In Control of Their Fate; Titans Top Jets 10-6

Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Tony Brown, left, is congratulated by linebacker Keith Bulluck, right, after Brown sacked New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington to stop a late Jets drive in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2007. The Titans held on to win 10-6.
When Sunday began the Titans needed what was thought to be a Christmas miracle to be still in the playoff race in the AFC when the day ended. As it stands now, they are not only in the race, but they actually control their own destiny heading into a week 17 showdown with the AFC South champion Colts. With the Browns losing to the Bengals earlier in the day and the Titans narrow escape of a 10-6 win over the Jets, the Titans simply need to beat Indy on Sunday night at the RCA Dome to make it as the 6th seed in the conference and a game at either San Diego or Pittsburgh.

Nothing comes easy for the Titans, and Sunday it was that way again, as beating the now 3-12 Jets was not exactly a piece of cake. It was a sloppy outing for the offense, which saw Vince Young have another tough day, getting sacked three times and giving up two turnovers. On the day he was just 12-for-22 for 166 yards with no TD’s. The team needed every yard it got from gutsy LenDale White, who ran for 103 yards on 23 carries. Chris Brown got the only Titans TD of the day, coming on a four-yard run with 14:23 left in the second quarter.

From there, it was mostly about hanging on for the Titans, who used a solid day on defense to stop a Jets team that managed 296 yards, but only crossed the goal line once. Chad Pennington threw for went 26-for-32 for 264 yards, but was sacked six times for negative 36 yards and threw two INT’s. The Jets did score once, on a 9-yard pass to Jerricho Cotchery, but the team missed the extra point, allowing the Titans to maintain a one-point lead.

The Titans put together a 4 minute drive in the third quarter, going 58 yards in 9 plays and ending with a clutch Rob Bironis 46-yard field goal to make it a four-point game at 10-6 midway through the third quarter. The Jets four second half possessions went punt, punt, punt, and downs to basically end the game. They managed just 91 second half yards.

So now it comes down to next week, as the Titans need to top the Colts, a team with nothing at all to play for. Of course they will know 100 percent when they take the field if they need the win or not, as the Browns play the 49’ers in the afternoon. If the Niners land an upset in Cleveland, the Titans can take it easy. If Cleveland wins, the Titans are in a must win as well.

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