Titans earn well-deserved respect in 31-21 win over Indy

The Tennessee Titans came up big when their best efforts were needed the most in their 31-21 primetime victory over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

Faced with a 14-6 third quarter deficit, the Titans dominated the rest of the contest to seal their NFL-leading seventh win.

My thoughts on tonight’s statement victory, after the jump.

 

Game balls

Kerry Collins continues to prove the doubters wrong.

While he has become adept at playing the role of game manager, tonight presented the rare opportunity for Collins to play a key role in the outcome of the game via his passing arm.

Collins failed to disappoint as he led the Titans downfield on crucial scoring drives late in the game. On a night where the Colts consistently defended the Titans with 8 men in the box, Collins compensated for the running game’s struggles with a solid night throwing the football.

Prior to tonight’s contest, many believed that the Titans were winning games in spite of Kerry Collins. Against the Colts, the Titans emerged victorious because of the stellar play of their veteran signal-caller.

On defense, my game ball goes to veteran safety Chris Hope. He played well tonight, as evidenced by his two interceptions.

Entering the season, there were question marks surrounding his health as a result of last year’s gruesome neck injury. Those fears have been alleviated due to his solid play thus far.  

Thankfully for the Titans’ defense, Hope is very much alive and well in 2008.

As for special teams, Rob Bironas gets my vote. Despite missing his first field goal of the season, Rob connected on three of his four field goal tries. While the offense struggled in the first half, Rob’s kicks kept the team in the game.

Other observations 

The absence of Kyle Vanden Bosch was very noticeable. Youngsters Jacob Ford and William Hayes showed some positive signs filling in for KVB but to say that the defense missed the presence of their energizer bunny is an understatement.

While Manning didn’t pick apart the Titan defense, he had plenty of time to deliver his passes. A healthy Vanden Bosch is crucial to the success Titans’ defensive unit, so here’s to hoping that we’ll see him back in the lineup pretty soon.

On offense, it was nice to see Brandon Jones step up with some big catches. BJ has taken advantage of some additional playing time as a result of recent injuries to the rest of the WR group.

In his first action since Week 4, Justin Gage had a rough night. He only snagged one pass for a measly six yards while dropping a couple of other potential grabs.

At this point in the season, the usually inconsistent Brandon Jones has surpassed Gage as the team’s most reliable wideout.

Final thoughts

1. This is for the fantasy football guys: Chris Johnson owners have to be depressed by LenDale White’s knack for stealing rushing touchdowns.

For those who aren’t keeping score: LenDale has a 10-4 edge over CJ in the TD category.

2. What a great effort by Lavelle Hawkins to stay inbounds on his only reception. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see more of “The Hawk” in the coming weeks.

3. Craig Hentrich is equivalent to a fine wine: he just gets better with age. On the night, the 37-year-old averaged 51.5 yards per punt on two attempts. In the 2nd quarter, Hentrich boomed a 74-yarder that pinned the Colts at their own six-yard line.  

4. The Titans are red-hot in the red zone. Entering the game as the league’s most efficient red zone offense, Tennessee scored touchdowns on three of their four red zone attempts against the Colts.  

5. At 7-0, the Titans are the only winning team in the AFC South.

How sweet it is!

What are your thoughts on tonight’s huge Titan victory?   

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