It was a cold night in Nashville. Code Blue was appropriate, but handing out t-shirts was very optimistic considering that (1) it was the biggest giveaway in Titan history and (2) it was cold. Did I mention that it was a bit chilly?
I haven’t worn that many clothes to a Titans game since the infamous Joe Nedney playoff game. Early in this contest, with the Titans down 7-3, there were premature fireworks. This would have spooked most kickers but Bironas was true. He missed another attempt later in the second quarter. After the Titans stifled a Colt drive near the end of the first half, Jeff Fisher seemed to waver regarding whether he should call a time-out or let the clock run down. I yelled “you’re still not winning!” in our very quiet section and two seconds later, Fisher relented. I really think that he heard us.
This was a gutsy performance by the Titans. There were signs that we were in a 2007 game. By that I mean the defense would make plays and the offense would not take advantage. Bogging down repeatedly prior to the red zone in the first half made the loud crowd quite nervous.
Did I mention that night games lead to crowds who are much more drunken in nature? The cheers can be louder but not as consistent. I think the beer vendors did poorly not because of the temperature but because the beer drinkers didn’t have the hand-eye coordination to get out money and their ID.
When the Colts took the 14-6 lead, the crowd had lost momentum. Our section has a bunch of regulars, but most of the lower seats have different fans every game. It was gut-check time. Like most teams on a roll, the Titans got a little help from the refs, or the Colts D, in their next drive. Justin Gage dropped a third-down pass and there was a pass interference call. Bo Scaife and Collins got their wires crossed but an illegal contact penalty moved things along. The drive improved as the team got closer. Collins hit Justin McCareins on one long third down and Brandon Jones on another.
After the TD, my dad and I had a fan moment. We argued that the Titans shouldn’t go for two, since I’m a big fan of not chasing points. The Titans went for it, and when they pulled off a nice play-action pass to Ahmad Hall, we both thought it was brilliant.
The crowd got excited after that. Then the defense decided to shut down the Colts. Kyle Vanden Bosch was out, and his backup got injured on the opening kickoff. That meant the D line didn’t get as much pressure as usual. Manning wasn’t sacked, and he was rarely pressured. The secondary picked it up. Every deep pass was knocked away.
In the fourth quarter it all came together. The running game finally picked it up and the defense sealed the game with a second Manning interception. The crowd was insane at that point. We walked back and I decided not to continue my run through the fountain streak. That was a good idea, because who wants to be superstitious in a year like this?
Pre-game note: There were promised “code blue” t-shirts. When we got through our section, there were no shirts, although most fans had one on. My parents went to their seats. I was determined to get a shirt. This is the first year since I’ve been a fan that I haven’t purchased a new Titan item, so this was my chance. I saw a woman putting about ten shirts, no doubt headed for ebay, into a backpack. At the next entrance there were boxes of shirts. I got the three that I had earned. Then I made the mistake of getting drinks while holding three shirts under my arm. My $4.50 coke in the souvenir glass spilled just as I was at the precipice of our section. It doesn’t always go smoothly.
Are the Titans the best team in the league? I don’t really care about that. What matters is the two-game lead for home field advantage and the four-game lead for the division. As my wife said on the phone during a semi-quiet moment, suck it, Timmy!