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Win and Rest Rejuvenate Titans


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jared Cook hit the snooze bar, Derrick Morgan didn't bother with setting an alarm and Nate Washington kept his TV on football all weekend.

The Titans enjoyed a rare weekend off in October in individual ways but returned to work Monday rekindled by Thursday's 26-23 win over Pittsburgh and rejuvenated by rest. The combination, they said, has them ready to write the team's story in the final 10 games of the season.

"It couldn't have come at a better time, with the physical things that these guys are going through and the mental (aspect) of not having things work out for us earlier in the season," Washington said. "I think it worked out good to have the little break that we had, get guys back in here refreshed with their bodies and their minds, so it will work out for us."

The change in schedule is a benefit to Tennessee, which doesn't have its bye until Week 11. It allows for extra recovery time for players like linebacker Colin McCarthy who has been battling an ankle injury or like Kenny Britt, who is progressively completing his return from offseason knee surgery and an ankle injury this season. Britt caught his first touchdown in more than a year in Thursday's win.

"We just have to take advantage of this," Washington said. "We can't overlook it as just another weekend off, or a little time to sit at home. We have to take advantage of this, get our bodies back and minds where they're supposed to be."

The next chapter for Tennessee (2-4) is a trip to Buffalo (3-3) to face the Bills, who won 19-16 in overtime at Arizona Sunday.

Matt Hasselbeck is likely to make his third consecutive start in place of second-year pro Jake Locker, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury. Titans coach Mike Munchak said he hopes Locker will be able to make some throws at some point this week but is unlikely to suit up against Buffalo.

Morgan said the downtime was helpful and the Titans will try to build on what they were able to do against the Steelers.

"It gave guys a chance to break away from the facility, get some down time and feel refreshed today," Morgan said. "It was good to get away after a win and come back here today and refocus."

Morgan and Tennessee's defensive line came up with significant plays to stymie the Steelers at the end of the game. He stopped Baron Batch for a loss of one on second-and-6, then pressured Ben Roethlisberger into a hurried incompletion on the next play to force a 54-yard field goal attempt with the score tied at 23 with 54 seconds remaining.

The kick was short, and Tennessee took the ball from where it was kicked. Hasselbeck guided the Titans 30 yards in three plays, with the major damage occurring on a crossing route to Cook that gained 25 yards and positioned the Titans for a 40-yard game winning field goal by Rob Bironas as time expired.

"I feel like it was a really big win for our program and just to get us back on the right track," Morgan said. "You know, 1-5 would have been devastating, and I think we knew our backs were against the wall going into the game. We knew it was a must-win, and it gives us some momentum going into this week, but in the NFL, it's week-by-week, so we've got to focus on Buffalo and go out there and take care of business."

Washington said the Titans took a "backs against the wall" approach last week with two options.

"We could go in our shells and hide our faces or give it everything we had and fight until the end," Washington said. "I think that's what the team decided to do. Fortunately enough, I think you have a group of prideful guys in this locker room that are definitely going to give it everything they have."

Cook said the Titans must maintain perspective going forward as they continue to develop consistency on offense.

"We've just got to remember what it feels like to lose and remember what it feels like to win and make sure we keep that winning spirit," Cook said.

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