One week after vowing to finish the next opportunity, the Titans did in dramatic fashion, seizing their only lead against the Chargers with a 94-yard drive that was concluded with a 34-yard pass from Jake Locker to Justin Hunter.
The rookie receiver’s first catch in the pros resulted from Tennessee’s determination to overcome early penalties, keep the game within reach and convert several other plays down the stretch.
Nate Washington, who led the team with a career-high 131 receiving yards on eight catches, said the final drive summarized the teamwork the Titans have been building since returning players convened with free agents and rookies at Saint Thomas Sports Park this spring.
“It’s on everyone. Not one person can do it by themselves,” Washington said. “This game is about being together, and we had to make sure on that drive, we did everything together. From the offensive line, to the running backs, to the quarterback and the tight ends, and us, the receivers. So we just made sure we did it together and everyone made their plays.”
Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said he liked the way Tennessee made sure it “finished every play” against San Diego.
“The biggest thing in football is who is going to work the hardest, who is going to compete until that last play,” Casey said. “When you’ve got a team that’s going to do that, a lot of things can work in your favor, and we got the ball back for our offense to go down in that two-minute drive. (San Diego) almost had that pick, and when the offense still had it, they believed they could go down there and score. Justin Hunter fought for it and came up with it.”
Safeties Michael Griffin and Bernard Pollard said the win was the best way to remove the bad taste in players’ mouths from the overtime loss at Houston in Week 2. Griffin said the 24-hour rule should apply this week pertaining to how long the Titans should enjoy the victory like it applied to lamenting a loss last week.
Griffin and Pollard also talked about the importance of having a faster start. Sunday marked the third time an opponent has had the first lead of the game and second in a row in which the opponent scored a touchdown on its opening possession.
“Love this one, enjoy it (Sunday night), but (Monday) wake up, watch the film and correct our mistakes. The thing that’s obvious is we’ve got to start off quicker.”
Tennessee is in a three-way tie in the AFC South with Houston and Indianapolis at 2-1. There are 10 teams in the AFC and only five teams with that record or better in the NFC.
Pollard said the Titans will continue to embrace the underdog role that many outside the locker room have attached to the team.
“I like that we don’t have respect. I like that no one wants to give it,” Pollard said. “Our team has to continue to fight because it’s one of those things, I keep saying like I said, but it’s hard because we’re playing our tails off, and we might not get the call, we might get fined for this, we might get fined for that, but we’re not going to change who we are. We are a fighting defense. Our job is to hunt, and people take us lightly, so we stepped up. We’ve got to stop the penalties, the mistakes at the beginning of the game that’s costing us seven points, field position and everything else. I think once we do that, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
Tags: Bernard Pollard, Jake Locker, Jurrell Casey, Justin Hunter, Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans
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