Titans prevail, despite short work week


After playing on Monday Night Football, the Titans prevailed over a Packers team coming off its bye.

Rob Bironas kicked the game-winning 41-yard field goal and Tennessee remained unblemished at 8-0 after their toughest game this season.

Bironas missed a 47-yarder at the end of regulation that would have won the game. The Titans won the coin toss and Bironas tucked his second try inside the left upright to send a sold-out LP Field crowd into bedlam.

"I'm not going to make them all. I go out there expecting to make them all, but when I miss, I'm ready to make the next one," Bironas said. "I redeemed myself, I guess you would say."

Green Bay fell despite giving the Titans' offense fits in the second half. Donald Driver and Greg Jennings combined for 10 receptions, 215 yards and a touchdown. The Packers rolled up 390 total yards and managed one touchdown and three field goals as Tennessee's defense held several times in dramatic fashion.

"We need to tighten up. I don't think today we were too much on point coming off the short week, but we were able to suck it up at the end and put the win together," linebacker Keith Bulluck said. "We're fortunate as a defense to be able to cause turnovers. They were hurting us in some phases. I don't think we tackled well today, but that's something we can work on."

Jennings averaged 18.5 yards a catch entering the game and caught three passes for 79 yards. Driver and Jordy Nelson had receptions of 44 and 24 yards as the receivers gained chunks of ground after the catch.

"This was by far our toughest game," safety Chris Hope said. "They have two Pro Bowl receivers and a potential future Pro Bowl quarterback, so we knew they were going to make some plays. We just had to settle down and start tackling well."

Hope intercepted Rogers in the end zone and Jacob Ford forced a fumble on one of his two sacks. Stephen Tulloch recovered. Hope and Dave Ball also added sacks as the defense played without Kyle Vanden Bosch (groin) most of the game.

Somehow, the Titans never turned the ball over, though the Packers had at least three interceptions fall through their hands. As Nick Barnett threw him to the ground, Kerry Collins heaved a soft floater into the air straight to Nick Collins and Al Harris, who collided.

"They make you throw into tight spaces and sometimes they get tipped, and I was fortunate to not have a couple picks today, but sometimes you've got to get lucky too," Collins said.

Tennessee did luck out, winning a coin flip and getting the ball first in overtime after Bironas' near miss. His missed field goal clipped the outside edge of the right upright about halfway up.

"I cut it a little light and hit the ground a little with my cleat," Bironas said. "It was coming back. We needed another yard on it to get it all the way in."

Bironas whipped the next one through the uprights. He knew it was good as soon as it left his foot, and Tennessee remains the last team without a loss.

Nothing could hold back the smiles as his teammates were able to joke about their kicker after the game. Asked about Bironas' personality, Collins chuckled.

"He's a kicker. They're all weird," Collins said. "I'm normal. Right? So. He's Rob. He does the copier commercials. Not everybody can do that.

"You give him two chances I'm pretty much betting he's going to make one of them."

Green Bay (4-4) gave Tennessee too many chances.

Tennessee's style contrasts the way Tom Brady, Randy Moss and the 2007 New England Patriots, who finished the regular season 16-0, put things together a year ago. But Tennessee's identity cements itself more each week. The defense forces turnovers and plays tough inside the red zone, the running backs carry the offense and Collins and the receivers make timely catches. Green Bay pushed Tennessee further than any previous team, but the Titans still won.

"We overcame defensive injuries. We overcame some difficulty offensively in the second half," head coach Jeff Fisher said. "You know when you win eight games, you're going to on occassion need to win some like this and that's just what we did. We hung in there."

Said Collins: "I didn't play my best game. I think a lot of the guys here will say the same thing. But the bottom line is we found a way to win."

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