Show taking to road for flawless Titans
Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2008 5:28 pm
By: By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans now get to see how their undefeated record plays on the road.
Off to an 8-0 start for the first time in franchise history, the Titans hit the road for five of their final eight games, starting Sunday with a trip to Chicago. Then they are at Jacksonville, a two-game stretch that is their longest away from home this season. Tennessee pops back home to host the New York Jets on Nov. 23, followed by a visit to Detroit on Thanksgiving.
And the Titans understand that the road only gets tougher as long as they remain the NFL’s last unbeaten team.
“We realize each and every week from here on out, we’re going to get each team’s best shot,” linebacker David Thornton said Monday. “Clearly, the Packers gave us a big punch. We felt it, but we survived it and we realize the Bears are going to do the same thing.”
The Titans needed overtime before downing Green Bay 19-16 on Sunday six days after routing Indianapolis, but they have taken strong advantage of a schedule keeping them at home for five games so far. The New York Giants (7-1) and Carolina Panthers (6-2) are the NFL’s only other teams to go 5-0 at home this season.
Tennessee had consecutive road games in October, but a bye week broke up the trips to Baltimore and Kansas City.
Coach Jeff Fisher said his Titans are comfortable away from home.
“They understand how to play on the road and how to take a professional approach. I’m not concerned about it. Obviously, five out of our next eight are on the road, so we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us from that standpoint, and it’ll be a couple weeks before we come back. But we’re going to play two good teams, starting with this one in Chicago,” he said.
Under Fisher, the Titans have been very good on the road. Only the New England Patriots (63-44) are better on the road since 1995. Tennessee is tied with Indianapolis and Green Bay with a 58-49 record for second in that time.
Fisher is 47-2 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter, trailing only Vince Lombardi who was 38-1-1.
This team has won five straight on the road as part of an NFL-best 11-game winning streak in the regular season, which matches the franchise record set by the 1993 Houston Oilers.
Fisher was drafted out of college by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round in 1981, and he played 49 games for the team as a defensive back and returner until an ankle injury ended his career in 1985 — when he earned a Super Bowl ring.
He was in his first full year as coach of the then-Oilers in 1995 the last time he coached a regular-season game in Chicago, a 35-32 loss.
“It’ll just be another game for us,” Fisher said.
That doesn’t mean the Titans are satisfied. They gave up a season-high 390 yards to the Packers, 57 more than they had allowed in any game this season. Six Packers had plays gaining 12 or more yards, with Donald Driver breaking loose for a 44-yarder and Greg Jennings going for 52.
“I don’t think we tackled as well as we’re capable of tackling, and offensively we had some opportunities that we missed,” Fisher said. “That implies opportunities in the run game as well as in the passing game. But when we needed to make the plays, we made them. When we needed the plays to be made on special teams, we made them.”
The Titans went three-and-out four times and settled for field goals despite reaching the Green Bay 13 three times.
So they celebrated their latest win, but Thornton said they can’t wait to get back to work.
“We gave up a lot of yards, and we don’t want to be that kind of defense. There’s a sense of urgency for us to improve,” he said.