|’72 ’Phins still safe following after Jets’ rout of Titans |
|Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2008 10:19 am |
|NASHVILLE — All good things must come to an end. |
The Tennessee Titans’ status as the NFL’s only unbeaten team did just that Sunday after they were beaten convincingly by the New York Jets 34-13 at LP Field.
The loss actually broke a 13-game regular season winning streak for the Titans, who went 10-0 to start this year before Sunday’s loss. The 1972 Miami Dolphins remain the last pro team to go an entire season without losing, posting a 17-0 mark that season en route to winning Super Bowl VII against the Washington Redskins.
New York ensured that it’ll be at least another year before the Dolphins’ rank is seriously threatened as it thoroughly dominated Tennessee in all facets of the contest.
And the Jets took a page from the Titans’ playbook in doing so.
Controlling both sides of the line of scrimmage and keeping the ball twice as long as Tennessee with a methodical balanced offense, NY was both efficient and impressive in winning its fifth straight and eighth overall in 11 games.
Future Hall of Famer Brett Favre — acquired by the Jets in the offseason in a messy divorce from the Green Bay Packers — directed a steady attack, throwing for 224 yards and two touchdowns on 25-of-32 passing.
Running backs Thomas Jones ran for 96 yards and Leon Washington rushed for 82 more and two TDs for a Jet offense that kept the ball for over 40 minutes and outgained the Titans 409-281.
Tennessee, meanwhile, which had become just the 11th team since 1970 to win its first 10 games, will have little time to recover from its initial setback as it will play at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day Thursday.
“The challenge for our team is to put this behind us the best we can — as quickly as possible,” Titans’ head coach Jeff Fisher said afterward. “I just told the club, ‘Put it in perspective.’ We know what happened. It was our doing. Congratulations to them. Tomorrow is (essentially) Thursday (preparation-wise) and we’ve got to come back ready to work.”
Favre was in rhythm from the get-go for the Jets, who now have the second-best record in the AFC — two games behind the Titans.
The three-time league MVP completed his first eight passes — six of those in his team’s first series nine-play, 76-yard scoring drive that ended with a 10-yard screen pass to Jones that went for a TD.
It was 10-0 late in the first half when Jay Feely booted the first of his two field goals, a 20-yarder that culminated a 13-play sequence that ate up 71⁄2 minutes.
The Titans, meanwhile, could get little going offensively in the first half until a 43-yard field goal by Rob Bironas in the final minute that closed the halftime gap to 10-3. Tennessee wasted a couple of takeaways — a Courtland Finnegan interception of Favre and a fumble recovery by Kevin Vickerson — but had five dropped passes while managing just 88 total yards over the first two quarters.
New York opened the second half with another long, time-consuming march, this one a 13-play, 66-yard drive that lasted nearly seven minutes and was culminated by Feely’s 30-yard field goal that made it 13-3.
And the Jets immediately got the ball back when rookie Chris Johnson fumbled on the first play from scrimmage following the ensuing kickoff with Bryan Thomas recovering for NY at the Titan 35.
Eight plays later, Favre threw a two-yard dart to Laveranues Coles for a touchdown and a 20-3 New York lead.
Tennessee finally showed some offensive life in the fourth quarter, though it was too little, too late and countered by two more Jet TDs.
Bironas booted a 49-yard field goal, but a 61-yard scoring gallop by Washington and his second touchdown run — a four-yarder with just over two minutes to play, sandwiched a six-yard TD pass from Kerry Collins to Ahmard Hall at the 9:43 mark that accounted for the Titans’ lone six-pointer.
“Today was a case where we made too many mistakes and they made too many plays for us to win the ballgame,” Fisher continued.
“And any time you allow Brett Favre to stay under center for 40 minutes, it’s going to be a long day defensively. That’s basically the bottom line as far as this game is concerned.”
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.