Kenny Britt said he learned a valuable lesson after being involved in an incident at a nightclub in downtown Nashville early Friday morning.
“Don’t go to places after 12 o’clock,” the Tennessee Titans' second-year wide receiver said with a laugh. “Stay in the house.”
After what he called a “mind-boggling” last 48 hours, Britt shook off the distractions and put together the best game of his young career. He caught seven passes for a career-high 225 yards and three touchdowns in the Titans’ 37-19 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles at LP Field on Sunday.
“He put it behind him, came out and played a heck of a ball game,” Titans quarterback Kerry Collins said. “We needed him.”
It was the best single-game performance by a NFL receiver this year and the best by a Titan since Drew Bennett had 233 receiving yards in 2004. It also was the most receiving yards the Eagles have ever given up to a single receiver.
The first time he got to the end zone he became just the third receiver in franchise history to have a touchdown catch in at least five straight games.
“A lot of things have been going through my head,” Britt said. “What I had to do was focus on the task at hand and the game (Sunday) and that is what I was doing. My teammates needed me and counted on me. I can’t let anything else bother me. My job is to go out there and perform and that’s what I tried to do.”
Britt’s involvement in a scuffle at Karma Lounge around 1:45 a.m. Friday cost him a start on Sunday against the Eagles (4-3).
The 22-year-old missed the first four series' for the Titans (5-2). Coach Jeff Fisher said he didn’t start Britt for two reasons. He said he “didn’t have enough time to gather all the information” on the incident and because Britt did not practice Friday. Britt was excused from Friday’s workout in light of events hours earlier.
After the game, Fisher said he was still processing all the information from the incident and said he would proceed with handing down further disciplinary action, if he finds it necessary.
Running back Chris Johnson also was at the nightclub on Friday and said it was not a mistake for the two to be out that late.
“We’re living,” Johnson said. “We’re young men. We’re going to live so it is not a mistake.”
Britt, who said he didn’t know when he would get in the game, made his first catch in the second quarter. It was a big one as he snagged a 26-yard touchdown strike from Collins for a 7-3 lead with 6:29 left in the first half.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver’s second score brought the Titans back into it. Trailing 19-10, with a second down at the Tennessee 20-yard line, Collins heaved a pass to the near sideline. He was hit as he threw it and Britt had to adjust and come back to the ball.
He caught it around the Eagles’ 40-yard line, as Philadelphia safety Nate Allen fell down on the play. Britt then turned around and sprinted the rest of the way to the end zone.
“He started to really show that he is learning to adjust the ball,” Collins said. “He did a really good job of that.”
His third touchdown grab – a 16-yarder – was the insurance score the Titans needed. With 5:03 left in the fourth quarter, Collins connected with Britt across the middle in the end zone. Collins laced the pass to Britt, who made the catch between two defenders.
Britt, a first-round pick out of Rutgers, now leads the Titans in receiving this year with 23 catches for 443 yards and seven touchdowns. As a rookie last year, he led the Titans in receiving yards with 701.
His previous best single-game mark was 128 yards against Arizona last year but Sunday’s performance might have really vaulted him into the spotlight.
“It was nice to see him finally have a day like that with the stuff that was going on this week,” Johnson said. “I know when it is his time to get into the game, he is going to make plays. I know the type of player he is, I practice with him every day. None of this is really surprising.”
• The Titans have won a franchise-record 12 straight games against NFC opponents. Their last loss came on Oct. 14, 2007 at Tampa Bay and they have the longest current inter-conference win streak in the NFL.
• Cortland Finnegan’s 41-yard interception return for a touchdown to end the game gave the Titans 12 picks for the year – a league-high.
The Titans had two picks on the day – Michael Griffin intercepted Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb in the second quarter. It was Griffin’s fourth interception of the season.