LANDOVER, Md. – What a goal-line stand.
What an ending.
What a win.
The Titans escaped with a 21-17 victory over the Washington Commanders here on Sunday as linebacker David Long Jr. intercepted quarterback Carson Wentz at the one-yard line with six seconds left.
"I was prepared for the play," Long said after the game, still clutching the football. "The thing is, we never panicked and we just had to make a play."
After starting the season 0-2, the Titans improved to 3-2 with the win.
Five weeks into the season, the Titans sit alone atop the AFC South.
"You have to find a way to win, and we know how to do that," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. "That's how sometimes it's going to be in this league – defend every blade of grass and guys came up huge at the end."
Titans running back Derrick Henry ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns in the contest, and he was a workhorse, carrying the ball 28 times.
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed 15-of-25 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown – a 13-yard pass to running back Dontrell Hilliard.
But the Titans had to scrap until the end of this one, and things didn't look great when the Commanders had a first-and-goal at the Tennessee two-yard-line with 19 seconds left. After the Titans forced a pair of incompletions, Long stepped in and intercepted Wentz to close it out. In the end, the Commanders had nothing to show for their 18-play, 88-yard drive.
"I heard the crowd go wild, and honestly I thought they'd scored at first," Byard said of Long's interception. "It was electric. And I feel like once or twice a year we get one of these epic wins. It's just our culture, and the way we are going to keep fighting to the end."
It was a dogfight all day.
After the two teams took turns punting the ball to one another, the Titans broke through for a score late in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead. The 13-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Hillard, who benefitted from key blocks from guard Aaron Brewer and center Ben Jones, capped off a six-play, 52-yard drive that included a 24-yard screen pass to Henry.
The Commanders made it 7-3 on a 50-yard field goal by kicker Joey Slye on their next possession.
Then, a 75-yard touchdown pass from Wentz to receiver Dyami Brown made it 10-7 with 14:06 left in the second quarter. Caleb Farley was in coverage for the Titans and when he stumbled, Brown raced by him for the catch and score.
The Titans capped off the first half in grand fashion, however, to take a 14-10 halftime lead.
A one-yard touchdown run by Henry capped off a beautiful 15-play, 81-yard drive that took 6:57 off the clock. Henry hammered away on the drive, and he finished the first half with 83 rushing yards and a score on 18 carries.
Things didn't start off so well in the third quarter.
The Titans went three-and-out on their first two possessions, and the Commanders then regained the lead 17-14 on a 30-yard pass from Wentz to Brown, this time with Roger McCreary in coverage.
But the Titans kept swinging, as they answered back with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by Henry, which made it 21-17. The scoring drive was set up by a 62-yard completion from Tannehill to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, which put the ball at the Commanders 11.
Then came the heart-stopping finish.
"We believe in each other, and we are going to keep battling and find a way to win," Tannehill said. "I think that is what has been proven the last few weeks – we believe in each other no matter what happens and ultimately find a way to win."
The Titans have a bye next Sunday.
The Titans will return to action on October 23 against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Washington Commanders in Week 5 at FedEx Field.