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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Johnson: Titans streaking toward home playoff game

Monday, November 3, 2008

Titans running back LenDale White (25) celebrates a touchdown with center Kevin Mawae.
(T-G Photo by Danny Parker)
NASHVILLE -- Halfway through a 16-game regular season, the Tennessee Titans remain undefeated.

It hasn't come easy, but it's not supposed to…..this is the NFL.

After a very impressive win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football, the Titans claimed their eighth straight victory with a 19-16 overtime win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, playing their second game in six days.

"Obviously with a short week it was going to be a challenge," Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins said. "I thought our guys handled it pretty well. By no means did we play a perfect game today, but it's tough coming off of a big win like we did the other night and be able to come back with a good week of practice and find a way to win today.

"It was obviously big for us and we played a good football team today. Anytime you get a win against them I think it's a good win."

Dating back to last year, the Titans' regular season win streak now sits at 11 games, which is a tie for the longest win streak in team history.

"We've got eight down and eight more to go," Tennessee All-Pro linebacker Keith Bullock said. "We're at the halfway point, we haven't lost and that's great. But there's another half (season) of football to play.

Chris Johnson (28) tries to break free from the tackle of Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk.
(T-G Photo by Danny Parker)
"We have to prepare ourselves and take care of business. We're sitting nice right now, but our attitude and our mentality definitely won't change. We're going take the same approach to practice and same approach for the games every week."

That approach has been very successful for the Titans all season.

The Titan's "M-O" has always been a strong defense along with a successful running and kicking game.

That hasn't changed this year. Tennessee tops the NFL in scoring defense, allowing a mere 12.9 points per game. The offense leads the league with 15 rushing touchdowns.

Kicker Rob Bironas has kicked 20-of-20 extra points and connected on 17-of-19 field goals, including a 41-yarder in overtime to beat the Packers after missing a 47-yard attempt to win the game at the end of regulation.

Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins tosses a pass into the end zone that could have been flagged for interference.
(T-G Photo by Danny Parker)
"I'm not going to make them all," Bironas said. "I go out there expecting to make them all but when I miss; I'm ready to hit the next one."

Rookie running back Chris Johnson continues to impress and he got involved in the passing game against the Packers.

Johnson leads the AFC in rushing with 715 yards on 146 carries with five rushing TDs. Sunday he hauled in six passes for 72 yards.

In my opinion, he's on track not only to make the Pro Bowl but to be named the AFC offensive rookie of the year.

Johnson's abilities have caught the eye of Green Bay linebacker A. J. Hawk as well.

"He is a good player. They use him very well. With that physical offensive lineup in front he knows how to run the ball. He is a good cutback runner."

The Titans still have a four-game lead over the Colts in the AFC South with eight games remaining in the regular season.

Linebacker Stephen Tulloch puts a hit on Green Bay's Donald Lee (86).
(T-G Photo by Danny Parker)
There's still a lot of football to play, but wouldn't it be great to host another AFC playoff game in Nashville?

The Titans have only hosted thee playoff games, defeating Buffalo 22-16 with the "Music City Miracle" in 1999; losing to Baltimore 24-10 in 2000, then claiming a 34-31 overtime win over Pittsburgh in 2002.

I remember all three of those playoff games and I'm sure many of you do as well.

The anticipation and atmosphere for playoff games is very exciting and, hopefully, the Titans can secure a home-field playoff game late this season.

Tennessee's schedule doesn't get any easier as they travel to Chicago and Jacksonville the next two weeks before hosting the New York Jets in three weeks.

-- Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer. He can be contacted at gjohnson@t-g.com.

Gary Johnson
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