Destination Playoffs: Titans defeat Colts 16-10

Despite costly fumbles at inopportune times and an injury to star quarterback Vince Young, the resilient Titans (10-6) were able to emerge victorious and claim the AFC’s final playoff spot in their 16-10 win over the Colts (13-3).

Chris Brown’s fumble deep in the red zone during the first half prevented the Titans from expanding upon a 7-3 lead.  LenDale White’s miscue led to a Colts touchdown that provided Indianapolis with a 10-7 lead early in the third quarter.
To make matters worse, Vince Young pulled up lame after a scramble and had to eventually leave the game with an apparent quad injury. Before leaving the game, Young had performed adequately, completing 14 of his 18 passing attempts for 157 yards and avoiding the interceptions that have been a constant pain in the rear during the 2007 campaign.
Thankfully, Kerry Collins was able to come to the rescue. Collins’ 13 years of experience as an NFL signal-caller paid dividends tonight as he injected the Titans with a dose of savvy and poise that one would expect from a wily veteran. Collins completed 10 of his 13 passes for 106 yards and joined the Redskins’ Todd as the second backup quarterback named Collins to lead his team to a playoff berth on Sunday.
Pro Bowler Rob Bironas was also a key ingredient in the Titans’ winning recipe Sunday night. Bironas came through when his team needed him the most as he connected on three second half field goals, including a booming 54-yarder that provided the Titans with a 13-10 lead midway through the 4th quarter. Bironas has been an exceptional performer on a consistent basis this season, and it is only fitting that his kicking would play a pivotal role in the team’s clinching of a playoff birth.
In addition to solid play on the offensive side of the football and on special teams, the Titans also received a noble effort from the defense. Tennessee did a good job of containing Peyton Manning during his limited time in the ballgame. Manning completed 14 out of his 16 passes but none of the completions were of the game-changing variety. Reggie Wayne tallied 12 catches but was only able to attain 87 yards. Defensively, the Titans did an effective job of containing a predominantly one-dimensional Colts offense that only attempted 10 running plays on the entire night.
As a result of tonight’s victory, the Titans have advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2003. Awaiting the Titans in the playoffs will be a familiar foe: the San Diego Chargers. As we all know, the Chargers defeated the Titans 23-17 in an overtime classic that at the time, appeared to serve as a dagger in the Titans’ hopes of qualifying for the postseason.
The Titans were able to overcome the devastating Charger loss by winning their last three games, including tonight’s satisfying victory over the hated Colts.
Congratulations to Jeff Fisher and the 2007 Tennessee Titans for clinching a playoff berth.

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