By Chris Johnson standards, his comments after Sunday’s victory over the Buffalo Bills were pretty low key.
After all, the Tennessee Titans star running back has said he thinks of himself in the same vein as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James when it comes to being a big-time playmaker. And this is the same guy who in training camp said he wanted to be known as “Every Coach’s Dream,” and has offered to buy cars for his offensive linemen if he rushes for 2,000 yards this season.
The only thing Johnson offered up after Sunday’s 41-17 victory that gave the Titans their third consecutive win was that the team’s goal is to win its final 10 games to finish 10-6.
“My confidence level is high right now. I’d say my confidence level
has been the same throughout the whole year,” Johnson said. “Basically, we weren’t winning and for us to get these three wins in a row, like I said earlier after we won our first game, our goal is to try to go 10-0 in these last games.”
Innocent enough. But to some Houston Texans players, the next team in line on the Titans’ schedule, Johnson’s comments apparently looked more like a prediction to them rather than a goal. The Titans visit the Texans for a Monday Night Football matchup this week.
“You have the running back going to the media, saying that they pull off a 10-6 record, and you know they’ve won three straight,” safety Bernard Pollard said.
Pollard pointed out that Johnson, who leads the NFL in rushing with 1,091 yards, has been the main cog in the Titans’ revival, rushing for 495 yards total in those three victories, plus adding 100 yards receiving on Sunday. But said he believes the Texans will be up to the task of slowing Johnson and the Titans and spoiling the quest to win out.
“He did make a prediction of some sort but nevertheless we’ve got to come and I think if our defense continues to keep playing like we’ve been playing and our offense continues to keep playing hard and be as explosive an offense as they can be, we’ve got a really good shot,” Pollard said. “Everybody’s feeling good, everybody’s fresh coming off the bye week, so we’re just getting back into the swing of things.”
Receiver Andre Johnson spoke about the so-called “prediction” as well.
“That’s his prediction. So far, he’s been right. They’ve been winning. Hopefully, we can change that on Monday,” the Texans star receiver said.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher said his players still have hopes and goals of salvaging the season, but said the focus has to stay on the task at hand.
“It’s been the case that we’ve just stayed focused on the next opponent the last three weeks. It’s worked for us and that’s clearly what we have to do this week,” Fisher said. “Players will talk and they have high hopes and expectations, but the bottom line is this: When we get together as a team, when they return back here, it’s all about the next game.”
Linebacker Keith Bulluck seemed to have things in the proper perspective for a Titans team that is playing better, but has virtually no margin for error in the standings.
“There’s no such thing as being invincible, but the feeling that we know we can beat and play with anyone in this league has definitely returned,” Bulluck said. “Right now, we’re just in a situation where we have to play the rest of our games, and if we win them all, maybe something good will happen for us.”