The Tennessee Titans had become an afterthought in the AFC, losing three of four and falling out of the top spot in the conference standings over the past month. Down by 10 points Thursday night, Tennessee rallied back to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 — all but sealing the AFC South title and keeping the Titans alive in the race for the top spot in the conference standings.
Don’t put dirt on the Titans’ grave just yet.
“You’ve got to be willing to take some shots and willing to bleed and be able to taste it and come back swinging,” Vrabel said, per the Titans’ website. “And that’s why it’s an honor to coach this football team. The guys care, do whatever they can do. It’s not always perfect. They took care of the football, complementary football.
“I mean … we had the funeral for the Titans. You know, it was yesterday or today. But we’re not dead yet. We’ll come back, and we’ll play the Dolphins next, right? That’s who we got in 10 days. This weekend is going to feel really good. I’m happy our players can rest and recover after getting a victory. Merry Christmas, guys.”
If the 49ers had held on and defeated Tennessee, the Indianapolis Colts could have tied the Titans for the AFC South lead with two games to play (Indianapolis would have had to pass Tennessee since the Titans swept the head-to-head matchup earlier in the year). The Titans once had a three-game lead on the Colts, making it fair to stake a claim the team was collapsing due to the injuries of Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown.
Brown returned in a big way Thursday, finishing with 11 catches for 145 yards and a touchdown in his first game since Week 11 (chest). Not only have the Titans gotten Brown back into the offense, but Henry is expected to be back by the first postseason game.
Hold the funeral reservations.
“Honestly, we don’t really pay attention to the doubters,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said after the game. “It’s been like that since I’ve been here. We don’t pay attention to that type of stuff.
“We just play our brand of football. We do what we do.”
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