NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Running back Chris Johnson continued his torrid pace on Sunday, rushing for 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while adding another 69 yards and TD through the air in Tennessee's 47-7 dismantling of the St. Louis Rams at LP Field.
"The speed that he has… when you get the ball in that guy's hands, it's unbelievable," quarterback Vince Young said.
Johnson's performance gave him 1,626 rushing yards on the season, which is good for the 44th most rushing yards in a single season in NFL history. To break Eric Dickerson's record of 2,105 rushing yards, Johnson now needs to average nearly 160 rushing yards per game over the next three games. This seems like a daunting task, but Johnson has rushed for over 150 yards in a game four times this season, including a 197-yard output against the Texans and a 228-yard showing against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"Getting the record would mean so much to him and to this organization," wide receiver Kenny Britt said. "The offensive line, you have to give them so much respect. They've been blocking for Chris all year and have been doing a great job. And then Chris is just 'stupid fast',"
In addition, Johnson has 391 receiving yards this year, putting his total yards from scrimmage at 2,017 yards. Marshall Faulk's record of most yards from scrimmage in NFL history is 2,429 yards, meaning that Johnson would have to average 138 yards per game from scrimmage total in order to eclipse it. In Sunday's game, he had 186 total yards from scrimmage, but the 117 rushing yards were less than the average he needs to get to 2,000 yards rushing. Only for a running back the caliber of Johnson could that be a somewhat disappointing day.
"Gaining 2,000 yards and breaking the record is not going to be easy," Johnson said. "It's a tough job, so I don't expect to go out there and it be easy for me. I'd say on our part, it was a couple of bad reads, a couple of missed blocks. I put that on ourselves as the offense."
DEFENSE SWALLOWS RAMS: The other major factor in the Titans' win on Sunday was the play of its defense. The most eye-popping statistic was the five interceptions that Tennessee came up with. Linebacker Keith Bulluck and cornerback Cortland Finnegan each had two interceptions, while defensive back Vincent Fuller had an interception that he returned 45 yards for a touchdown.
"Anytime you can go out there defensively and get them to turn the ball over like that, it's definitely going to help you," Bulluck said.
Even more important may have been limiting Rams running back Steven Jackson to 47 yards rushing on 19 carries. Jackson was the NFL's second leading rusher behind Johnson with 1,279 yards entering the game.
"Stevie J. is their main offensive focus and we did a good job of neutralizing him," Bulluck said. "We knew they were going to come out and try to get him the ball any way they could. I think as a defense as a whole we were on point."
TITANS PLAYOFF HOPES: The Titans improved to 6-7 on the season, keeping them even with the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers, and within a game of the Miami Dolphins (who come to Nashville next week), the New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are all at 7-6.
"We still have three more games and you can't afford to drop any of them," cornerback Nick Harper said. "It's put us in a position where we got one out of four, so we just have to take them one game at a time."
With three games remaining, the AFC playoff picture remains muddled. However, with three more wins and plenty of outside help, a small window of opportunity still remains open for the Titans.
"We have two great teams coming up that we are about to play -- two teams that are definitely on a roll and we're going to have to be prepared," wide receiver Nate Washington said of Tennessee's next two games with Miami and San Diego. "We know that we have two huge games coming up that we need to win both of to even have a chance to look at the playoffs."