Bironas' field goal in OT lifts Titans past Packers

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rob Bironas wanted a chance at redemption.

The Tennessee Titans gave it to their All-Pro kicker, who made sure their run as the NFL's lone unbeaten team continues for another week.

Bironas kicked a 41-yard field goal with 9:36 to go in overtime that kept the Titans perfect with a 19-16 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The kicker had a chance to win in regulation, but banged a 47-yarder off the upright, prompting him to yank his facemask down in anger at himself.

"I was hoping for exactly what happened," Bironas said. "We'd win the toss and get another shot at it. I don't miss many, so I definitely wanted another shot at it to put us in the lead and go home with the victory, 8-0."

The Titans (8-0) won the toss and drove 55 yards in 10 plays to give Bironas another chance. Going out on third-and-2, he swung through his fourth field goal that started the celebration as the Titans matched a franchise record by winning their 11th straight regular-season game.

"When you win eight games, you're going to on occasion need to win some like this, and that is just what we did," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said of his team's second game a week. "We hung in there."

The Packers (4-4), who showed some early rust coming off their bye, tied it at 16 on Mason Crosby's third field goal, a 38-yarder, with 5:30 left. Aaron Rodgers, fresh with his new contract extension, had plenty of time to end the Titans' winning streak as Tennessee went three-and-out for the fourth time.

Green Bay got to the Tennessee 45, but the Titans forced Green Bay to punt the ball away with 1:49 left. The Packers never got it back even as they downed the ball at the Tennessee 8.

Kerry Collins drove the Titans downfield by going 4-of-5 for 48 yards, and Fisher ran the clock down to 4 seconds in setting up Bironas for the chance to win in regulation. He said he scraped a cleat on the ground and missed it by a yard. Green Bay's Jarrett Bush said he scraped the ball with the tip of his glove.

"We felt good about it," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. "We liked the position we were in and even kicking it off to them when we lost the coin toss we expected the defense to stop them. It didn't work out that way."

In overtime, rookie Chris Johnson took over. He caught a 16-yarder on third-and-6, then ran 14 yards for another first down. He finished with 89 yards on 24 carries and six receptions for 72 yards more. He also scored the Titans' only TD.

"To go right back out, I don't think it could have set up better for us," Collins said.

Green Bay outgained Tennessee 390-347 in total offense. The Packers also brought in a defense leading the NFL with 13 interceptions, but it was the Titans who made the big defensive plays in sacking Rodgers four times and forcing two turnovers, including Chris Hope's interception in the end zone.

"There are no moral victories," Rodgers said. "We wanted to get to 5-3. We felt like we had a good game plan and we were very aggressive. I just didn't throw the ball as well as I wanted to. I'm very disappointed about the way I played, but our resolve is strong and I'll come back next week and be ready to play in a big game against the Vikings."

The Titans also stopped the Packers twice on downs in the first half and twice when Green Bay had the ball at the Tennessee 12 or closer before settling for field goals by Crosby.

The Packers did hold the Titans to field goals on their opening two drives for a 6-0 lead.

Rodgers put Green Bay up 10-6 in the second quarter when he took advantage of an injured Titans defense. Tennessee was missing end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who started but went to the sideline in the second quarter and never returned, and linebacker Keith Bulluck went to the locker room with a rib injury on that series. Rodgers found Donald Driver on a 5-yard TD pass.

Tennessee had other chances to pad its lead, but failed to score on third-and-goal from the Packers 4 when linebacker Brandon Chillar ran into tight end Bo Scaife with no flag thrown. Bironas kicked his third field goal of the day, a 22-yarder, for a 16-10 lead with 4:11 left in the third.


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