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Munchak: McCourty's Response 'Perfect Example'


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Coach Mike Munchak said Friday that he expects an opponent to make a big play because NFL teams are deeply talented.

He also said the Titans can define themselves by what they do after a big play.  

Thursday night's 26-23 win over Pittsburgh at LP Field illustrated that when defensive captain Jason McCourty intercepted Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger at the Tennessee 12-yard line with 1:31 left in the first half.

The interception prevented Pittsburgh from a scoring opportunity one play after Roethlisberger connected with Isaac Redman against Titans safety Robert Johnson for a gain of 55 yards and preceded a field goal by Rob Bironas to give Tennessee a 16-10 lead as the first half expired.

It was also redemption for McCourty, who was in coverage when Roethlisberger connected with Mike Wallace for an 82-yard touchdown to put the Steelers up 10-3 with 5:25 left in the first quarter.

Munchak said McCourty's response was the "perfect example" for the Titans.

"I think that's an example that we need everyone on our team to see: You know what? You're going to make bad plays, man. You're going to get run over. You're going to get embarrassed in this league. I don't care who you are, you've been through it. But how do you respond to that? How do you respond when you have a bad play, and everyone knows you had a bad play? By that, by the way he did it."

McCourty finished with five tackles, two passes defensed and the interception, and the Titans held Wallace to one other catch for 12 yards.

"I've enjoyed his development as a player, as a starter, a team captain now," Munchak said. "He's a guy that feels comfortable standing up in front of the team and saying things, in front of the defense."

The Titans improved to 2-4 after a difficult schedule to start the season. Munchak told players before the game that the scenario reminded him of his final year as a player when the Houston Oilers started 1-4, then got a road win at New England that sparked 10 more victories to finish the season 12-4.

Munchak, who remained calm during the slow start, added that beating Pittsburgh (2-3) does not guarantee a victory at Buffalo (2-3) on Oct. 21, but it will provide energy, excitement and a dose of confidence when the team begins its preparations for the Bills.

"I think it gives you that kind of confidence, and you need that sometimes," Munchak said. "There's no doubt, it's just human nature to wonder, when things aren't going your way, really how good are we? How good am I as an individual? Are we doing it the right way? Everyone has an opinion. They open a paper, they turn on a TV, everyone is saying the same thing to them, questioning what kind of team we are, what kind of individuals we are. So I think one game does kind of get you back on track, refocuses you at least for weeks. Hey, we were pretty good, we beat a good football team. We could have done this and this better, but we still won the football game.

Players were given Friday, Saturday and Sunday off to recover from the short week of preparation against the Steelers.

McCourty said after the game that Titans aren't looking back to their first six games but are focusing on the future.

"At this point, it's a matter of trying to win out, now," McCourty said. "I think we are moving in the right track and it's just important for us to try to win out now.  It's important for us to be smart with these few days off and come back re-focused and continue to do what we do.  We knew all along that we were more talented than we were putting on tape and it's up to us to show that."

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