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Titans vs Texans: The good, the bad and the ugly

Chaotic finishes are becoming the norm in the annual meeting in Houston between the Titans and the Texans. Last year, Vince Young’s unforgettable scamper into the end zone provided the Titans with a thrilling 26-20 overtime victory over the Texans. On Sunday, Kerry Collins’ clutch throw to Roydell Williams set the Titans up for Rob Bironas’ record-breaking 8th field goal in their wild 38-36 victory over the Texans.

Yesterday’s excruciating win consisted of several standout Titan performances as well as some forgettable ones.

The Good

Rob Bironas

Prior to yesterday’s contest, Bironas had successfully kicked 8 field goals through the uprights this year.  In one afternoon, he doubled his output for the season with an NFL record 8 field goal performance.

Kerry Collins

Collins performed his role as the team’s veteran QB backup to perfection yesterday. Stepping in for an injured Vince Young, Collins completed 25 of 42 passes for 280 yards, including a clutch throw to Roydell Williams that set up the game winning field goal. Collins was able to effectively manage the game and make the plays when the team needed him the most.

The running game

The Titans were able to accumulate 155 yards on the ground yesterday, led by LenDale White’s 104 yard rushing performance. Chris Henry, playing in his first NFL game, showed some glimpses of the talent that made him a second round selection in last year’s draft, displaying a nice combination of speed and power while also scoring his first NFL touchdown. It will be interesting to see if Henry can continue to produce when given the opportunity to carry the football.

The Bad

Red Zone Inefficiency

Masked by Rob Bironas’s impressive kicking display was the team’s inability to score in the red zone. The Titans converted touchdowns on only two of their nine attempts in Houston’s red zone yesterday. The Titans’ inability to score touchdowns opened the door for Houston’s stunning 4th quarter comeback by allowing them to stick around in a game they had no business being in.

The Ugly

4th quarter defense

For three quarters, the Titans did their best imitation of the 1985 Chicago Bears’ defense, stifling Houston’s offensive attack through the means of punishing hits and excellent defensive play. Quarterback Matt Schaub was knocked out of the game not once, but twice and the Titans’ physical defense forced six Houston turnovers.

Visions of the 85 Bears’ defense quickly faded into oblivion during the tumultuous 4th quarter, as the Titans’ defense allowed 29 points to the rejuvenated Houston offense. Sage Rosenfels all of a sudden became Tom Brady-like, connecting with Houston receivers for four touchdowns during the 4th quarter.

The Titans are now 4-2 and are emerging as a possible playoff contender in the extremely competitive American Football Conference. With yesterday’s inconsistent yet victorious performance behind them, the Titans must continue to improve if their dreams of reaching the postseason are to become a reality.