NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Amidst the madness of the last two minutes Sunday at LP Field, it wasn't lost that the 16-14 win marked Ken Whisenhunt's first home win as head coach of the Titans.
"The fans were great coming off the field," said Whisenhunt. "It's been tough. It's been tough on all of us and I know especially our fans. I enjoyed that. It was good to see the win and to see some smiling faces in the stands."
The win also puts Tennessee's four-game losing streak in the rear view mirror. Whisenhunt and his team are excited to leave those memories behind.
"That was a tough stretch for sure," Whisenhunt said, relieved to move on. "It was good to get a win. Even though I would prefer it to have not been as close as it was, we're still happy to get it."
No player or coach has questioned the team's effort level through the recent losing streak, but it's only wins that truly validate the countless hours put in at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
"They've been working hard," Whisenhunt said. "They definitely want to do it the right way, but it's always good to have a win. I think the most important thing for us was to get a win at home. That was something that was really kind of burning in my gut, and even though once again it didn't go as easily as we would have liked for it to or it could have at some points in the game, we still got that win, and that was something that was important."
Whisenhunt touched on a few individual performances, starting with rookie running back Bishop Sankey. The rookie saw his biggest workload of the season with 18 carries for 61 yards filling in for injured starter Shonn Greene.
"I think nerves were a little bit of a factor early in the game and then he settled down a little bit," Whisenhunt said. "It's different when you're the starter and having to take those reps. He's getting better. I don't think there's any question he's getting better. He's going to continue to do that. We're excited about Bishop."
Second-year cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson had his best game of the season, returning to the field after missing the Browns game with a concussion. Wreh-Wilson led the team in tackles with 11 and hauled in his first career interception.
"That was good to see Blidi (Wreh-Wilson) respond like that. One of the things when you miss a game, he was anxious to get back out there," said Whisenhunt. "Obviously, he's gotten a lot of criticism about the way things have gone for him earlier. For him to come back and respond the way he did yesterday, I certainly feel very good about what Blidi did, and I'm happy for him."
Jurrell Casey has been named AFC Player of the Week for his stat sheet-filling performance of a career-high nine tackles and two sacks against the Jaguars. It was Casey's second game this season with multiple sacks, and he now has four sacks on the year and 20 for his career.
"He definitely has a great sense of timing, which allows him to be as disruptive, but he plays with good technique," Whisenhunt said. "Very passionate, he works very hard. When you look at Jurrell, you don't necessarily think that he would be that productive of a player, but from having watched him as an opponent and then having watched him as a guy that's on our team, you just marvel at what he does."
The Titans have two games remaining before their bye in Week 9. First up is a road contest in the nation's capital against the Washington Redskins followed by a divisional matchup at LP Field against the Houston Texans.
Everyone in the locker room will say they take things one game at a time but at 2-4, Whisenhunt said he will definitely mention the opportunity to be back at .500 going into the bye week.
"That's part of it, talking about that, the fact that we want to try to get to that point at the bye week. It's tough in this league, but we still have the mentality of one game at a time," he explained. "You can also look at the big picture from the standpoint of if we can do a good job these next two games, maybe we can give them some type of reward over the bye week to provide incentive. I don't think there's anything wrong with that."