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Chris Johnson Hits 1,000; Bironas Nails 55-yard Field Goal

Posted by Craig Peters on December 29, 2013 – 1:36 pm

Rob Bironas kicked a season-long 55-yard field goal as the first half expired to bring Tennessee within a point at 7-6 of Houston.

The Titans drove 58 yards on seven plays in 1:53 to cut into the Texans’ lead and will get the ball to start the second half.

The possession started at Tennessee’s own 5, and was started by a 23-yard run by Chris Johnson that put him over 1,000 yards for the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with Kendall Wright on a screen pass that gained 34 yards, and the Titans overcame a holding penalty against Delanie Walker with a screen from Fitzpatrick to Johnson that gained 11 on third-and-20 to move the ball to the Houston 37.

Tennessee let the clock tick down to four seconds left in the first half before using its final timeout.

The possession followed a successful challenge by Titans coach Mike Munchak of a play that was originally ruled a completion from Matt Schaub to DeAndre Hopkins. After review, officials determined the pass had been broken up by Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner, and Tennessee was able to force a punt two plays later.

The Titans’ first field goal made it 7-3 with 9:45 remaining in the first half. Bironas capped a seven-play, 32-yard drive with a 42-yarder. The drive started at the Tennessee 44-yard line and included a 13-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Wright and runs of 9 and 4 yards by Johnson.

The possession was slowed by an illegal shift penalty, but Fitzpatrick’s 9-yard pass to Walker on third-and-13 moved Tennessee back to the 24.


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Titans’ Casey Caps Season with 10.5 Sacks

Posted by Craig Peters on December 29, 2013 – 11:45 am

Jurrell Casey's third pro season included 10.5 sacks.

Jurrell Casey’s third pro season included 10.5 sacks.

Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey’s third pro season ended a game before he wanted.

Casey suffered a knee injury last week that will sideline him for today’s season finale against the Houston Texans at LP Field.

Casey said during the week that he wanted to rally and play because he had never missed a game. Casey was leading Tennessee with 10.5 sacks this season and nearly doubling the 5.5 he had in his first two seasons, and garnered consideration for the Pro Bowl.

Casey had 90 tackles (49 solo), 10 quarterback pressures, three tackles for loss, three passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this season.

The Titans plan to start veteran Antonio Johnson alongside Sammie Hill and use that combination in situations that are more likely to be runs, and mix in Mike Martin to defend situations that are more likely to be passes.


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Kendall Wright Ties Franchise Mark, Approaching Another

Posted by Gary Glenn on December 26, 2013 – 3:25 pm

Kendall WrightLast week Kendall Wright totaled four receptions against the Jaguars. The second-year wide receiver now has 153 career catches since being picked 20th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Wright’s 2013 totals include 89 receptions, which ranks seventh in the NFL and fifth in the AFC. With one game remaining, he is 12 catches shy of Charlie Hennigan’s single-season franchise record of 101 catches, set in 1964.

While Wright may or may not seize the single-season record from Hennigan, the second-year receiver last week equaled Hennigan for another rare feat. He matched Hennigan by reaching the 150-reception mark in only his 30th career game. Hennigan accomplished the feat in 1961, and since that time, the closest player to tying the mark was Webster Slaughter, who needed 35 games from 1992 to 1993 to get to 150 receptions in an Oilers uniform. Slaughter, unlike Hennigan and Wright, did not begin his career with the Titans/Oilers but joined the club after six seasons in Cleveland.

Wright has played in all 15 games this season after missing one contest as a rookie due to injury. His 153 career receptions have produced 1,655 yards and six touchdowns.

Fewest games needed to reach 150 receptions, franchise history:

30 – Kendall Wright (2012-13)
30 – Charlie Hennigan (1960-61)
35 – Webster Slaughter* (1992-93)

* Slaughter had six previous years of NFL experience with Cleveland prior to his time with the Oilers. Hennigan and Wright played their first two NFL seasons with the Oilers/Titans.


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Delanie Walker Aims for 60-Plus Receptions

Posted by Gary Glenn on December 26, 2013 – 3:19 pm

Kareem Jackson, D.J. Swearinger, Delanie WalkerTitans tight end Delanie Walker has established career highs in every major receiving category this season, posting 57 catches for 542 yards and six touchdowns.

In his first season with the Titans and his eighth season in the NFL, Walker can become the only tight end in franchise history other than Titans Ring of Honor member Frank Wycheck to reach 60 receptions in a single season. Wycheck accomplished the feat five times from 1997 through 2001, including 70 receptions in both 1998 and 2000 to establish the record for Titans/Oilers tight ends.

Walker ranks 10th among NFL tight ends in receptions in 2013, despite missing most of one game (Dec. 1 at Indianapolis) and all of another contest (Dec. 8 at Denver) with an injury.

Most single-season receptions by Titans/Oilers tight ends:

70 – Frank Wycheck – 1998 (786 yards, 2 TDs)
70 – Frank Wycheck – 2000 (636 yards, 4 TDs)
69 – Frank Wycheck – 1999 (641 yards, 2 TDs)
63 – Frank Wycheck – 1997 (748 yards, 4 TDs)
60 – Frank Wycheck – 2001 (672 yards, 4 TDs)
59 – Mike Barber – 1980 (712 yards, 5 TDs)
58 – Willard Dewveall – 1963 (752 yards, 7 TDs)
58 – Bo Scaife – 2008 (561 yards, 2 TDs)
57 – Delanie Walker – 2013 (542 yards, 6 TDs) – 1 game remaining
55 – Erron Kinney – 2005 (543 yards, 2 TDs)
55 – Ben Troupe – 2005 (530 yards, 4 TDs)


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Bernard Pollard Among Top Tackling Safeties for Titans Since 1990

Posted by Gary Glenn on December 26, 2013 – 3:12 pm

bpollard.20130829_2017Bernard Pollard leads the Titans with 134 total tackles in 2013, according to the statistics compiled by the defensive coaching staff upon film review each week. The number also amounts to a career high for the eighth-year safety, who completes his first year in Tennessee this weekend.

Pollard’s 134 tackles put him in elite company among Titans safeties in the last two-and-a-half decades. Since the start of the 1990 campaign, the only Titans/Oilers safety to be credited with more total tackles in a season for the team was Michael Griffin, who notched 153 total stops in 2010.

Pollard has started all 15 games this year. In addition to his impressive tackle tally, he has contributed a half sack, two quarterback pressures, three tackles for loss, three interceptions, 11 passes defensed, a blocked field goal and a blocked extra point.

Highest single-season tackle totals by Titans safeties, 1990–present (from coaches’ statistics):

153 – Michael Griffin – 2010
134 – Bernard Pollard – 2013 (1 game remaining)
133 – Chris Hope – 2010
128 – Chris Hope – 2006
117 – Jordan Babineaux – 2011
116 – Blaine Bishop – 1998
115 – Blaine Bishop – 1999
112 – Blaine Bishop – 1994
111 – Marcus Robertson – 1994
109 – Blaine Bishop – 1996


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Chris Johnson Goes for Six Consecutive 1,000-Yard Seasons

Posted by Gary Glenn on December 26, 2013 – 3:06 pm

_DSC4453Titans running back Chris Johnson has rushed for 950 yards through the first 15 games of 2013. With 50 more rushing yards, he will reach the 1,000-yard mark for the sixth consecutive season—every season since entering the NFL in 2008.

Johnson’s streak would tie him for fifth place in NFL history to begin a career. The only previous players to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of their first six seasons are Barry Sanders (10 seasons), Curtis Martin (10), LaDainian Tomlinson (eight), Eric Dickerson (seven) and Corey Dillon (six).

Most consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons to begin a career, NFL history:

10 – Barry Sanders (1989-98)
10 – Curtis Martin (1995-04)
8 – LaDainian Tomlinson (2001-08)
7 – Eric Dickerson (1983-89)
6 – Corey Dillon (1997-02)
5 – Chris Johnson (2008-12) – active, needs 50 more rushing yards
5 – Eddie George (1996-00)
5 – Tony Dorsett (1977-81)


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Chris Johnson Approaches 8,000 Rushing Yards

Posted by Gary Glenn on December 26, 2013 – 3:04 pm

_DSC2162Chris Johnson could reach another rare career milestone this weekend, but he will need one of his best career performances to do so.

Johnson currently sits at 7,838 career rushing yards. With 162 rushing yards in the finale against the Texans, he would become the eighth player in NFL history to reach the 8,000-yard rushing mark within his first six seasons. The only players to previously accomplish the feat are Eric Dickerson (9,915 yards from 1983-88), LaDainian Tomlinson (9,176 from 2001-06), Emmitt Smith (8,956 from 1990-95), Adrian Peterson (8,849 from 2007-12), Barry Sanders (8,672 from 1989-94), Walter Payton (8,386 from 1975-80) and Earl Campbell (8,296 from 1978-83).

Johnson has rushed for 162 yards in a game five times in his career. His high this season is 150 rushing yards at St. Louis on Nov. 3.

Most rushing yards in a player’s first six seasons, NFL history:

9,915 – Eric Dickerson (1983-88)
9,176 – LaDainian Tomlinson (2001-06)
8,956 – Emmitt Smith (1990-95)
8,849 – Adrian Peterson (2007-12)
8,672 – Barry Sanders (1989-94)
8,386 – Walter Payton (1975-80)
8,296 – Earl Campbell (1978-83)
7,838 – Chris Johnson (2008-13) active

In franchise history, Johnson currently owns the second-best rushing total for a player’s first six seasons. Last week he passed Eddie George, who rushed for 7,813 yards for the team in his first six years (1996-01). Campbell ranks first on the team’s list.

Most rushing yards in a player’s first six seasons, franchise history:

8,296 – Earl Campbell (1978-83)
7,838 – Chris Johnson (2008-13) active
7,813 – Eddie George (1996-01)


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First Look: Titans vs. Texans

Posted by Craig Peters on December 24, 2013 – 1:37 am

The Titans (6-9) host the Texans (2-13) on Dec. 29 at LP Field in the regular season finale. Here’s a first glance at the matchup:

Recent action

Tennessee defeated Jacksonville 20-16 on the road last week to record its sixth win of the season and match its total from 2012. The Titans got 91 rushing yards and a touchdown from Shonn Greene, 90 rushing yards from Chris Johnson and six catches for 117 yards and the game-winning score from Nate Washington. Tennessee’s defense held Jacksonville to 85 net yards and three points in the second half to allow the team to rally from a 10-point deficit in the game’s final 24 minutes. Houston fell 37-13 (after trailing 16-13 in the third quarter) in its home finale to Denver. Injuries to Arian Foster and Ben Tate have hurt the Texans’ offense, but the defense is still solid.

Team stat comparisons

Shonn Greene rushed 19 times for 91 yards and a touchdown at Jacksonville.

Shonn Greene rushed 19 times for 91 yards and a touchdown at Jacksonville.

Tennessee’s Offensive Rankings:
Yards/Game: 19th (338.6)
Rushing Yards/Game: 15th (116.2)
Passing Yards/Game: 21st (222.4)
Turnover Ratio: Minus-3 (tied for 18th in NFL)

Houston’s Defensive Rankings:
Yards/Game: 7th (318.0)
Rushing Yards/Game: 24th (120.5)
Passing Yards/Game: 3rd (197.5)
Points Allowed/Game: 26th (27.5)

Tennessee’s Defensive Rankings:
Yards/Game: 15th (341.3)
Rushing Yards/Game: 20th (115.3)
Passing Yards/Game: 10th (225.9)
Points Allowed/Game: 19th (24.7)

Houston’s Offensive Rankings:
Yards/Game: 11th (351.2)
Rushing Yards/Game: 19th (111.9)
Passing Yards/Game: 16th (239.3)
Turnover Ratio: Minus-17 (tied for 31st in NFL)

Series history

The Titans lead 14-9, despite dropping the past three meetings, four of the past six and five of the past eight.

The previous meeting

Houston was able to rally for a 30-24 overtime victory in Week 2 with a touchdown run by Foster, who added a two-point conversion late in regulation, and a TD pass from Matt Schaub to DeAndre Hopkins in overtime.

The Titans took a 24-16 lead with 3:07 remaining in the game after Alterraun Verner returned an interception of Matt Schaub 23 yards for a touchdown. Verner’s “pick 6” followed a nine-play, 99-yard touchdown drive that was capped with a 10-yard pass from Jake Locker to Delanie Walker for a 17-16 lead with 6:37 left in the fourth quarter. Locker also threw a touchdown to Kendall Wright in the first quarter.

Outlook

The Titans are trying to record their second straight win for the second time this season and snap a five-game losing streak at home. Tennessee was pleased with the rushing attack that outgained Jacksonville 182-63 Sunday and wouldn’t mind having another game with nearly a 2:1 run:pass ratio. The Texans have lost 13 in a row but eight of those have been decided by seven points or less. A preseason pick for the Super Bowl by many, Houston is now in contention for the top overall pick in the draft that is awarded to the team with the worst record.

The turnover ratio has loomed the largest for both teams this season. Tennessee is 6-2 when it has a turnover ratio of even or better and 0-7 when it doesn’t. The Texans, meanwhile, are minus-17 in turnover ratio, undermining a defense that ranks seventh in yards allowed, third in passing yards allowed and seventh in opponents’ third down conversion percentage (35.0).


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Titans Opponents for 2014 Almost Set

Posted by Craig Peters on December 24, 2013 – 1:15 am

The Titans’ opponents for 2014 are almost set, with one game left to determine the final team that will visit Nashville next season.

Assuming no changes occur in the way the NFL’s scheduling procedures are determined, Tennessee’s second-place finish in the AFC South (guaranteed by Sunday’s win in Jacksonville) means the Titans should host divisional foes Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Houston, as well as Pittsburgh and Cleveland from the AFC North and Dallas and the New York Giants from NFC East.

The one remaining opponent to visit LP Field should be the team that wins the game between the New York Jets (7-8) and Miami Dolphins (8-7), which will determine who finishes second in the AFC East. That game could also impact the draft order for Tennessee.

The Titans are scheduled to visit Baltimore and Cincinnati from the AFC North, Kansas City from the AFC West, Washington and Philadelphia from the NFC East, and make their annual trips to face divisional foes.


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Titans Turn to Ground Game for TD

Posted by Craig Peters on December 22, 2013 – 2:19 pm

A short touchdown by Shonn Greene has brought the Titans within three points at 16-13 with 4:01 left in the third quarter.

After opening the possession with three straight throws, including a 15-yard completion from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Nate Washington on third-and-3, the Titans ran the ball eight straight plays.

Chris Johnson had runs of 4, 8 and 9 to move the ball to the Jacksonville 46-yard line. Tennessee then brought in Shonn Greene, who gained 3 before busting lose for a 29-yarder, the team’s longest run of the day. Greene took the next three carries for 2, 2 and the 1-yard score. Greene broke tackles by Paul Posluszny and Johnathan Cyprien.


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