The Titans earned a tough West Coast victory. Tennessee’s defense surrendered over 100 yards rushing and gave up several long passing plays, but the unit stepped up in the fourth quarter to prevent a 49ers comeback.
Chris Johnson was surprisingly effective, and Vince Young played another solid game to lead Tennessee to their second victory of the season.
Story of the Game: Hope springs eternal
Early in the fourth quarter, the 49ers ended a 15-play drive with a field goal to take a 20-17 lead. Quarterback Alex Smith, tight end Vernon Davis and running back Frank Gore had been successful against the Titans’ defense.
Tennessee responded with a touchdown drive. The next two 49er drives would be short… and sweet for the Titans.
Chris Hope intercepted Smith at San Francisco’s 39-yard line on 2nd and 8. Hope, who sacked Smith in the 3rd quarter, also made three tackles.
After the Titans added a field goal, Cortland Finnegan intercepted Smith and ran 39 yards for a touchdown to make the score 34-20. Finnegan tied Michael Griffin for the team lead with seven tackles.
The Other Story of the Game: Once is an accident, twice is a trend
The 49ers play aggressively against the run. Vince Young would have to make plays in the passing game, and he responded with 172 yards passing and no turnovers. Young made a few plays on the ground, scoring his first rushing touchdown of the year on a 7-yard run in the second quarter.
Young has been a difference maker for two weeks – and two victories – in a row.
Has Young done enough to secure himself a roster spot in 2010? Probably not, but if he continues to play this way, count on him receiving the bonus due to him next spring. More importantly, count on the Titans winning a few more games in 2009.
Did the Titans miss Albert Haynesworth?
Yes and no. Tennessee recorded four sacks but overall did not really contain Alex Smith and Frank Gore. Give credit to the secondary – Hope, Finnegan, Griffin, Vincent Fuller and Roderick Hood – for a great collective effort.
Props to Harris
Leroy Harris is listed as a 302 pound guard-center, but he was forced to play right tackle as David Stewart was hampered with a hamstring injury. According to Titans Radio announcers, Harris hasn’t played tackle since high school, but he did a solid job against the 49ers’ front seven.
Justin Gage led Titans receivers with four catches for 97 yards and had a spectacular leaping grab in the fourth quarter.
Chris Johnson scored two touchdowns, ran for 135 yards and caught two passes for 25 yards. If the Titans keep winning, Johnson might receive serious consideration for the league’s MVP award.
Next Week: Da Bills
If it’s possible for a 2-6 team to have a trap game, the game against Buffalo is it. Tennessee hopes to match the Bills win total by winning their third game of the season. I have confidence in the post-bye week Titans. Here’s hoping for three in a row.