Defense dictates another Titans’ victory
Posted: Monday, September 29, 2008 5:12 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Titan defense has allowed fewer than 20 points in each of its first four games for the first time in franchise history.
Still, the season-high 17 it gave up to Minnesota was considered one or two too many.
“I’ve played on two teams and both have had pretty much the same goal — keep (the opponent) under 15 or 16 points, and then you have a chance to win,” safety Chris Hope said.
Jacksonville, Cincinnati and Houston all had their lowest-scoring games thus far against Tennessee.
Minnesota was two off its fewest number of points.
“We’d like to keep it a lot lower than (17),” defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth said. “We say under 16 points. We want to keep them more in that (range). But whatever gets us a win, we’ll take it.”
TWICE IS NICE: Rookie running back Chris Johnson was held to a season-low 61 yards on 17 carries. He did, however, score the first two rushing touchdowns of his career.
The first-round draft pick gave Tennessee a 10-0 lead with a one-yard run with 4:05 to play in the first quarter and capped the scoring with a six-yard run with 3:40 remaining.
“At practice early in the week, (running backs) coach (Earnest) Byner said we were putting in some plays so that I would get an opportunity once we got down there,” Johnson said. “It just feels good to get the opportunity and show that I can handle it down there.”
GETTING HIT: Wide receiver Justin Gage fought for every inch of the two yards he got when the Titans went for it on 4th-and-2 from the Minnesota 3-yard-line late in the first half.
Numerous members of the Vikings defense hit him before he finally was stopped and taken down.
“I counted 23 (hits),” Gage joked. “I knew I had the first down, I was fighting to get to the end zone.”
White scored on the next play.
EXTRA POINTS: The Titans have scored 30 or more points in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 13 and 19, 2004. That was under current offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, who left after that season and rejoined the team for this one. … Haynesworth had two sacks and raised his season total to five, one short of his career-high set in 2007. … Gage had 92 receiving yards on five catches. He had 84 yards on seven receptions in the first three games combined. … Coach Jeff Fisher rewarded the players by giving them today off. Its the first time this season he has done so, but the move comes after he got his first victory over the Vikings in five tries. … The Titans have led at the half of all four games.