Today, the Titans proved to me that they can win the Super Bowl.
Chicago’s defense sold out to stop the Titans rushing offense. Offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger adjusted his playcalling, and Kerry Collins carried the Titans offense as they narrowly beat the Bears.
Story of the Game: Kerry Collins is the man
Before today’s game, Collins had completed 56.5 percent of his passes for 1,236 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. I had begun to wonder if Collins was good enough to carry this team through the playoffs into the Super Bowl.
And as a huge Vince Young fan, I’ve been reluctant to give it up for Kerry.
I am now a believer.
Chicago forced Collins to win the game for the Titans. The Bears defense held the Titans to -5 yards rushing in the first half and 20 yards rushing overall. Collins responded by completing 30 of 41 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns.
Heimerdinger deserves credit for being smart enough to abandon the running game and for putting the Titans offensive players in position to succeed.
Bo Scaife had a monster game today, catching 10 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Collins hooked up with Scaife on a huge third down conversion with 2:15 left on the clock. The play sealed the deal for the Titans.
Brandon Jones contributed with 8 catches for 82 yards, and rookie Lavelle Hawkins grabbed 2 catches for 26 yards.
The Other Story of the Game: Titans secondary contains Grossman
To his credit, beleaguered Bears quarterback Rex Grossman did not give the game to the Titans. However, he did throw one interception and was not particularly sharp until the fourth quarter.
Cornerback Eric King does not appear on the stat sheet, but he did a great job defending passes today. Cortland Finnegan had a typical All-Pro performance and made a key deflection near the end of the game while defending Devin Hester. Chris Hope caught the Titan’s lone interception.
20 yards rushing
Titans fans better hope that today’s rushing performance was an aberration and that the Bears did not uncover a formula for teams to challenge Tennessee. LenDale White and Chris Johnson could not find any running room at all until the fourth quarter, and with 22 yards between them, they obviously didn’t find much.
Fullback Ahmard Hall had a nightmare game. He fumbled on the Bears 1-yard line and was briefly knocked out of the game when he was tackled hard after dropping a pass.
VY did not play today, but I hope he noticed the boos from Bears fans directed toward Grossman. All quarterbacks who play poorly will be booed. Young will have an opportunity to turn boos into cheers in the future.
Next Week: Jacksonville Jaguars
Many prognosticators expected Jacksonville to enjoy the Titans success and for Tennessee to slip this season as Vince Young struggled with a shaky receiving corps. Now, the Jaguars are in disarray and the Titans are 9-0.
Jacksonville is always a tough opponent and is fighting for a wildcard spot. Tennessee must get its running game going and contain the dynamic duo of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.
A victory would effectively end Jacksonville’s season and lock the Titans into a playoff slot.
Watch video highlights of the Titans-Bears game by clicking here.