It was about the game you thought it would be at the O.Co Coliseum-rarely pretty to watch, with too many field goals for comfort, but in the end the Tennessee Titans came away with the win over the Oakland Raiders they needed to stay in the playoff race. It was a close-run thing, with the winning score coming from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Kendall Wright with just :10 to play after the Titans lost their lead earlier in the fourth quarter, but it was enough.
The best thing the Titans had going today was Fitzpatrick to Wright and Justin Hunter, both of whom finished over 100 yards receiving. Hunter even caught every ball thrown his way on six targets, a big surprise to me considering his abysmal catch rate entering the game. His big play was a 54-yard score with a good deal of YAC thanks to some utterly shambolic defending by Raiders safety Brandian Ross.
The pass rush was a disappointment today-Matt McGloin was neither hit nor sacked and Jurrell Casey didn't come close to having the game I thought he might with only one assisted tackle. Still, the Raiders kept stalling out in scoring territory, with six field goal attempts to go with their one touchdown, when Marcel Reece got ahead of Zach Brown in coverage.
As far as Life on the Margins goes, the first place to point is those two missed field goals by Janikowski. The one late in the first half, which came after a blocked Brett Kern punt and would have given the Raiders a 12-6 halftime lead, seemed to loom especially large. Even though they turned only managed to turn it into a field goal, Brown's interception of McGloin that gave the Titans the ball at the Oakland 11 was the game's only turnover before the final lateral-fest and helped make the difference in the game.
Bottom line: If the Titans want to make the playoffs they need to win their four very winnable games and hopefully steal at least one of the less likely games. They managed one of those winnable ones today, so next week comes one of the tougher tests, in Indianapolis against a Colts team that once again will be coming off a big loss against an NFC West team.