Collins and the Titans come up short against the Bucs

Playing in a hostile environment against a co-division leading team while also losing the services of their star quarterback for a significant portion of the contest, Kerry Collins and the resilient Tennessee Titans came up a bit short down the stretch in yesterday’s 13-10 defeat to Tampa Bay.
In relief of an injured Vince Young, Kerry Collins performed adequately, completing 10 of 20 passes for 125 yards and no interceptions (thanks to Jeff Fisher’s challenge) while leading the team to a game-tying score with barely over a minute to play. At this point in his career, that’s what you expect from a veteran quarterback such as Collins: in an emergency situation, it is his job to effectively manage the game and to avoid the turnover bug.
However, it was the play of the opposing team’s veteran quarterback that provided the proverbial dagger to the heart of the Titans’ chances of winning this contest. Jeff Garcia continued his efficient play this season by throwing for 274 yards and with a little over a minute remaining, he impeccably led his team on a drive that culminated with a Matt Bryant 43 yard game-winning field goal. The Titans failed to sack Garcia on Sunday and also allowed him to connect with speedster Joey Galloway on a 69 yard touchdown that gave Tampa Bay a 10-3 lead in the third quarter.
The Titans’ efforts were not helped by the team’s running game, which failed to produce a 100 yard performance against a Tampa Bay defense that had previously allowed three runners to reach/surpass the century mark.  The Titans ran the ball 33 times for 96 yards, averaging a dismal 2.9 yards per carry. LenDale White was the team’s leading rusher with 64 yards and also scored the team’s game-tying touchdown, but was mostly ineffective while rushing for a paltry 2.6 yard average. Chris Brown was effective when he carried the football, averaging over 5 yards per carry but was only given the rock 5 times during his 26 yard rushing performance. 
The rest of this week will reveal the severity of Vince Young’s strained quad and whether or not he will miss any time due to the injury. Kerry Collins will get the nod as the team’s starting qb if Young is unavailable for next week’s pivotal AFC South match-up with the Houston Texans. If the veteran Collins is pressed into action, Jeff Fisher and the Titans can only hope that he performs as adequately as he did against the Bucs.

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