JOE BIDDLE: Titans get cold shoulder from Manning - WKRN News 2

JOE BIDDLE: Titans get cold shoulder from Manning


When Peyton Manning was trying to decide which NFL team he would play for after being let go by the Colts, one of his stops was in Nashville.

He had a private workout at Knoxville Webb High School with Titans coaches. He spent eight hours watching film at the Titans' practice facility with Coach Mike Munchak and others before signing a free agent contract with the Broncos. Talk about letting a fox in the henhouse.

Manning always does his homework on time. He undeniably had the Titans' number Sunday. It was a 51-28 Mile High mauling.

Manning was masterful, throwing four touchdown passes as the Broncos showed the distance between them and an also-ran Titans team that cries for a complete makeover.

The Broncos rolled up 39 first downs to the Titans 15. They ran 91 plays for 551 yards. The Titans got a puny 254. The Broncos were five of seven inside the red zone and held the ball just short of 40 minutes.

The Titans showed no improvement, especially after a competitive first half in which (gasp) the Titans held the lead. But they were outscored 31-7 in the second half, as they dropped to 5-8 on the season. It secured the AFC South title for Indianapolis and I expect Munchak should receive a thank-you card from the Colts.

The Titans came out strong in the first half. Leading 14-10, the Titans faced a fourth-and-one from near the 50-yardline. It was arguably Munchak's best outside the box decision this season.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a swing pass to Chris Johnson for a long gainer. On the ensuing play, running back Shonn Greene took a handoff 28 yards to the end zone, putting the Titans on top, 21-10.

It is those kind of situations where the Titans have to take chances. What do they have to lose? They were 12-point underdogs, playing on the road in Arctic conditions and facing one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

They needed all the points they could muster. Manning was on the other sideline and oblivious to the frostbite conditions.

The former University of Tennessee star worked his magic, calmly taking his team on a touchdown drive just before halftime to slice the lead to 21-17. When the Titans went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, Manning wasn't finished.

Out of timeouts, the Broncos moved to their own 46-yardline with seven seconds left before intermission. Matt Prater lined up an NFL record 64-yard field goal attempt and nailed it with room to spare.
The Titans clung to a 21-20 halftime lead, but it was short-lived as the Broncos went ahead after taking the second half opening kickoff and completing the go-ahead touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas. It was Manning's 44th touchdown pass of the season.

With Manning's favorite target, Wes Welker, on the sidelines for the rest of the game with a concussion, Manning did what quarterbacks of his status do. He kept driving more nails in the Titans coffin. Knowshon Moreno's 12th touchdown of the year was all the insurance the Broncos needed. It marked 24 unanswered points for the Titans defense.

Manning distributed the mail to eight different receivers, led by Eric Decker's eight grabs, followed by Thomas with seven.

And we were led to believe all week that Manning doesn't fare well in sub-freezing temperatures? He looked pretty cool to me.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at 

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