Life in the NFL
Win over Jags should finally silence critics
THIS was a huge, huge, HUGE win against the Jacksonville Jaguars this past weekend. Nobody outside of our organization gave us a chance to win, especially after Jacksonville dismantled the Colts the week before. This was one of the most exciting games I have ever been a part of, and if you didn't catch it live, it is hard to do it justice.
Our win against Jacksonville pushed our winning streak to five games, the longest in the NFL. If one were to look at the stats of this game, it would be hard to imagine our team being the victors. For example, the Jaguars offense had possession of the ball for more than 44 minutes, in comparison to our 15 minutes. The Jaguars offense outscored ours 21-3. Jacksonville also converted 23 first downs to our five, and was 10-for-19 in third-down conversions, while we went 0-for-8. When you are able to move the ball, control the clock and put up scores, it is very likely that your team is headed toward a victory. That wasn't the case Sunday.
While our defense did bend, we certainly didn't break. On a day when our offense was struggling to move the ball, our defense stepped it up and took the scoring into our own hands.
Sparked by a huge, 83-yard interception return for a touchdown by Pacman Jones, our defense answered the call. We scored three TDs -- also an interception return by Chris Hope and a 92-yard fumble return by Cortland Finnegan. As a unit, our defense played very well against one of the more potent offenses in the NFL.
Despite Jacksonville QB David Garrard's athleticism and mobility, our defense was able to get pressure on him all game, forcing him out of the pocket and to make tough throws. We tallied six sacks that day, our best output of the season, creating opportunities for our secondary to capitalize on the three INTs thrown by Garrard. Despite being on the field for what seemed like 100 plays, our defense stepped it up this week and won the game for us.
Like I said, it was a very exciting game to be a part of. At times it was so loud on the field that you couldn't hear yourself think. We certainly had the home-field advantage and were energized by our fans. I must say, I don't think I have ever felt so drained after a game.
This game shows how good our team really is. Despite our four-game winning streak leading into this game, critics still doubted our ability to beat a Jacksonville-caliber team. But we have beaten the Colts and the Jaguars now. On top of that, we now have an outside chance at a wild-card spot in the playoffs. A lot needs to happen for us to get in, but nobody expected us to be in this position this season. Hopefully the critics will start to give us credit.
We still have a lot of work to do to become an elite team. We are learning how to win. We are playing up to our talent and we are reintroducing the Titans to the league.
This week we play the Bills in Buffalo, always a tough place to play. But we are excited for the challenge.
Before I go, I want to wish all my family, friends and fans back home a very Merry Christmas. I also want to wish my Warriors the best as they represent for all of us in their bowl game against Arizona State.
Former UH lineman Travis LaBoy is chronicling his season with the Tennessee Titans for the Star-Bulletin