Kerry Collins’ retirement isn’t entirely unexpected, though the timing of it is. The 38-year old Collins would have been entering his 17th NFL season with the most likely scenario being re-signed by the Titans as a caretaker until first-round draft pick Jake Locker was ready to start.
Five years ago, Collins was signed to be the caretaker until first-round draft pick Vince Young was ready. It was midway through training camp that Jeff Fisher decided Billy Volek was no longer the caretaker he wanted and Collins was the best option still available at that late date.
Who thought, back in 2006, that Collins would last as many seasons as Young and start 32 games in the process?
When the Titans announced in January that Young was no longer in their plans, I wrote this article on Vince’s top ten games. It’s now time to do the same for Collins’ top ten games as a Titan.
1. Titans 21, Bears 14, 2008
This was reminiscent of the Ratbirds game earlier in the season. The Bears were determined to stop the Titans’ rushing game, and they did, holding Tennessee to 20 yards on the ground. That opened things up for Collins, though, and he made the Bears pay for it.
Stat line: 30/41, 289 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 108.7 passer rating
2. Titans 24, Jaguars 14, 2008
Down 14-3 at the half, Collins threw touchdown passes on the Titans’ first two possessions of the second half. He passed for another touchdown in the fourth quarter to clinch the game, giving him three second-half TDs, two of them to Justin Gage, who also had a career-high 147 yards receiving.
Stat line: 13/23, 230 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 112.3 rating
3. Colts 30, Titans 28, 2010
Collins’ three touchdown passes, including two in the fourth quarter, weren’t quite enough for the Titans to outscore the visiting Colts in a Thursday night matchup.
Stat line: 28/39, 244 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 113.6 rating
4. Titans 37, Eagles 19, 2010
Injuries to Vince Young gave Collins his first start of the season on a windy Nashville afternoon. Kenny Britt had an outstanding game, catching three touchdown passes from Collins, who directed the Titans to 27 unanswered fourth-quarter points over the visiting Eagles.
Stat line: 17/31, 276 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 90.3 rating
5. Titans 31, Texans 17, 2010
Three weeks after the Texans shut out the Rusty Smith-led Titans, Collins threw for touchdowns on Tennessee’s first two possessions and the Titans cruised the rest of the way. Not a great game for Collins, and one of the TDs was set up by a fluke play, but it was another solid, workmanlike performance.
Stat line: 14/24, 237 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 102.3 rating
6. Titans 38, Texans 36, 2007
In his only start of the season, Collins amassed 280 yards passing, enough to get Rob Bironas in range for a record 8 field goals. Collins’ biggest play was a late 46-yard completion to Roydell Williams, which set up Bironas’ game-winning FG as time expired. This game would have ranked higher if Collins had thrown a touchdown pass or two.
Stat line: 25/42, 280 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 79.5 rating
7. Colts 23, Titans 20, 2010
In his final NFL game, Collins kept the Titans close throughout. He had to, as Chris Johnson was held to just 39 yards rushing. Unfortunately, a Collins fumble set up the Colts winning field goal at the end. It was Collins’ only 300-yard game as a Tennessee Titan.
Stat line: 28/39, 300 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 111.1 rating
8. Titans 31, Steelers 14, 2008
Tennessee locked up the top seed and home field advantage for the playoffs by beating the #2 seed Steelers. The Titans were the only team to gain over 300 yards on Pittsburgh in the 2008 regular season, with 215 yards passing from Collins. It was another effective performance as a game manager.
Stat line: 20/29, 215 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 101.9 rating
9. Texans 34, Titans 31, 2009
Collins threw for two TDs, including one to Chris Johnson, who also rushed for two more and had 284 yards from scrimmage. The Titans built an early 21-7 lead behind Collins and CJ but the defense couldn’t hold it. The Texans scored 17 unanswered points as Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub also had huge days.
Stat line: 21/33, 216 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 90.0 rating
10. Titans 13, Ratbirds 10, 2008
The Titans struggled on offense all day and this was not a good game by Collins stat-wise, but it makes my list of his top ten games because of the end result. Collins led the Titans on a late 80-yard drive and hit Alge Crumpler for the game-winning TD. It’s always sweet to beat the Ratbirds and it was nice to see Collins and Crumpler burn Ray Lewis for the winning score.
Stat line: 17/32, 163 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 52.0 rating
When fans remember the positive things Collins did for the Titans, his 2008 season must surely be at the top of the list. Starting 15 games, Collins led the Titans to a 13-3 record, the best in the league. Collins was named to the Pro Bowl and tied for second in the voting for Comeback Player of the Year.
Four of his top ten games were from the 2008 season. There were also four from 2010, his final season, though two of them were close losses to the Colts.