Kerry Collins and the Tennessee offense stepped up late in the fourth quarter and in overtime in Sunday's win.
When Tennessee got the ball at their own 8 with 1:49 left in regulation, they had scrounged 67 yards and four first downs out of their previous seven possessions. Then Kerry Collins went 4-of-5 for 48 yards, completing passes to Brandon Jones and Justin McCareins and marching the Titans to the Green Bay 26 with four seconds left.
Green Bay corners Al Harris and Charles Woodson, a duo Chris Hope called the NFL's best, pride themselves on man-to-man, press coverage. Offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger called a variety of routes as Collins threw the ball deep, short and in between throughout, but McCareins and Justin Gage couldn't shake Harris and Woodson -- until late. Collins completed 18-of-37 passes for 180 yards, none bigger than the four completions at the end of the fourth quarter.
"That's part of their defense. They're very good on the corners. They match up very well inside," Collins said. "They schematically and talent-wise are very good and they're hard to make a lot of big plays on. It was tough sledding there for a while."
Although Bironas missed, that drive became key.
"Having a long drive right before the end of regulation, it seemed like we got the rhythm going and we were able to get them back on their heels a little bit," Collins said. "We were able to go right back out and I think it couldn't have set up for us any better."
Chris Johnson took over in overtime, gaining 45 yards on six touches as the offensive line bullied the Packers. LenDale White also carried twice for 10 yards in the extra session.
Johnson finished with 161 yards of total offense and a career-best 72 receiving yards. Green Bay left Johnson alone on third-and-6 early in overtime and Collins completed a pass to him for a 16-yard gain. On the next play Johnson broached the secondary, tripped up by a diving Nick Collins.
"We couldn't get no yards. We kept going three-and-out for a while, but we eventually got it done," Johnson said. "We never went away from the running game because we knew eventually we were going to break one loose or get going."
It looked like Johnson would take care of the game himself, but head coach Jeff Fisher opted to kick the field goal on third-and-2.
Led by the 35-year-old veteran Collins, the offense has struggled at times, but never panicked. Asked to describe the mood and emotions in the huddle as Collins and the offense trotted out at the end of the fourth quarter, the quarterback simply said, "Nothing." Later, he called it business-like.
"I think our receivers are making timely plays and I think I'm making timely plays," Collins said. "It hasn't been pretty the whole way."
Said Johnson: "Green Bay was real good. Going into the game we all said this was going to be our hardest test so far... and they proved what they can do."
SVELTE WHITE: Don't start calling LenDale White fleet-footed, but White's had a carry for over 50 yards in two of the last three games.
Green Bay fended off a fast Tennessee start and led 10-6 when White lumbered for 54 yards up the middle, cutting once and bursting through a large gap of empty field. White led the NFL in touchdowns with 10 coming into the game but caught his breath on the sideline as Chris Johnson finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run and the Titans led 13-10.
Often asked about his portly figure, White reminds reporters it's him, not Johnson, that owns the Titans' longest run from scrimmage this year. Johnson rushed for a 66-yard touchdown against the Chiefs, but White topped him earlier in the game with his 80-yarder.
COLLINS SACKED: Green Bay doubled Tennessee's sacks allowed in a span of three plays Sunday.
The Titans had gone five consecutive games without giving up a sack until Ryan Pickett dropped Collins in the third quarter despite a holding penalty on Eugene Amano. Two plays later, Michael Montgomery twisted up the middle and sacked Collins again.
Collins was last sacked Sept. 14 at Cincinnati. He and Vince Young have been sacked four times this season, fewest in the NFL. Tennessee has sacked opposing quarterbacks 22 times.
SIDELINE 'D':Nearly half of the NFL's best scoring defense looked on during a first-and goal in the second quarter.
The Titans lined up on first-and-goal at the 9 with Jacob Ford, Jason Jones, Tony Brown and Dave Ball across the line, Ryan Fowler at middle linebacker and Stephen Tulloch at right outside linebacker. Aaron Rogers threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver during that series, the only touchdown the Packers scored.
Keith Bulluck and Jevon Kearse had both left the game but would later return. Bulluck left the game appearing to clutch at his abdomen and Kearse exited after making a tackle on Rogers downfield. Kyle Vanden Bosch played the first two series, whizzing by Rogers and missing on one play, but left the game and did not return.
"It wasn't there. I felt like I could go full speed ahead but when I had to cut side to side and some lateral movements, I just had some pain," Vanden Bosch said. "Personally, it's a frustrating day, but it's hard to be down. This team came through. The defensive line played well and I'm excited."
Vanden Bosch has been nursing a groin injury suffered in the first half at Baltimore Oct. 5. Vanden Bosch started against Kansas City but left after three snaps. His streak of 54-consecutive starts came to an end Monday against Indianapolis.
HOPE'S ENCORE: How's this for an encore? Less than one week after Chris Hope recorded his first career two-interception game against Indianapolis, the Tennessee safety sacked Aaron Rogers, picked Rogers off in the end zone and prevented tight end Jermichael Finley from catching a pass on fourth-and-1.
FOOLED YOU:Rob Bironas and the Titans lined up in field goal formation a tad shy of 63 yards with :03 left in the first half before Craig Hentrich caught the snap and kneeled down.
"In my mind I was ready to kick it. The only problem we had was it's 63 yards," Bironas said. "If it doesn't get there you've got a returner bringing it back against 10 lineman, so odds are he's going to be a lot quicker than the rest of us out there."
Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam hold the NFL record for longest field goal made at 63 yards. Bironas kicked a 62-yarder against Indianapolis in 2006. He didn't try to equal that distance Sunday, but he did kick three field goals and has made 18-of-20 on the season.