Tennessee, Collins face Baltimore test


Titans quarterback Kerry Collins faces the Ravens for the first time since the 2001 Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
Now Collins goes to Baltimore against a team that in the 2001 Super Bowl harassed him into one of his worst games: four sacks, four interceptions and an almost invisible passer rating of 7.1. Collins was with the Giants then and that was the last time he faced the Ravens, who retain the same defensive philosophy: hit the quarterback.
 
"I've got memories of that Super Bowl and none of them are really that good," Collins told reporters Wednesday. "It was a long time ago, but that was the best defense I've ever played against. I don't think it was fair that they let them play with 15 (players)...it seemed like were 15 of them out there as fast as they were and as many plays as they made."

The Titans, who haven't played in Baltimore since a 20-17 victory in an AFC Wild Card Game nearly five years ago, play some defense, too. They are allowing an NFL low 11.5 points per game and lead the league with a plus-6 turnover margin. Cortland Finnegan leads the league in interceptions with four and Albert Haynesworth has five sacks, remarkable for a defensive tackle.
 
"They are playing some great football right now," Collins said of his teammates. "Obvioulsy they're doing some things that I don't think anybody in the league is doing right now. They're just getting after the passer like crazy and shutting good offenses down."

That could mean a difficult afternoon for Joe Flacco, who was supposed to sit as a rookie but has started every game because of Troy Smith's illness and Kyle Boller's injury. Flacco has performed pretty well, including Monday night in Pittsburgh, when he drove the Ravens 76 yards for a game-tying TD before Baltimore lost in overtime.

"He didn't get rattled," wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "He showed poise out there and that's all you can ask your young quarterback to do." Tennessee's old quarterback has shown poise, too, replacing the injured Vince Young in what has become a permanent gig — when Young gets healthy, he'll sit and learn behind a 35-year-old now in his 14th season.
 
"It's going to be a big challenge for us this week. They're going to be the best defense we'll play, there's no question about it," Collins said of Batlimore's top-ranked defense. "They're still as good as ever and they have a lot of talent, good leadership, too, with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. We're going to have to come ready to play."
 
The veterans on the Titans have their 4-0 start in perspective.

"You can look too far ahead and lose sight of taking care of the task at hand," linebacker David Thornton says.

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