Titans Defense Records First Shutout Since 2000 in Win Over Giants


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Christmas night, 2000.

Yeah, it was a long time ago.

And until Sunday, the Titans' 31-0 win over the Dallas Cowboys on December 25, 2000, had been the last time the franchise recorded a shutout on defense.

But that all changed here against the Giants in a 17-0 win.

"It's been a long time coming," Titans safety Kevin Byard said with a smile .

The Titans defenders found out about the possibility when they took the field on the last drive, and head coach Mike Vrabel hammered the point home in his postgame speech, when defensive coordinator Dean Pees was awarded a game ball.

As players boarded the team plane to head back to Nashville roughly two hours later, players were razzing Pees about it.

"I told the team, it's the first shutout since I was riding the bench in Pittsburgh," said Vrabel, referring back to his NFL playing days. "So that's a long time ago. Dean Pees does a great job. It's not easy being a defensive coordinator for me, but Dean does a heck of a job, and his players play hard for him.

"Dean is a very good football coach, and we are lucky to have him."

The Giants made it to the Tennessee four-yard line late, but couldn't get in.

"I was in kindergarten in 2000," Titans linebacker Jayon Brown said. "A donut is huge for the defense."

Defensively, the Titans held the Giants in check all game.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley managed just 31 yards on 14 carries. Quarterback Eli Manning was just 21-of-44 for 229 yards with a 54.1 rating, and he was sacked three times.

Titans cornerback Logan Ryan and Byard each recorded sacks of Manning in the first half, giving the team's defensive backs the record for sacks in a season.

Early in the second half, Byard also stepped up and made a big interception for the Titans, stopping a Giants drive deep in Tennessee territory.

The defense got an even bigger play later, when linebacker Kamalei Correa sacked Manning, forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive lineman Jurrell Casey at the Giants 14.

The Titans turned it into a Derrick Henry touchdown.

It was a big day for the defense, which came just one week after the Giants scored 40 points in a win over the Redskins.

"It's a blessing," linebacker Derrick Morgan said. "As a defender, a shutout is something you always work for, and hope for. We were aware of it at the very end, and we did a good job of stepping up and getting it. We didn't want to let them in, and fortunately, we were able to keep them from getting in."

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