Titans shut out at Houston as offense struggles with Smith

Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 4:08pm
Staff reports

With a rookie quarterback making his first career start, running back Chris Johnson had the worst rushing day of his career.

That was a dreadful combination for the Tennessee Titans, whose losing streak was extended to four games with a 20-0 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday at Houston.

Second-year cornerback Glover Quin sealed the second shutout in the history of the Houston franchise when intercepted a pass in the end zone with 55 seconds to play. Rusty Smith’s pass went off the hands of tight end Jared Cook and resulted in the third interception of the day — all by Quin.

“Anytime you start a rookie, in his first start, first game, you talk all week about the importance of everyone picking their game up," coach Jeff Fisher said. "We have to get the little things right. We have to help him. We have to get the little catches and those kinds of things. ... Obviously we didn’t play well enough to win the game.  We had a couple balls we’d like to have back.  Everybody has to help."

With Smith playing in place of injured veterans Kerry Collins and Vince Young, Tennessee managed just 162 yards of total offense and nine first downs and did not run a play on Houston’s side of the field until early in the fourth quarter. The offense had the ball for a mere 20:19, barely more than half of Houston’s time of possession.

Johnson, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2009, was limited to five yards on seven carries. His longest gain was for nine yards late in the third quarter, His previous low was eight yards on 14 attempts on Nov. 9, 2008, at Chicago.

Javon Ringer was the Titans’ leading rusher with 27 yards on four rushes.

Conversely, former University of Tennessee running back Arian Foster, this season’s leading rusher, racked up 143 yards on 30 attempts for Houston. He also caught nine passes for a team-high 75 yards.

"We could have ran the ball on them but we didn’t run it," Johnson said. "... We just didn’t make plays.”

Smith finished the day 17-for-31 passing for 138 yards with three interceptions. Cook and Justin Gage each had four receptions, and Randy Moss had three, his most in three games with Tennessee.

The Titans finally crossed midfield on a 14-yard punt return by Marc Mariani, which ended with a 15-yard penalty for a late hit that made it first-and-10 at the Texans’ 36.

Tennessee drove inside the 10 with the help of a pass interference penalty, but on second-and-7 from the 9, Smith threw his second interception.

"Honestly, I wish I could have some of those throws back, but you can’t get them back," Smith said. "I thought I made some good decisions, some good throws, some bad decisions and some bad throws.”

Things got ugly with 7:53 to play when Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan and Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson got in an altercation, which included both players having their helmets ripped off and punches thrown. That sparked a scrum that included numerous players from both sides.

Personal fouls were assessed to Finnegan and Johnson, and both were ejected from the contest. Finnegan finished with four tackles. Johnson had nine receptions for 56 yards and the Texans’ second touchdown.

"It was just a build up over plays and I just lost my cool," Johnson said. "I think that he was frustrated with what was going on during the game. He kept doing little things, and I told him, ‘Just because you’re frustrated, you need to stop what you’re doing.’

"And I guess he thought it was funny.”

46 Comments on this post:

By: TITAN1 on 11/28/10 at 4:00

Ouch! That was really bad!

By: David_S on 11/28/10 at 5:00

Everyone knew the offense would be bad (VY drama, Rookie quarterback in his first start, offensive line playing poorly, offensive coordinator diagnosed with cancer, etc.), but no one knew it would be THAT bad....

On the bright side, the Titans have a history of bouncing back pretty well once they reach their low point. Remember the New England game last year?

By: willtw on 11/28/10 at 6:00

Yeah David, they will bounce back, after the season closes! or off the field! Should have put Bud Adams in there...he seems to have all the answers!

By: richgoose on 11/28/10 at 8:08

Did Larry Smith study under Rusty Smith?

The Titans will not win another football game. Bud Adams will fire Jeff Fisher and hire co-head coaches Robbie Caldwell and Wade Phillips.

By: TITAN1 on 11/28/10 at 8:29

And richgoose aka frankbrown will slither back under his rock when we do win. He usually only rears his ugly head in a Titans story after a loss, never after a win. But that is what he does best, kick them while they are down.

By: jwk6179 on 11/28/10 at 8:56

I thought Ms. Randy Moss was brought in to make a difference on this team. Yet when Rusty Smith threw to Ms. Moss in the end zone, SHE didn't make a move to try to catch the football that was thrown right to her. Yes, the Titans got another ME FIRST PLAYER instead of a TEAM FIRST PLAYER.

And Cortland Finnegan showed that he is NOTHING but a PUNKASS Thug. It's funny but if he played for the Raiders, Steelers or Ravens, everyone in Nashville would be talking about what a PUNK he is. But since he plays for the Titans, the Nashville Sports Media and all the Gullible Titan fan veiw him as a ROLE MODEL for all the Children in Nashville and think his actions are CUTE and FUNNY!!!

By: courier37027 on 11/28/10 at 10:07

Watch it jwk, you are talking about TITAN1's latest man-crush.

By: richgoose on 11/29/10 at 2:14

TITAN1.......You are right on the money TITAN1. I have nothing to say when they win because winning is what I expect them to do. When they lose ridicule is the best cure.

By: GuardianDevil01 on 11/29/10 at 4:41

1. Cortland Finnegan is a punk who cares more about talking trash and instigating fights than playing the game. He could be a perennial Pro Bowl CB but this is not his priority. He does not care about winning games; he cares about being the league's dirtiest player.
2. Fisher enables this by refusing to grow a pair and discipline players who commit foolish and selfish penalties with more than a slap on the wrist. When players talk about how much they love playing for Jeff Fisher people view it as a good thing. It is not. They love playing for him because they know it means they will probably never be held accountable for their behavior. Fisher cares more about being popular with his players and some of them (Pacman, Haynesworth, Finnegan, etal.) take full advantage of this.

By: dargent7 on 11/29/10 at 6:21

Well, it's all over the airwaves.
Finnegan and Johnson punching each other.
Then Fisher is on record saying he didn't see the fight.
Was he in the Ladies Room?
Last week he said he didn't see VY throw his shoulder pads into the stands.
Was he in the Men's Room?
Adams is senile, Fisher is washed up, VY is gone, KC is too old, and RS is too young.
This team is worse than the Detroit Lions.
But, I'd pay to see those two teams, "play" football.

By: HorseFly on 11/29/10 at 7:03

Did they play badly in support of VY, or are they just that bad? And the defense--all a team has to do against the Titans is run the ball and they will win. HorseFly Hohm

By: Just Sayin on 11/29/10 at 8:12

I said it when Fisher brought Moss to the team, was attacked by Titan 1, for saying it but what else is new. When a coach makes bad decisions, loses his control over his players, stick a fork in him cause he's DONE.

By: TITAN1 on 11/29/10 at 9:00

courier, it is obvious your man crush is jw and George Plaster.

"Just saying", it is so obvious the other name you use here. So sad, that some here have to use multiple names to try to get their point across.

For those who think Randy Moss has been a distraction or a problem here, please take your head out of your rear. Oh, and the pass to him in the end zone that was way over his head, why try when you can't get close to it.

Cortland a punk? I guess you forget last year when johnson pulled him to the ground by his face mask and was fined $7500.

There are fans who post here who are "fans" of other teams because the home town team is not good enough for them. A "Real" follows the local team win or lose.

There are some people here that claim to be Titans fans but are so negative it is obvious they are just joy suckers.


By: NewYorker1 on 11/29/10 at 9:26

Cortland Finnegan got whooped yesterday in Houston.

What's up with the Titans and these thugs. I decided yesterday after the fight that I will no longer support the Titans until they de-thug the team.

By: jwk6179 on 11/29/10 at 9:51

Even the CBS announcers, Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts, stated that Ms. Moss didn't even try to go for the ball in the end zone. From the VIEW I SAW, on a 42" HD TV, it didn't look way over HER HEAD. Maybe on that 13" Black and White TV you were watching it did, but not on MY TV.

As far as Cortland Finnegan, HE IS THE ONE WHO STARTED THE STUFF YESTERDAY!!! Rudy Kailas, Greg Pougue and David Coleman are the only members of the Nashville Sports Media who have the guts to call Cortland Finnegan a PUNK, unlike Hope Hines, George Plaster, Terry McCormick and the rest of the HOMER Sports media. At least Andre Johnson faced the media after the game and APOLOGIZED for his part in the altercation, unlike that PUNKASS COWARD CORTLAND FINNEGAN!!!!!

By: jwk6179 on 11/29/10 at 9:58

Of course, what do expect from a DEFENSE that is coached by the Dirtiest Player in the NFL when he played and when you have VIDEOS of "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, the "Dirtiest Player in the Game" played before each HOME GAME!!!

By: TITAN1 on 11/29/10 at 10:49


By: richgoose on 11/29/10 at 11:19

The Titans are a mess!

By: bfra on 11/29/10 at 11:39

Houston's coach was so proud of Johnson, he awarded him the game ball. That is the caliber (not much) of the Houston coach!

By: brrrrk on 11/29/10 at 11:45

For all you supporters of VY and Finnegan who think that Fisher is the problem and he should go, I have one question..... then what? What coach that's worth a damn is going to walk into a situation knowing that the first time there's a player/coach squabble, the owner might not back up the coach?

By: NewYorker1 on 11/29/10 at 11:49

Cortland Finnegan got what he deserved. I'm so glad somebody whooped that @$$. I bet he'll think twice before messing with Johnson again. I like the way Johnson took up for himself. He could be my baby's daddy. That was hot baby. I like that in a man.

By: TITAN1 on 11/29/10 at 12:08

Awarded Johnson the game ball after getting thrown out and he only had 56 yards receiving. LOL! Also, one of the offensive linemen admitted they chop block. Cortland is no angel, but he sure as heck isn't the only one. I like how everyone is overlooking where johnson got fined $7500 last year for swinging Cortland to the ground by his face mask last year.

By: TITAN1 on 11/29/10 at 12:11

richgoose aka frankbrown, the Titans are one game out of first and control their own destiny. They have start playing like they are capable of playing, but they can still do it.

By: bfra on 11/29/10 at 12:48

NY - Your opinion on men, doesn't count for much!

By: jwk6179 on 11/29/10 at 12:57

I don't RECALL the incident you are refering to with Andre Johnson from last season. ARE YOU SURE THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED? OR IS JUST ANOTHER FIGMENT OF YOUR OVERACTIVE, CHILDLIKE IMAGINATION?

Every announcer on ESPN, The NFL Network, CBS, NBC and Fox were all talking about what a PUNK Cortland Finnegan is. Not one announcer from any RESPECTFUL News and Sports Organization sided with Cortland Finnegan, only the Titan MouthPieces know as the Nashville Sports Media sided with that Punk Ass Thug.

By: TITAN1 on 11/29/10 at 1:11

jw, you only remember what you want. Yes, he was fined $7500 last season for doing just what I said. Cortland is like a lot of corners and johnson took the bait. I like how you pick and choose your talking heads. As for child like, that would be you living in TITAN country and always trying to talk crap on them and their fans. Get over it, it is not my fault you feel out of place here. Just pull for your team without trying to cut down the local team and fans. It makes YOU look like the child.

By: jwk6179 on 11/29/10 at 1:23

What LOCAL FANBASE are you talking about? Everyone knows that you are the ONLY Titan fan in Nashville, that everyone else that post here PRAISING the Titans is really just YOU as you many ALTER EGOS. Yet, when the MANY who post here to point out the Titans flaws, you are the first to label them as all coming from the same person!! Isn't that being CHILDISH??

By: NewYorker1 on 11/29/10 at 1:25

bfra, there's only two things I want from a man and Johnson looks like he can handle ALL of this. After that, he can go home Boo.

By: TITAN1 on 11/29/10 at 1:34

Yeah right jw, keep on believing that. Oh, and the local fans would be the thousands that flock to LP Field. Wow, it is a shame I had to explain that to you. LOL!

By: brrrrk on 11/29/10 at 1:39

I don't care who you are..... this is funny.


By: gdiafante on 11/29/10 at 2:19

Finnegan is a classless piece of trash. End of story.

I've never liked Fisher but I do feel sorry for him. Hopefully he'll get to move past this trainwreck of a franchise at the end of the season.

By: TITAN1 on 11/29/10 at 2:22


By: bfra on 11/29/10 at 2:55

From what I saw, Johnson was the instigator and that wasn't the first time he had yanked Finnegan's helmet off, Cortland Finnegan plays his position very well & is colorful. One of my favorites to watch! True Titan fans are backing Cortland and Titan1 that includes you, also.

Johnson's coach is 1 low life character for awarding him the game ball!

Although Bud Adams owns the Titans, he would serve the team better, to keep his nose out of the coaching and let Fisher do his job.

By: gdiafante on 11/29/10 at 3:04

Johnson the instigator? LOL

By: brrrrk on 11/29/10 at 3:18

bfra said

"From what I saw, Johnson was the instigator and that wasn't the first time he had yanked Finnegan's helmet off"

If you're referring to the previous play, well all I can say is that you better give the video another look over.... Finnegan clearly removes his own helmet when he turns away from Johnson. I thought like you until I carefully watched the video of the play.

As for who started what, I defer to ESPN NFL analyst (and former wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles (1987–89), the Minnesota Vikings (1990–2001) and the Miami Dolphins (2002)) Cris Carter, who said that among wide receivers there are a number of unspoken no nos, one of which is making a hit to the face or the head during a bump and run. In his words, if you do that, "It's on". And if you look at the video, Finnegan clearly takes a stiff arm jab at Johnsons face under the face guard.

Look, I'm no real Titans fan (or Texans fan for that matter), and I will give credit to the team where it's due.... but at the same time I'll also give blame where blame is due.

By: TITAN1 on 11/29/10 at 3:37

Johnson shoved Cortland in the back after the previous play. Cortland is no angel, but neither is Johnson. I got an alert that Johnson will not be suspended. Well then, there is no way Cortland will be suspended. If he is, you can bet the Titans will appeal.

By: TITAN1 on 11/29/10 at 3:40

Sometimes it is obvious that talking heads read a headline and do no research themselves. They would rather put a story out there which will be the most popular.

By: bfra on 11/29/10 at 3:49

brrrrk - I don't have it on video, but I'll try to find one. I watched several replays of it and didn't see any jab, but will look for that also, thanks.

By: brrrrk on 11/29/10 at 4:09

bfra said

"brrrrk - I don't have it on video, but I'll try to find one. I watched several replays of it and didn't see any jab, but will look for that also, thanks."

This is what Finnegan did at the beginning of the play (it came directly from the video).... and if you watch the video you'll see he went directly for the head. This was no, "Oops, my hands slipped" type of play.


By: richgoose on 11/29/10 at 4:42

Titan1.....You are correct they are only one game out in a division that has brought the Indianapolis Colts into the same quagmire as everyone else. The Titans have to start winning some games.

Rusty Smith sh-t all over the field Sunday. I don't see him getting better quickly if at all. He has the worst group of team mates that I can ever remember since the LP field was opened in 1998.

They should have beaten Miami and they should have beaten Denver before the team collapsed. I am a Jeff Fisher supporter even if they do not win another game
Someone however is responsible for having so many bad players on this team..

By: brrrrk on 11/29/10 at 5:00

richgoose said

"They should have beaten Miami and they should have beaten Denver before the team collapsed. I am a Jeff Fisher supporter even if they do not win another game
Someone however is responsible for having so many bad players on this team.."

I don't think it's an issue of having bad players. No one gets to this level if they don't have the skills. At this point I think it's an issue of being leaderless. For all of Fishers abilities to take care of all the prep work that it takes to get a team ready, the bottom line is that he can't be the leader on the field. And since the loss of McNair, and then Bullock, there has been no clear and definitive leader on the field. Sure, you can say that VY was the leader..... but that can only be said because there was no one else. He was simply the default leader due to his position. There really is no one on the team at this point who the rest of the guys can look to for any kind of leadership. What the Titans need is for someone..... anyone.... to step up and assume that leadership position. These guys are essentially a rudderless boat.

By: jwk6179 on 11/29/10 at 5:00

I got an alert that Johnson will not be suspended. Well then, there is no way Cortland will be suspended. If he is, you can bet the Titans will appeal.

Cortland Finnegan has already been FINED THREE TIME THIS SEASON for CHEAP SHOTS and LATE HITS, so HE is facing a POSSIBLE SUSPENSION for this incident where as this is the FIRST TIME THIS SEASON that Andre Johnson has been subjected to fines from the NFL. If I were Roger Gadell, I would SUSPEND Cortland Finnegan for the remainder of the season and ALL OF NEXT SEASON, also.

By: TITAN1 on 11/29/10 at 6:10

I hate to tell you, well not really, but Cortland and johnson got fined $25,000 and no suspension. Now, cry me a river.

By: jwk6179 on 11/29/10 at 6:32


By: TITAN1 on 11/29/10 at 6:56

Oh yeah, we are so different from other fans. Could it be that you are lost in the land of the TITANS and it just appears to you that everyone around you is wrong except you?

By: Just Sayin on 11/30/10 at 7:55