Work in Sports
Steve McNair completed 24-of-35 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns and the Titans established an NFL record with their 10th straight win in their new home, a 28-14 victory over the New York Giants McNair, who came back from a chest injury to engineer a fourth-quarter comeback against Pittsburgh last week, needed no late-game heroics against the Giants.
"He understands the offense and is putting us in positions to be successful," said running back Eddie George, who rushed for 125 yards on 35 carries and caught four passes for 52 yards. "He made great decisions, ran the ball well, and threw the ball with a lot of confidence."
Tennessee has won all 10 of its regular season games at Adelphia Coliseum, surpassing the 1971 Dallas Cowboys for the most consecutive wins to christen a new stadium. The Titans actually have won 11 in a row at home, including last season's wild card victory over Buffalo.
The Titans (3-1) defense quieted the Giants' "Thunder and Lightning" backfield of Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber, not allowing New York any offensive momentum until it was too late. Tennessee intercepted Kerry Collins three times and in all had four takeaways, after having just three through its first three games.
McNair and George, who rushed for more than 100 yards for the 24th time in his career, engineered three first-half scoring drives, and only a 40-yard field goal attempt by Al Del Greco that hit the upright and bounced back kept the Titans from a bigger lead.
"We talked all week about having a great break-out game and we had to decide to take this game over as an offense and get back to what we're used to and that's pound the ball with Eddie, mix it up and let Steve run around and make plays on the run," Titans tight end Frank Wycheck said.
Derrick Mason caught six passes for a career-high 103 yards and rookie Erron Kinney had five receptions for 60 yards.
The first time they touched the ball, the Titans marched 80 yards on nine plays, capped by McNair's 14-yard scoring pass to Wycheck, who had been listed as questionable as he was recovering from a concussion, to take a 7-0 lead.
Tennessee ate up nearly 10 minutes on a 19-play, 98-yard drive that ended with George's seven-yard run to take a 14-0 lead.
During the march the Titans were 6-for-6 on third-down conversions.
McNair continued the big half with a 29-yard TD pass to Mason, extending the lead to 21-0.
"I thought we played poorly. I thought Tennessee played well," Giants coach Jim Fassel said. "Obviously, the key to the first half is we couldn't get them off the field. We were playing pretty well on the first and second downs, but couldn't even stop them on third downs. Our offense had nothing going."
The Giants finally got on the board in the third quarter, when Collins found Ike Hilliard in the left corner from 14 yards out.
But Tennessee answered, driving 80 yards on 14 plays, capped by McNair's three-yard toss to Wycheck. During the drive McNair hit Kinney for 19 yards to move to the Giants' 39, scrambled 10 yards on a 3rd-and-8 to the 23, and then hit Mason with a 21-yard pass to put the ball on the 2.
Collins completed just 17-of-36 passes for 197 yards, with Amani Toomer catching five for 81 yards.
"We need to have things in place where we understand that we need to make plays coming into a game like this," Collins said.
"Coming on the road against a good football team, we had to have it our minds that we need to come out and play our best, especially to beat a team like this."
Barber carried the ball five times for two yards, and Dayne lost one yard on three carries. Collins was New York's leading rusher with 19 yards on three carries.
It was the second straight week that New York (3-2) has struggled offensively. Collins was sacked four times and threw a critical fourth-quarter interception in a 16-6 loss to the Washington Redskins last week, and Dayne and Barber were limited to 88 yards on 21 carries after averaging a combined 174 yards over the first three games.