Titans put up wrong ‘fight’ vs. Texans
Posted: Monday, November 29, 2010 4:50 pm
By: By KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — Andre Johnson and the Houston Texans easily handled the Tennessee Titans. It’s the potential consequences of his fight with Cortland Finnegan that have Johnson and his Houston teammates worried.
After the Texans beat the Titans 20-0 on Sunday, Johnson was concerned that his on-field brawl with Finnegan could keep him out of Houston’s game Thursday night in Philadelphia.
“I wish that I could take back what happened but I can’t,” Johnson said. “It’s over and done with now. I’m pretty sure I’ll be disciplined for it. When that time comes and I find out what it is, I’ll have to deal with it from there.”
Finnegan set off the fourth-quarter fistfight by pushing up Johnson’s face mask at the line of scrimmage. Johnson ripped off Finnegan’s helmet and landed at least two punches to Finnegan’s head and neck. Finnegan tore off Johnson’s helmet before players and referees intervened.
The game was halted for more than five minutes as officials sorted out the chaos. Johnson received a standing ovation as security guards escorted him off the field and the crowd chanted his name long after he’d left. Finnegan taunted booing fans as he exited out the opposite tunnel.
Johnson, who had a touchdown Sunday, is almost certain to be fined for the incident, but it is unclear if he would be suspended. Oakland defensive tackle Richard Seymour was fined $25,000 last week after his ejection for hitting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with an open hand in the jaw, but he was not suspended.
Texans owner Bob McNair doesn’t believe there should be any punishment for Johnson.
“I don’t know why there would be,” he said. “The DB (Finnegan) was all over him and he’s the one that initiated it and he’d been doing it the play before and all game. So he just went a little too far and Andre’s the one that was on camera when the action heated up. That’s not Andre, but sometimes enough is enough, I guess.”
Finnegan did not talk to reporters after the game, but Titans coach Jeff Fisher addressed the fight.
“Cortland said he never took a swing, he just knocked his helmet off,” Fisher said. “I’m a little confused as to why they said they both threw punches. I have to look at it. I don’t know.”
The two got into a milder shoving match on the play before the fight, with Johnson giving Finnegan a shot in the back before Finnegan took off his helmet and walked away.
The incident marred an almost perfect day for the Texans (5-6) who held Chris Johnson to a career-low 5 yards rushing and intercepted rookie quarterback Rusty Smith three times in their first shutout since 2004 and just the second in franchise history.
Before Sunday they hadn’t allowed less than 24 points in a game this season.
Arian Foster ran for 143 yards and had nine receptions for a career-high 75 yards, to help the Texans break a four-game losing streak.
He set a team record with his sixth 100-yard game of the season.
“He’s done that all year against everybody,” Fisher said. “He is hard to tackle. We told them that all week. He’s a hard guy to get down one on one.”
The Texans built a 14-0 halftime lead thanks to Johnson’s touchdown and one by Joel Dreessen in the second quarter. Houston only managed a pair of field goals in the second half, but with Tennessee’s offense sputtering, it was plenty for the win.
The Titans (5-6) didn’t get into Texans territory until a late hit penalty on a punt put them at the Houston 36 with about 13 minutes remaining. They still came up empty when Glover Quin intercepted his second pass of the day just outside of the goal line.
It was a big day for Quin, who set a franchise record with three interceptions. He needed a boost after a tough couple of weeks that included deflecting the ball into the hands of Mike Thomas on a 50-yard desperation pass on the last play of the game to give Jacksonville a 31-24 win.
“That’s great for him to get three interceptions after all the abuse and criticism he’s had,” McNair said. “That’s going to help our defense’s confidence so much. I think you’re going to see them play better.”
The Titans capped off a drama-filled week with their fourth straight loss and were forced to go with Smith this week because Vince Young is out with a thumb injury. Young argued with Fisher after he was taken out of last week’s loss to Washington after he was injured. Young was placed on injured reserve and apologized to Fisher via text message. Young did not join his team for Sunday’s game.
Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger was on the sideline calling plays after he was diagnosed with cancer this week. He’s due to start chemotherapy Monday.
Johnson downplayed the notion that the problems with Young contributed to their poor performance on Sunday.
“I wouldn’t blame it on that,” he said. “That’s just an excuse.”