Titans’ win only record that counts
Posted: Monday, October 3, 2011 7:01 pm
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — No quarterback in Cleveland Browns history has ever thrown as many passes or completed as many as Colt McCoy did against Tennessee.
He broke two team records.
He couldn’t stop Cleve-land’s from getting worse.
Matt Hasselbeck threw three touchdown passes in the first half, safety Jordan Babineaux returned a foolishly forced pass by McCoy 97 yards for a touchdown and the big-play Titans rolled to a 31-13 win on Sunday over the Browns, Tennessee’s third straight under first-year coach Mike Munchak.
On a blustery day in Cleveland, the Titans (3-1) blew past the Browns (2-2) with ease.
Considered to be in rebuilding mode when the season started, Tennessee is making progress — quickly.
“I’m not surprised we’re 3-1,” said wide receiver Nate Washington. “We’ve been working hard. We still have a few wrinkles that we need to iron out, but guys have stepped up”
No one more than Hasselbeck.
The 36-year-old quarterback continued his great start with Tennessee. He went 8-of-12 for 194 yards in the first half, when his short completions turned into huge gains as the Titans streaked through a stunned Cleveland secondary that blew coverages and forgot how to tackle.
Hasselbeck finished 10-of-20 for 220 yards — 26 on just two completions after halftime.
When the Titans signed Hasselbeck, who spent the previous 10 seasons in Seattle, to a three-year free agent deal in late July, the decision caused some head scratching around the league.
Now, other teams may be kicking themselves.
“We thought he had a lot left in the tank from watching him in the playoffs last year,” Munchak said. “We didn’t bring him here to retire. Our plan was to bring him here and do exactly what he is doing. We feel great about him not only on the field, but with a young team and he has done a great job since he has come in here.
“He has set the tempo in how we practice, expectations, how he leads, how he teaches and that crossed over to the whole team.”
Many of the Titans were playing with heavy hearts. On Saturday, they learned that Mike Heimerdinger, their beloved former offensive coordinator known as “Dinger,” died of cancer at 58. Heimerdinger died while in Mexico to receive experimental treatments for a rare form of the disease.
Heimerdinger and Munchak spent several seasons on former Titans coach Jeff Fisher’s staff.
Tennessee’s Chris Johnson finally broke out of his early-season funk, rushing 23 times for 101 yards, three more than his total in the first three games.
“It is a start,” Munchak said of Johnson, who missed training camp in a contract holdout. “I think we are heading in the right direction there.”
Published in The Messenger 10.3.11