Conquering Seahawks a blip to Titans’ boss
Posted: Friday, January 1, 2010 4:54 pm
By: By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — Jeff Fisher missed his chance to beat San Diego for the first time. Now the NFL’s longest-tenured coach has a chance to beat the only other team in the league he has yet to conquer.
Just call him winless versus Seattle.
Fisher lost his sixth straight game to San Diego 42-17 on Christmas night. In a scheduling quirk, he takes his Titans (7-8) to Seattle (5-10) for Sunday’s finale having lost each of the five games he’s coached against the Seahawks.
“I wasn’t aware of it until someone brought it up this week,” Fisher said Thursday. “They’re just the next opponent. We’re hoping to go up there and find a way to win it.”
A win puts the Titans at 8-8, giving Fisher at least eight wins in 11 of his 15 full seasons. That also would give Fisher a victory over 30 of the NFL’s 32 teams.
Fisher hasn’t had that many opportunities against the Seahawks. Sunday will be the first time he’s taken his team to Seattle since 1998. Each of Fisher’s losses have been decided by a touchdown or less, four by 11 points total.
“Even before I got here, it was a difficult place to play,” Fisher said. “It was difficult when I was with Philadelphia or San Francisco or the Rams. … They had some good teams. I remember close games, but I don’t remember specifics.”
Fisher was the interim coach of the then-Houston Oilers when Seattle handed them a 16-14 loss Dec. 11, 1994, in the Astrodome.
Then Fisher took his team to Seattle each of the next three seasons. The Seahawks won by a touchdown in 1996 when Michael McCrary blocked Al Del Greco’s field goal that was returned for the winning margin; pulled it out by a field goal in 1997; and kicked the decisive field goal in winning 20-18 in 1998.
Titans center Kevin Mawae played for Seattle between 1994 and 1997 and remembers that winning play.
“That was pretty cool,” Mawae said.
Not even being at home has helped Fisher. The Titans scored 24 straight points, but blew a 14-point lead when the visiting Seahawks rallied and won 28-24 in Nashville on Dec. 18, 2005.
Tight end Bo Scaife was a rookie on that team. He doesn’t believe anyone is thinking of the team’s past failures in Seattle, not with finishing at 8-8 within reach after an 0-6 start.
“We know we’re a good team. We don’t care who we play. We’ll play whoever,” Scaife said.
The Titans will have some fans in the stands Sunday. Left tackle Michael Roos is from Vancouver, Wash., and estimates 30 friends and family will be on hand. He used his bye week last season to visit Qwest Field for the Seahawks’ game with Green Bay.
“It is a loud stadium, from what I remember last year being at that game. Granted, it’s the last game of the year. They have a good fan base, and I’m sure it’ll be full,” Roos said.
It’s not just Fisher who has struggled against the Seahawks. This franchise is 1-6 in visits to Seattle, with that lone win back in 1977.
Good thing realignment moved the Seahawks from the AFC West to the NFC West.
Fisher said not necessarily. He points to the team’s road record since 1995 of 63-56-0 — tied with Pittsburgh for third best in the NFL — as proof of being able to win away from home. The Titans are 2-5 on the road this season.
“It’s a challenge for us, but there’s no one on this roster that remembers what happened back then. Plus, I think we’ve got a better team,” Fisher said.