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News » Fourth-down gambles pay off for the Titans


Fourth-down gambles pay off for the Titans


Fourth-down gambles pay off for the Titans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ? As the only quarterback this season to produce a passer rating higher than 100 against the Steelers, Kerry Collins of the Tennessee Titans had plenty to say following Sunday's big 31-14 win at LP Field.


"To beat a team like the Steelers, you've got to be aggressive," said Collins, who was 20 of 29 for 216 yards and a touchdown for a 102.1 rating.

Twice, the Titans went for it on fourth down against the Steelers. Both times, the gamble paid off.

The first time, on fourth and inches from the Steelers' 21 in the third quarter, Collins sucked in the defense before making a quick pitch to rookie running back Chris Johnson. With only cornerback Ike Taylor to beat outside, Johnson - who ran a 4.2 in the 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine - make a quick cut and scored standing for a 17-14 Tennessee lead.

"The first one was kind of feast or famine," Collins said. "You take a chance of pitching it in the backfield. We had a pretty good idea that Chris would be one on one with the corner. I got the ball to him, and he made him miss and then the rest."

The "rest" was a quick touchdown in response to Ben Roethlisberger's 21-yard scoring toss to Hines Ward earlier in the quarter.

"It's a fullback (isolation), so they have to choose to go to the fullback or me," said Johnson, who finished with 69 yards on 16 carries. "It leaves me one on one with a cornerback or a safety, and it was a corner."

Looking later to expand its lead and control the clock, Tennessee went for it again in the third quarter on fourth down.

This time, offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger called for a pass on fourth-and-3 at the Steelers' 30. Collins hit receiver Justin Gage for 17 yards.

Following an unsportsmanlike penalty against Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke on a fourth-down field goal attempt, Tennessee regained possession and took a 24-14 lead on LenDale White's 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

"The second (time), we were playing the game with their defense and their corners," said Collins, a Penn State product who was sacked only once. "Sometimes their corner would run with the receiver, and sometimes he would come off. In that particular play, he came off with (tight end) Bo (Scaife), and I was able to hit Justin in the hole.

"I think a lot of credit goes to the coaches. We came in with a great game plan. I thought that (Heimerdinger) made several aggressive calls. Certainly, the two big fourth-down ones were huge. I think we executed very well."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 23, 2008

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Trai Essex Name: Trai Essex
#79
Position: OL
Age: 25
Experience: 4 years
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