Despite a convincing 31-12 victory over the Houston Texans, the Tennessee Titans weren’t satisfied with their play Sunday at LP Field.
The Titans’ offense managed just three points in the second half after putting up 21 in the first half, while the defense struggled early, giving up 104 first-half yards to Texans rookie Steve Slaton before tightening up in the second half.
When it was over, the Titans were happy to be 3-0 and owning a two-game lead in the AFC South — thanks in part to Jacksonville’s upset at Indianapolis.
“There are some things we continue to leave out on the field that we’ve got to clean up,” tight end Alge Crumpler said. “It’s good to be on a team capable of winning by this margin and still be capable of cleaning up some things. I love the attitude of our guys, and I think it’s only going to get better.”
Specifically, the Titans had an interception and lost a fumble in two of their first three possessions, and were penalized eight times for 75 yards, including three personal foul penalties.
Both of the Texans’ longest gains from scrimmage — Slaton’s 50-yard run in the first half and Matt Schaub’s 49-yard pass to Andre Davis — had personal foul penalties tacked on to the end of the run.
When it was over, several Titans players echoed what Crumpler said about needing to improve even in a 19-point victory.
“There’s a lot of things we can still work on, but no matter when you win or how you win, it’s all about winning, and we did win today,” said running back LenDale White, who had two rushing touchdowns. “We’re going to go back and correct this tape. We’ve got to get some things corrected, but at the same time we did win today, and we’re excited about it.”
Added linebacker Keith Bulluck, “We’re just very demanding as a defensive squad. We’d like to give up less yards, but we’ll take a win anytime.
“The running back [Slaton, 116 yards] had a pretty successful day, and we don’t like that, but we only gave up one touchdown and two field goals, so we love that. When you’re doing that, and the offense is moving the ball, it’s hard to complain about anything.”
YOUNG SIGHTING: Vince Young, out with a knee injury and benched for the foreseeable future, watched Sunday’s game from one of the coaches boxes at LP Field.
After the game, Young traded a few handshakes with some teammates before quickly departing.
QUICK MOVE: After Justin McCareins’ 37-yard reception on the sideline in the second quarter, the Titans made sure to hurry up and get the ball snapped before the Texans could give any serious consideration to challenging the call. Houston had already lost an earlier challenge and had one remaining.
“I didn’t see any replays, and I’m not sure I wanted to,” said McCareins, who had four catches for 90 yards.
Kerry Collins said he made sure to get to the line quickly to limit the Texans’ chances of seeing any replays.
“I didn’t see the play. I didn’t know what happened,” Collins said. “All I did know was that we practice it all the time and we’re aware of the situation that if there is a questionable call, we want to get up and run a play and it worked for us.”
MILESTONE: Collins became the third active NFL quarterback and the 15th overall to eclipse the 35,000-yard mark in his career. It came on a 17-yard completion to McCareins in the second quarter.
But that might not have been the most impressive stat of the day for the 35-year-old quarterback. He also had 30 yards rushing, including a 17-yard scramble and a 12-yard scramble, both for first downs.
Asked when the last time he had been timed in the 40-yard dash was, Collins replied, “At the Combine, about 800 years ago. I think they used a calendar to time me.”
Still, Collins has lost about 15 pounds this season and is down to 229 pounds and said, “I’d put Kerry Collins at 35 up against Kerry Collins at 25 in a race right now.”
As for reaching 35,000 yards, Collins was pleased to join only Brett Favre and Peyton Manning as active players with that milestone.
“It’s hard to remember where they all came from, but it’s a nice milestone, and I’m proud of it,” Collins said.
PICK SIX: Michael Griffin intercepted two passes on Sunday, giving him three for the season, but was overshadowed by Cortland Finnegan, who got one and now has four for the year. Oh, and Finnegan took his back a franchise-record 99 yards for a touchdown.
When he scored, Finnegan took a leap to greet fans in the south end zone.
“I’ve always loved Green Bay and Brett Favre, and the Lambeau Leap, so I just wanted to make it the Titans leap or the Nashville Leap, the LP Leap or whatever you want to call it,” he said.
Griffin’s first interception of Matt Schaub in the first quarter was an amazing athletic play, as he made a break on the ball and tipped it up while falling down. While sliding on the ground, he batted the ball with his left hand to a position where he could catch it lying down before skidding out of bounds.
“After I landed, I looked up and saw that I was still in bounds. I just wanted to make sure I kept control of it before I slid out of bounds,” Griffin said.
OPPORTUNITY: Eric King came off the bench in the second half and made a pair of key plays in replacing Nick Harper, who appeared to re-injure his ankle.
King had a key tackle in the red zone with an open-field stop of Kevin Walter on third-and-goal at the 1, for a one-yard loss. On the play before, he broke up a corner route pass to Andre Davis at the last minute.
“I just tried to take advantage of my opportunities. I could see a situation where the ball was going to come to me. It was late in the game, and I just wanted to accept the challenge,” King said. “If I was the offensive coordinator, and I saw a new guy coming in, I would definitely test him. He’s coming off the bench a little cold right into the middle of the game, and those guys are trying to get back on the board. So it’s going to come at you.”
SHUTTING IT DOWN: Collins did not attempt a single pass in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, on the heels of throwing just one pass in the fourth quarter of last week’s win over Cincinnati.
EFFICIENT: The Titans continued their red-zone resurgence by scoring touchdowns on all three possessions inside the Texans’ 20, making them 7 for 8 thus far this season with 52 total points in the red zone.