JOE BIDDLE: Titans beat Jeff Fisher's St. Louis Rams - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Titans beat Jeff Fisher's St. Louis Rams

Posted: Updated: Nov 3, 2013 08:51 PM

Both coaches downplayed the all too obvious past relationships between the Titans and the Rams.

Right. There was nothing unusual about Titans Coach Mike Munchak going against former Titans coach and his longtime boss, Jeff Fisher. And I refuse to buy into the Fisher mantra that it was just another game.

I tell you what it really was: a family feud with helmets strapped on tight.

These two franchises have more ties than Brooks Brothers.

Fisher had coached the Titans 16-plus seasons before the late owner Bud Adams decided it would be best to part ways. After a year out of football, Fisher was hired by the Rams.

Fisher took former Titans coaches Chuck Cecil and Dave McGinnis with him. He hired former Titans linebacker Joe Bowden as linebacker coach. Munchak hired assistant coach George Henshaw on his staff. Henshaw was with Fisher a number of years, only to be let go by him.

And when former Titans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had his Bountygate probation lifted, Fisher would not retain him on the Rams staff. That allowed Munchak to add Williams to the Titans staff.

St. Louis featured former Titans Cortland Finnegan, Jared Cook and Will Witherspoon.
It proved to be one of the more spicy games of the season.

There were three ties with four lead changes before the Titans slipped out of town with a 28-21 win that put the brakes on a three-game losing streak.
 
"For a lot of reasons we all know how important this game was to us,'' Munchak said. "It was a big win for us. We hadn't won (a game) in over 30 days.

"It started out like it was going to be a 10-7 game, then all the scoring started.''

The three-game losing streak wore on the Titans, perhaps more mentally than physically.

Munchak was proud of the way his team handled the mental part.

"When you lose in this league, it's tough. Especially when you lose three in a row. But we hung together. We still had a lot of confidence in ourselves.''
 
Statistics failed to tell the whole story of the Titans win.

Quarterback Jake Locker was 13 of 22 for 185 yards through the air, but suffered two interceptions, one by Finnegan. He failed to throw a touchdown pass and his quarterback rating was a dismal 32.5, but when it came to crunch time, it was Locker and a strong running game led by Chris Johnson that paved the way to the winning touchdown with 2:54 left in the game.

Johnson had approached Munchak during last week and asked if the running backs and the offensive line could meet after the Thursday practice. Munchak gave the idea a thumbs-up.

"We got together and talked, just correcting some small things,'' Johnson said after the game.

"My offensive line covered those guys up and pushed them back. It showed the (offensive line's) young guys we're capable of doing that.''

They not only had four rushing touchdowns during the game, but for the first time this season the Titans scored on the first possession of the game and the first possession of the second half.

It was perhaps Johnson's most memorable game in recent years. Not only did he beat his former coach, but Johnson picked up 150 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns.

It was a picture of what type team the Titans thought they would put on the field this season. But it has taken time to work three new players in on the offensive line and Sunday's game proved to be a marked improvement with backup running back Shonn Greene adding to the formula with nine runs for 38 yards and a touchdown.

When Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens fumbled the ball away to the Titans late in the fourth quarter the two teams were tied at 21-all. Johnson ran the ball 19 yards for the winning touchdown on the next play.

"We all felt we would get back on track with the running game.'' Locker said.

And, that they did.

Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

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