Jake Plummer broke out of his slump with a nearly perfect start and kept the Denver Broncos in the playoff race.
Plummer passed for 303 yards and two touchdowns, and Reuben Droughns scored three TDs as the Broncos beat the Tennessee Titans 37-16 to stay in at least a tie for the AFC's final wild-card slot going into the final week of the season.
Denver (9-6) had lost three of its previous four games with two of those losses to teams with losing records, including a 45-17 rout last week at Kansas City. Plummer hurt Denver more than he helped with nine interceptions and only two touchdowns during that stretch.
Against a defense missing six starters, Plummer was intercepted once, giving him an NFL-high 20 this season. But otherwise, he was superb.
"I'm just happy we got a win. Hey, I can actually say 'Merry Christmas' now and mean it," Plummer said.
The Broncos gave coach Mike Shanahan his 100th career regular-season victory with the franchise by handing his friend, Titans coach Jeff Fisher, his worst home loss in six seasons at The Coliseum. Seeing such a performance from his heavily criticized quarterback didn't hurt either.
"For him to come back and fight the way he did under the circumstances, I was pleased," Shanahan said.
The past month hadn't been easy for Plummer, who struggled both on the field and off, even paying a fine last week for an obscene gesture. He couldn't have started this game much better.
He completed his first eight passes, had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in the first quarter and was 10-for-11 for 144 yards early in the second. He helped Denver score on its first three possessions for a 17-3 lead. He had a 23-yard TD pass to Droughns on the first drive for a lead the Broncos never relinquished.
Plummer was not sacked and finished 21-for-26.
"It is always good for a quarterback to have confidence, especially after all of the criticism," Denver receiver Ashley Lelie said. "For him to step up and play like he did just shows what type of character he has. We all thank Jake for playing as well as he did."
Denver handed the Titans (4-11) their fifth consecutive loss by shutting down Billy Volek, who was trying to become the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 400 yards in three consecutive games.
Reggie Hayward had three of the Broncos' six sacks, and the defense also forced two turnovers and limited Tennessee to a season-low 153 yards of offense. The Titans dropped to 1-6 at home this season before a stadium that was nearly empty in the final minutes on the cold Christmas night.
"We wanted to bounce back," Hayward said. "We got embarrassed last week. We wanted to come back with a strong showing against Tennessee."
The Broncos even knocked Volek out of the game in the fourth quarter with a bruised left knee, forcing the Titans to use Doug Johnson for the first time this season, with Steve McNair wearing street clothes on the sideline because of his bruised chest.
Volek was 8 of 20 for 111 yards. X-rays of his knee were negative.
"It's the Bad News Bears this year," Volek said. "I don't know what's going on, but everybody's banged up."
The Broncos held the ball for more than 39 minutes and rolled up 496 yards. Droughns rushed 22 times for 91 yards, scored on a 23-yard pass from Plummer and had TD runs of 8 and 23 yards. Jason Elam kicked field goals of 22, 22 and 30 yards.
"We didn't make enough plays to stay on the field," Titans left tackle Brad Hopkins said. "They controlled the clock. They did everything we were trying to do, which is a rare thing for this football team."
The Titans have given up at least 31 points in each game during this skid, the franchise's longest since an 11-game streak in 1994.
Denver led 24-16 at halftime because Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck picked off Plummer's pass and set up punter Craig Hentrich for a career-long 50-yard field goal as time expired. Gary Anderson also kicked field goals of 44 and 43 yards.
Tennessee, which lost two more starting lineman to injuries, didn't score again.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Sunday, December 12, 2004
The schedule-maker can be cruel sometimes. After chasing the NFL's No. 1 offense last week, the Titans will take on the No. 2 offense when the Chiefs come by for a Monday night matchup. "It is hard to imagine they are 4-8 and yet averaging 28 points a game, but they are," Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said. Five of the seven defensive linemen who are expected to play are rookies, as is Michael Waddell, who will start in place of injured cornerback Samari Rolle. "Mike's got his hands full, but so does Rich Gardner and the rest of the secondary." Once again, running back Chris Brown is sitting out practice but expected to play. Fisher will wait until game time to decide if quarterback Steve McNair will start. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET.
Monday, November 08, 2004
One of the high points for the Titans in the first half of the season has been the production of running back Chris Brown. At the seasons mid-point, Brown ranks second in the NFL in rushing with 810 yards, while ranking second in average yards per carry among full-time running backs.
Brown’s performance has not only surprised football fans around the country, but even Brown himself.
“It’s a real surprise to me that I have done this well,” Brown said. “The offensive line has played with a lot of confidence and that has made it easy on me.”
Brown entered the 2004 season taking over for former Titans star Eddie George. The second-year running back has proven that he fills the shoes well.
“Eddie is a legend around here and I learned a lot from him,” said Brown, who mentored under George his rookie season a year ago. “I have just taken it all in stride. I now need to work on being consistent like Eddie was for so long here.”
So far this season, the only one stopping Brown has been Brown himself. He has struggled through a few nagging injuries, yet still has managed to rank among the NFL rushing leaders.
“The numbers are there and the production is there,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “We just need to see the consistency week after week. We’ve got to get past the injury things that have caused him to either miss practice time or miss game time.”
Brown did not practice last week due to a turf toe injury suffered at Minnesota, but he still managed to produce an impressive 147-yard, one touchdown performance in a 27-20 Titans victory against Cincinnati on Sunday.
“Everybody in this league is dinged up, but you have to find a way to get out there,” said Brown. “You have to go out there and get it done. I wanted to prove everybody wrong and prove that I can play with pain.”
Brown’s teammates took notice of his heroic effort to sacrifice his body for the betterment of the club.
“I think (Steve) McNair is rubbing off on him,” QB Billy Volek said. “He did a great job. When you have a running back like that and give him the ball he’s going to raise your level of play.”
As the season heads to the back half, Brown plans to prove that his performance is just the beginning of many more good things to come.
“We just finished the first half,” Brown said. “It’s how you finish, not how you start. I’m going to keep working hard and hopefully we can all do well as a team during these last eight regular season games.”
Monday, September 27, 2004
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Chris Brown, making his first start as Eddie George's replacement, set up a touchdown with a 52-yard run, the Titans' longest since 1998. Brown gained 100 yards in 16 carries but sat out the second half with a sprained left ankle
Although Brown sprained his ankle, I am confident he will continue to pump out great games. And on the upside, Eddie George hasn't been up to his old standards in Dallas either, so maybe it was for the best. Steve Mcnair didn't have one of his greatest throwing games(only 14 passes) but he still played a great game. Lets hope we can keep this up. Although the Dolphins have been pretty weak since the whole Ricki Williams controversy, I am confident that it wasn't just a one time things. Lets get our players back in shape and get out there Titans!
Friday, September 03, 2004
He still might get a parade someday, and the Titans may even retire his No. 27. But he said Wednesday that he is too busy playing with his new team -- the Dallas Cowboys -- to think about what he calls a business decision.
``I have no animosity toward the organization,'' he said in a conference call with reporters in Tennessee.
Lets hope we can do better against the Packers, and the good news is we have taken a 7-0 lead as of right now. Go Titans!
Saturday, August 21, 2004
Saturday, August 14, 2004
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Date Opponent Time/Result
Aug. 14 Cleveland 8:00 p.m.
Aug. 21 at Buffalo 7:00 p.m.
Aug. 30 at Dallas 8:00 p.m.
Sept. 3 Green Bay 8:00 p.m.
Date Opponent Result
Sept. 12 at Miami 1:00 p.m.
Sept. 19 Indianapolis 1:00 p.m.
Sept. 26 Jacksonville 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 3 at San Diego 4:15 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Green Bay 9:00 p.m.
Oct. 17 Houston 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Minnesota 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 31 Cincinnati 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 7 Open Date
Nov. 14 Chicago 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 21 at Jacksonville 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 28 at Houston 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 5 at Indianapolis 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 13 Kansas City 9:00 p.m.
Dec. 19 at Oakland 4:15 p.m.
Dec. 25 Denver 8:30 p.m.
Jan. 2 Detroit 1:00 p.m.
All times are Eastern