sack on Raider quarterback Daunte Culpepper.
(T-G Photo by Danny Parker)
Like it or not, that's Tennessee Titan football.

The biggest difference thus far this year is they're winning.

Such was the case again Sunday afternoon at LP Field when the Titans edged the Oakland Raiders 13-9.

Other than allowing Houston 29 points in the fourth quarter last week, the Titan defense has dominated.

The Tennessee defense turned in another stellar performance against the Raiders, not giving up a touchdown and allowing only three Sebastian Janikowski field goals while collecting five sacks and a pair of turnovers. Oakland only totaled 92 yards on the ground and 143 passing.

When asked just how good this Titan defense is, defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch replied, "I don't like to compare us to other teams around the league, we're good enough to win games. When it comes down to the defense stepping up to win games, we're good enough to win just about every game.

"I know we're a better defense that we were last year. I know the way we play up front, I don't know if there is anybody more aggressive than we are and that's something to take pride in. We're putting offenses in second-and-long and third-and-long and that gives your defense a good chance to succeed."

Tennessee's run game also excelled as LenDale White rushed for a career-high 133 yards on 25 carries and rookie Chris Henry had 48 yards on four attempts, including a touchdown.

This was the second consecutive week White has rushed for more than 100 yards.

"That was the game plan this week, to go three tight ends and just pound the ball real hard," quarterback Vince Young said. "I really feel like LenDale answered that challenge. I feel like the offensive line answered that challenge."

It's a good thing that that running game is clicking on all cylinders because the Titan passing game is struggling, to say the least.

Young completed only 6-of-14 passes for a total of 42 yards. In the first half, last year's Offensive Rookie of the Year was 2-for-6 for 16 yards.

"We got in a situation today where we had some difficulty throwing the football," Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said. "They were taking some things away, and (we) had difficulty converting third downs. We hung in there and found a way to win this ballgame."

I'm not sure what the problem is, but all Titan fans must know there is a problem in the passing game and scoring inside the red zone.

Tennessee's LenDale White attempts to run through the tackle of Oakland's Terdell Sands.
(T-G Photo by Danny Parker)
Young's quarterback rating against the Raiders was a dismal 50.3. On the season his rating is 68, which is among the lowest in the league.

The Titan offense ranks 14th overall in the NFL in total points (20.7); 22nd in total yards (307.6); 29th in passing yards (156.7) and third in rushing yards (150.9).

"We're about running the ball and stopping the run," Fisher said. "The only thing that is lacking with this team right now is touchdowns."

Thank goodness for a great defense, running game and field goal kicker.

Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer.

Gary Johnson
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