The Jets get the kickoff and start another methodical march that is beautiful to watch — if you’re a Green & White wearer. The blue-clad Titans fans, on the other hand, are sitting on their hands a little bit, being unused to trailing at home. It’s happened only once before this season, when Indianapolis opened a 14-6 third-quarter lead here, only to lose 31-21.
It’s another Brett Favre drive and another Dustin Keller drive. Keller converts a third-and-2 and also moves the chains by drawing two penalties, an interference and an illegal contact. Favre can’t hook up with Laveranues Coles on a third-and-7 slant from the Tennessee 12, but Jay Feely comes on to convert from 30 yards and the Jets open their lead to 13-3.
Then on the Titans’ first play after the ensuing kickoff, rookie RB Chris Johnson gets past the first level for an 11-yard gain — only to have the ball pried from his grip by S Abram Elam, with Bryan Thomas falling on the loose ball. Just before the Jets get off their first snap on offense, coach Jeff Fisher throws his red replay challenge flag on the field.
Referee Carl Cheffers reviews and states, "The ball is clearly out before the runner’s knee touches." Another Jets victory, as Tennessee loses a timeout for the failed challenge.
The Green marches on, to second-and-2 and then third-and-inches. Thomas Jones doesn’t pick it up the first time, does the second with a nice in-cut and second effort. First-and-goal at the 7. Then Leon Washington to the 1, then TJ on a yard loss. A touchdown would be nice here but can the visitors punch it in against this tough, proud Titans front?
As Marv Albert would say, yes.
Favre fakes left, then drifts back looking for something, something … there it is. No. 87, Laveranues Coles, has a step on CB Chris Carr and two other Titans defenders in the back of the end zone. Favre slings, Coles catches the bullet, he’s knocked over the end line … and the call is touchdown.
With 3:02 left the Jets have upped their advantage to 20-3. It is the largest deficit the 10-0 Titans have faced all season. What’s equally amazing: The Jets’ time of possession margin is now 31:13-10:45.
The Titans get back on the board but the Jets make it difficult, with the defense applying some pressure on Kerry Collins. The former Giants and Panthers QB hadn’t been sacked until Calvin Pace comes around the corner while the Jets DBs are covering well and swats the ball out of KC’s hand.
But the Titans recover and the 7 yards lost does nothing to Rob Bironas, who comes on and calmly, accurately insteps a 49-yard field goal through. There’s 12:50 to play and the Jets’ lead is down to 20-6.
That’s only two TDs … check that, make it three TDs. Leon has done it again.
Washington gets the handoff at the Jets 39, approaches the line, then bursts off the right side behind a pull block by Alan Faneca and a kickout by Chris Baker, and he’s off to the races. Only Titans S Chris Hope has a shot at him at the 15, but Hope tackles high, Washington shrugs him off, and eases across the goal line for a mind-blowing 61-yard TD run. Feely’s PAT makes it 27-6, Jets, with 11:07 to play.
The Titans won’t quit. They hit a big pass play, a leaping 37-yarder to Justin Gage against Darrelle Revis, and move to first-and-goal, from where Collins hits fullback Ahmard Hall, Bryan Thomas in coverage, for the hosts’ first TD of the day. It’s back to two TDs, Jets, 27-13, with 9:43 to go.
The Jets now are trying to run down the clock. The Titans almost force a punt from the Jets 39 — except that Chris Carr is called for pass interference on Laveranues Coles on the incompletion. The fans are as worked up about that first-down call as anything today, but Carr definitely grabs Coles around the waist as LC makes his break.
Then Jones rips off a 19-yard run up the middle to give him a hard-earned 91 for the day. The fans continue to boo but it’s not going to stop the Jets’ great victory and the Titans’ first loss of the season. There’s four minutes left.
And Carr gets beat down the sideline by Coles, grabs him briefly by the pads and gets flagged again. The Titans fans are howling and chanting, although I’m not sure about what. Maybe the pain of no longer being unbeaten.
From first-and-goal at the 6, Jones gets two runs, then Washington takes it the final 4 yards to drive a huge nail in the Tennessee coffin. It’s 34-13 now with 2:09 to go.
The Jets are now 8-3, the Titans 10-1. There is a case to be made that the Jets are the cream of the conference, although Pittsburgh may have an argument there. But I know one thing once I get into the visitors’ LP Field locker room: The Jets will be splitting time talking about the Titans and their next opponent, the Broncos at home, and letting everyone else do the looking ahead.
Eric Allen will have his game story up shortly and I’ll file my postgame Radar entry after the team flight gets back home tonight.
Tags: Brett Favre, Dustin Keller, Jay Feely, LP Field, Tennessee Titans
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