It wasn’t easy, and it certainly wasn’t pretty but the Tennessee Titans came from behind to claim a 17-14 victory over the visiting Denver Broncos today at L.P. Field.
The biggest negative of the day is that of the health of star wide receiver Kenny Britt’s right knee, which was injured when he was hit on a crossing route by Broncos defensive back Cassius Vaughn with5:55 left in the first half.
Britt immediately grabbed his knee on the ground and fumbled the football, which was recovered by Denver’s Robert Ayers . He had to be assisted to the sideline by team trainers and was immediately loaded on a cart and taken to the locker room.
Britt was able to walk out of the locker room after the game, though he was wearing a large metal brace on the injured knee.
“Im ok,” said Britt. “My status is I’m limping.”
The extent of te injury is not known as Britt still must have an M.R.I. to diagnose the extent of the injury. The worst case scenario is a torn A.C.L. which would likely mean the end of his season.
“The usual, we will know tomorrow,” said Head Coach Mike Munchak. “He is getting tested, his knee, obviously it didn’t look good when he got hurt.”
Britt’s injured was the worst part of an ugly game that included multiple confrontations between both teams and the Titans earning 11 penalties for 80 yards.
Denver on the other hand was whistled for just one penalty on the day, a 15 yard facemask call late in the 4th quarter.
There was certainly controversy early concerning the Broncos defense.
On the Titans fist offensive possession center Eugene Amano was flagged for a false start penalty which drew the wrath of quarterback Matt Hasslebeck and the Titans offense who complained that Denver’s defense was simulating the snap count.
“Well the defense was simulating the cadence, and number 99 (Former Titans Kevin Vickerson) was doing it all day,” said offensive guard Jake Scott. “He’s done that in the past and we played them last year he did it the whole game.”
There were some positives for the Titans.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had another strong day throwing the football, finishing the day 27 of 36 for 311 yards and two score. He did not throw an interception and a 119.1 passer rating.
Hasselbeck once again was able to spread the passes around, connecting with 11 different receivers on the day.
Nate Washington lead all receivers with 8 catches for 92 yards and one score while Chris Johnson, who was held to just 21 yards rushing on 13 tries added 54 yards on two receptions .
Tight ends Craig Stevens and Daniel Graham each had only one grab on the day but both were key to the Titans victory.
On a first and ten from their own 17 yard line, Hasslebeck found Stevens running open for a 58 yard gain to the Broncos 25 yard line. Graham would end the drive with the winning score 3 plays later when he caught a 4 yard pass from Hasslebeck for the winning score.
“When they called that pla in the huddle, I knew it was coming to me and I knew I was going to make the catch,” said Graham. ”I took my man inside and cut it back out and was wide open.”
Graham continued that, “When I saw I was open I knew the pass was coming and I was going to catch it. After I made the catch, I just reacted and threw the ball into the stands, and I hope it made some fan happy as I was at that moment.”
After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, it took the Titans just 3:116 seconds of the second quarter for Hasslebeck to connect with Washington to tie the score.
The Titans held a 10:18 to 4:42 time of possession advantage in the second quarter but could only add a 46 yard Rob Bironas field goal to take a 10-7 lead into the halftime break.
Denver would score in the third quarter to take a 14-10 advantage after a 16 play drive covering 80 yards and using 8:04 before quarterback Kyle Orton (24-39, 173 yards and 2 TD’s)found running back Willis McGahee for a five yard touchdown pass.
Denver would have another golden opportunity to put the game away early in the 4th quarter after driving after driving to the Titans one with 13:33, but McGahee was stopped by Derrick Morgan and the Titans defense on a fourth down play.
The teams exchanged punts before the Titan took over at their own five with 7:54 left to play.
It took Hasselbeck and the Titans offense just 7 plays and 3:26 to drive 95 yards for the game winning score.
“You know we’verun that play a bunch in practice and he’s never been open,” said Hasselbeck referring to Graham’s game winning score.
The Titans, now 2-1 still have a lot of improvement left according to Munchak.
“Well anytime you win in the league like I said as I watch that game there are a lot of things we all know we can do batter,” said Munchak. “We can sit here, and we will as a staff, pick apart the stuff we can do better for the next one.”
That next one is next Sunday when the Titans travel to Cleveland (2-1) to take on the Browns for a noon kickoff at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Browns are 2-1 for the first time since 2002.