Reeling Redskins a threat to Titans
Posted: Friday, November 19, 2010 5:55 pm
By: By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — Jeff Fisher gave his Tennessee Titans a little history lesson on how teams bounce back from an ugly loss to prepare them for the Washington Redskins.
Really, the coach only needed to remind his Titans of what they did themselves a year ago.
His Titans responded to a 59-0 loss in New England by reeling off five straight wins, and that first game was a 30-13 rout of their own. So the Titans plan to be careful, and ready, when the Redskins visit Sunday fresh off an ugly 59-28 loss to Philadelphia last Monday night.
“They just had one of those nights, and we’ve all been through that,” Fisher said.
How the Redskins respond remains to be seen. Donovan McNabb’s advice has been to forget it and move on.
Linebacker Brian Orakpo said the best part is that loss only counts once.
“I feel like this is something we can recover from, something we can rebound from, and learn from, a game like this, and come out there ready to hit somebody else in the mouth,” Orakpo said.
The Redskins (4-5) have lost three of four and need a win to keep playoff hopes alive. This also is Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth’s first game against the team that drafted him but chose not to overpay when he hit free agency last year, and he wants more than a win.
“Show ’em that they miss me,” Haynesworth said.
His former teammates know how unpredictable the athletic tackle can be and how much havoc he can wreak.
“He can embarrass a guy whenever he wants,” Titans center Eugene Amano said. “You’ve just got to be prepared to face his A game because you never know what he’s going to do.”
In Tennessee (5-4), Vince Young’s toughness has been a hot topic after a sprained left ankle kept him from starting last week’s 29-17 loss to Miami, especially when he played the second half when backup Kerry Collins strained his left calf.
Young is healthy enough that he isn’t on the injury report this week.
Collins won’t play, leaving rookie Rusty Smith as the backup for a team whose quarterback has finished what he started just once in the past four games.
This also will be Randy Moss’ home debut for Tennessee after being claimed off waivers Nov. 3. Moss was thrown to only four times in Miami with one catch. Young said it’s just a matter of getting on the same page with Moss for a team that already ranks second in the NFL averaging 28.7 points per game.
“He’s a smart guy and a lot of us love how he approaches everybody and asks questions,” Young said. “For his age, I don’t know how many years he’s been in, he’s this Hall of Fame receiver, you wouldn’t expect this guy to be so tuned in and very focused and trying to find out what’s going on.”
The Titans can sweep the NFC East and extend a 12-game winning streak over the NFC. They also want to snap a two-game skid that turned their one-game lead in the AFC South to a one-game deficit behind the Colts.
“We need to keep pace with Indy,” Titans right guard Jake Scott said. “They got one ahead of us last week, and we need to hopefully get that back. That’s what we can do. We can’t afford to go two games back of anybody.”
Both teams come in with problems.
McNabb has been completing some nice passes. Eight have gone at least 50 yards. But the Redskins are last in the NFL converting third downs with only 24 all season compared to 46 by the Titans, who are struggling to extend drives themselves. Tennessee is next to last in time of possession, holding the ball just 26 minutes, 55 seconds.
That loss to Philadelphia dropped the Redskins’ defense to last in the NFL, giving up 415.3 yards per game. Against the pass, they’re 31st, allowing 286.6 yards per game, and cornerback Carlos Rodgers could miss this game with a hamstring injury. Call it growing pains in coordinator Jim Haslett’s new 3-4 system.
“At this point in time, we should be a lot further along,” Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said. “The other night, I think we got hit so fast, we never really settled down.”
Young is the AFC’s fifth-highest rated passer for a team 31st in passing with 180.6 yards per game. Mixing Moss more into the offense could help the Titans throw deep, and like Michael Vick, Young always is a threat to take off himself.
“We have to completely change our game plan from what we did last week against Michael Vick and revamp it and make sure we’re better at playing (against) these running quarterbacks,” Orakpo said.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan isn’t going to overlook Chris Johnson, who is averaging 104.1 yards rushing per game against the NFC and is coming off 117-yard rushing performance against Miami.
“He’s got the big-play potential every time he touches the ball,” Shanahan said.
Johnson insists he isn’t looking at the Redskins’ rankings.
“It’s all about how they come to play,” Johnson said.
AP Sports Writer Joseph White in Ashburn, Va., contributed to this report.