This is the first time the Titans have scored 30+ points in three consecutive games since 2003 (the year Steve McNair was co-MVP). It is amazing the transformation this team has made coming out of the bye. We are all feeling good now, but the true test of how good this team is comes over the next three weeks. Houston, Arizona and Indianapolis all boast extremely dangerous passing attacks. The one thing that the Titans haven't exactly fixed yet is the big plays given up, and if they are going to win those games they are going to have to get that fixed.
We saw the first big play of the day yesterday on Buffalo's first offensive drive. I have no idea if they had given other teams the "wildcat" look yet, but the Titans safeties apparently had no idea it was legal to throw from the formation. Fred Jackson gave a little fake up into the line, the entire defense bit, and Lee Evans was all by himself for the 27-yard touchdown reception.
The Titans came right back and answered that score on their next drive. Again, it is just remarkable the transformation that Vince Young has made since the last time we saw him as "the guy" under center. He just adds a whole new dimension that has opened up a lot of stuff for Chris Johnson. That drive covered 80 yards and had a 19-yard reception by Nate Washington, a 17-yard reception from CJ and was capped off by CJ's 28 yard touchdown run. It is so much fun to watch a guy that is gone pretty much every time he gets the corner.
The defense stepped up on the next drive and forced a three and out. A nice return by Alvin Pearman set up a short field for the offense. Pearman had a very solid game yesterday averaging 20 yards per kick return (should have been higher but one big return got negated by a hold away from the play by August's boy Donnie Nickey) and 18 yards per punt return. The offense was able to capitalize on that field position after Vince hit Kenny Britt down the sideline for 38 yards. Two plays later VY found Washington for a 14-yard TD pass.The defense stepped up again on the next drive and the Titans were able to come away with a field goal on their ensuing drive. At that point it felt like the rout was on, but Buffalo answered with a TD on their next drive that was set up by, you guessed it, a big passing play. This time it came in the form of a Trent Edwards to Terrell Owens 48-yard gainer.
Vince's only interception of the day, and his three starts, came on the next possession. We talked quite a bit about that pick last night, and it is one that we can live with for a few reasons; the first being that it was actually a good read just a poor throw. Those happen (see Peyton's first pick last night). The second reason is because Bills safety Jairus Byrd made a heck of a play to get to that ball to pick it off. Byrd now has 8 picks in the 7 games he has started. The third is that taking shots like that, even if they aren't successful, helps keep the defense from loading up the box.
The defense was able to hold, and neither team would score again before the half. The Titans did line up to kick a 60 yard field goal before the end of the half that Bironas ended up way short on. That set up one of the scariest plays in football with an athletic guy, in this case Jackson, running with the ball in his hands against the guys out there to block for the field goal attempt. Luckily Craig Stevens and Michael Roos were able to bring Jackson down without any damage.
The Bills opened the second half with another....wait for it...big pass play to T.O. on a play where it looked like T.O. could have fought for extra yardage had he cared anything about the game that was going on, but instead he just stepped out of bounds. The defense was able to step up and hold the Bills to a field goal that tied the game at 17.
There wouldn't be anymore scoring in the 3rd quarter. CJ got his second TD of the game early in the 4th quarter, this time a 1-yard run where he bounced off two would be tacklers, and finally the rout (and sprinkler apparently) was on.
The Titans would get a 51-yard field goal from Bironas, a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown and 31-yard interception return for a touchdown before the 4th quarter was over.
This three game winning streak has been fun, but the toughest 3 game stretch of the remaining schedule is no ahead. For now let's enjoy this win, but maybe in a different way than Bud.