MINNEAPOLIS – The Titans did it again.
Another game, another close win, this time 31-30 over the Vikings here at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Titans rallied on Sunday, winning on a day when things didn't look pretty for a long time.
But once again, the Titans found a way to win it.
"It's very encouraging," Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said, "to be a part of a football team that is not a bunch of front-runners, that pack up and complain and start pointing fingers when things don't go right because they don't, especially in this league and especially in life.
"To come up here and win a game, we're happy. We're excited. We are going to enjoy it and improve and we're going to get better, in all three phases and our coaching staff."
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed 23-of-37 passes for 321 yards in the contest, guiding late drives when the team needed them most.
Running back Derrick Henry ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns, and he produced some bruising runs late. The Titans are now 15-0 in game when Henry goes for over 100 yards. Receiver Kalif Raymond had a productive day as well, making three catches for 118 yards, including a pair of long ones.
But it was kicker Stephen Gostkowski who saved the day in this one, kicking six field goals in the contest, from 30, 31, 39, 51, 54 and 55 yards out. His final kick of the day, from 55 yards, proved to be the game-winner with 1:44 left. Gostkowski has now kicked game-winners three weeks in a row.
"I'm excited to help the Titans get to 3-0," Gostkowski said.
Yes, the Titans are 3-0, and they're headed home for three straight games at Nissan Stadium, beginning with the Steelers.
Things didn't go smoothly the entire way on Sunday.
Too many drives stalled in the red zone on offense, and the defense had its share of struggles.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 16-of-27 passes for 251 yards in the game, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook ran for 181 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, and Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson tallied seven receptions for 175 yards and a score.
"It was definitely frustrating," Tannehill said of the red zone failures. "We pride ourselves in being able to finish drives in the end zone – we talk about it all the time, and it's an emphasis for us. Today we weren't executing well enough to do that, and we have to do better. I feel like we have a lot of things we can clean up offensively. … It was a tight game, and it really shouldn't have been so tight if we would have executed like we should have in the red zone.
"But at the end, I'm proud of our guys for the way we kept battling. When things weren't going well, we just kept chipping away and chipping away, believing in each other, and … we had a lot of confidence we were going to get it done and we did exactly that."
Trailing 24-12 midway through the third quarter, the Titans put together an eight-play, 75-yard and capped it off with a one-yard touchdown run by Henry to cut the lead to 24-19.
Minutes later, the Titans took the lead 25-24 on another one-yard scoring run by Henry, which capped off a three-play, 65-yard drive that featured a 61-yard toss to receiver Kalif Raymond.
The Vikings reclaimed the lead 30-25 with 10:17 left in the contest on a one-handed catch by tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Gostkowski's 54-yard field goal with 6:31 left cut the lead to 30-28, and then came the game-winner late.
Safety Amani Hooker sealed it with a late interception.
"I didn't get a lot of action, but when my number was called, I made a play," Hooker said. "I am blessed. I prayed for it. (I saw) the ball in the air ... and secured it and got down."
Titans safety Kevin Byard called it a gut-check win.
"That's what is all about, winning close games - that's what good teams do," Byard said. "At the end of the day we want to play a lot better, but being 3-0 feels great."
The Titans took a 3-0 early on a 39-yard field goal from Gostkowski, a drive that was jumpstarted by a 44-yard completion from Tannehill to Raymond. The Titans extended the lead to 6-0 on another Gostkowski field goal, this one from 31 yards. The kick was set up by a fumble recovery from linebacker Rashaan Evans that gave the Titans the ball at the Minnesota 20.
But the Vikings battled back, scoring first on a 39-yard touchdown run by Cook and then on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to receiver Adam Thielen to make it 14-6.
After Gostkowski's 30-yard kick cut the lead to 14-9, the Vikings stretched the lead to 17-9 on a 41-yard kick by Dan Bailey, and that was the score at halftime.
The Titans appeared to make a game-changing play right out of the gate to start the second half, as cornerback Johnathan Joseph intercepted Cousins and returned it for an apparent touchdown. But the touchdown was wiped out because of an illegal block called on linebacker Jadeveon Clowney.
Gostkowski kicked 51-yard field goal cut the lead to 17-12 in the third quarter, but the Vikings stretched the lead to 24-12 on a 71-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Jefferson, which made it 24-12 with 8:04 left in the third quarter.
But then the Titans got off the mat and won it.
"(We showed) resiliency, and (we) just keep fighting, and sticking together," Henry said. "There's no quit, and we want to finish games with the ball in our hands to give up an opportunity to win.
"I was happy we could go out there and get a win against a good team."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3 at U.S. Bank Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)