Tennessee Titans (5-4) at Atlanta Falcons (5-4)
Sunday, November 20th, 2011 • 3:15pm CST
Georgia Dome • Atlanta, GA • TV: CBS
Nashville, TN – The Titans (5-4) go on the road against an opponent from the NFC South for the second consecutive week, as they travel to face the Atlanta Falcons (5-4) on Sunday, November 20th. Kickoff at the Georgia Dome (capacity 71,228) is scheduled for 3:15pm CST. The time was changed to 3:15pm from its originally-scheduled time of noon CST.
Currently in second place in the AFC South after last week’s victory at Carolina, the Titans are looking to gain ground on the first-place Houston Texans, who are 7-3 entering their bye this week. The Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6) and Indianapolis Colts (0-10) are in third and fourth place in the division, respectively.
Tennessee carries a five-game winning streak against the Falcons into this week’s matchup, including most recently a 20-13 victory at LP Field in 2007. All-time, the Titans lead the series with the Falcons 7-5.
This week’s game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF News-Channel 5. Ian Eagle will handle play-by-play duties, while Dan Fouts will provide analysis.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, sideline reporter Cody Allison and gameday host Larry Stone.
Additionally, Westwood One Radio Sports will carry the national radio broadcast. Howard David (play-by-play) and Tony Boselli (analyst) will have the call.
The game can be heard locally on 1400 AM, WJZM.
The Titans received big contributions from players on offense, defense and special teams in last week’s 30-3 win over the Panthers.
Marc Mariani provided an early boost with a 79-yard punt return for a touchdown, his third return touchdown in two NFL seasons. Also on special teams, Rob Bironas connected on all three field goal attempts and now has hit 13 consecutive attempts.
Offensively, running back Chris Johnson led the way with a season-high 130 rushing yards to go along with 44 receiving yards. Receiver Damian Williams reached the 100-yard mark for the first time in his two-year career, leading the club with five catches for 107 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown from quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck now has at least one touchdown pass in all nine games this season.
On defense, Tennessee notched five sacks and forced two turnovers, while limiting the NFL’s fifth-ranked offense entering the contest to 279 total yards. Carolina previously had not scored fewer than 16 points in a game this season, but the Titans permitted only a field goal. It marked the first time the Titans did not allow a touchdown in a game since October 18th, 2010 at Jacksonville.
This is Atlanta’s second of three consecutive home games. Last week, they hosted the division-rival New Orleans Saints in a battle for first place in the NFC South. After coming back from 10 points down with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Falcons forced overtime only to fall by a final score of 26-23.
Mike Smith is in his fourth season as Atlanta’s head coach. In his first three years, he led the team to a combined 33-15 record with two postseason appearances, including a division title and number-one seed in the 2010 playoffs.
Smith’s arrival coincided with the drafting of quarterback Matt Ryan. In three-and-a-half seasons, the former first-round pick from Boston College has passed for more than 12,000 yards, including 2,309 in 2011. Ryan, who was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2010, is joined on offense by a trio other notable Pro Bowl performers: tight end Tony Gonzalez, running back Michael Turner and wide receiver Roddy White.
Titans-Falcons Series at a Glance
- Overall series (regular & postseason): Titans lead 7-5
- Regular season series: Titans lead 7-5
- Postseason series: None
- Total points: Titans 289, Falcons 298
- Current streak: Five wins by Titans
- Titans at home vs. Falcons: 5-1
- Titans on road vs. Falcons: 2-4
- Longest winning streak by Titans: 5 (1993-present)
- Longest losing streak by Titans: 3 (1978-84)
- Titans vs. Falcons at LP Field: 2-0
- Last time at LP Field: Falcons 13 at TITANS 20 (10/7/07)
- Titans vs. Falcons at Georgia Dome: 2-0
- Last time at Georgia Dome: TITANS 38 at Falcons 31 (11/23/03)
- First time: Oilers 10 at FALCONS 20 (12/3/72)
- Mike Munchak’s record vs. Falcons: 0-0
- Mike Smith’s record vs. Titans: 0-0
- Mike Munchak’s record vs. Mike Smith: 0-0
What To Look For This Week
This is the second of three consecutive games for the Titans against NFC South opponents (11/20 at Atlanta, 11/27 vs. Tampa Bay).
K Rob Bironas enters the game with a streak of 13 consecutive made field goals, which is tied for the seventh-longest streak in franchise history.
QB Matt Hasselbeck can record the 24th 300-yard passing game of his career.
QB Matt Hasselbeck can complete a touchdown pass for the 10th consecutive game to start the season. Previously in his career, he never completed a touchdown pass in more than four consecutive games at the start of a season.
RB Chris Johnson can record the 27th 100-yard rushing game of his career and his third 100-yard game of 2011.
RB Chris Johnson needs one rushing touchdown to pass Steve McNair (36 career rushing touchdowns) for third place on the team’s all-time list.
T Michael Roos is scheduled to make his 106th consecutive start.
G Jake Scott is scheduled to make his 114th consecutive start.
WR Damian Williams can post his fifth game out of the last seven with at least one touchdown reception.
Titans-Falcons Series History
After 12 regular season match-ups, the Titans-Falcons series has trended toward Tennessee after initial dominance by the Falcons. Dating back to 1972, three seasons into the AFL-NFL merger, the Titans are 7-5 against the Falcons, including wins in each of the past five meetings. The Falcons won four out of the first five contests from 1972 to 1984.
In 2007, the Falcons visited the Titans in Week 5 of the regular season. A 76-yard interception return for a touchdown by defensive back Vincent Fuller provided the winning margin in a 20-13 Titans win. Despite five Titans turnovers, Tennessee clung to victory by keeping the Falcons under 200 yards of total offense and by limiting the Falcons to 22 percent on third down. In the closing moments of the game, an athletic, leaping play at the oneyard line by Albert Haynesworth to force an eight-yard loss provided the game’s signature moment.
The Titans have visited the Georgia Dome, which opened in 1992, two times in regular season play (1996 and 2003) and three times in the preseason (1998, 2005 and 2008).
The most recent regular season game between the two teams at the Georgia Dome took place on November 23rd, 2003. In that contest, the Falcons jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter only to watch the Titans come back to win, 38-31. Tight end Frank Wycheck recorded two touchdown receptions, and Eddie George gained 115 rushing yards. Meanwhile, quarterback Steve McNair left the game early with a strained calf, paving the way for Billy Volek to finish the comeback, which was the largest for the Titans since overcoming a 24-point deficit at Cincinnati in 1979.
However, perhaps the most notable Titans game to occur inside the Georgia Dome was not against the Falcons, but rather the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV. After a 16-point comeback by the Titans, the two teams provided one of the most dramatic endings in Super Bowl history. A 73-yard touchdown pass from Rams quarterback Kurt Warner to Isaac Bruce with 1:54 on the clock proved to be the game-winning score, but not before Titans quarterback Steve McNair nearly helped the Titans send the game into overtime. After leading the offense down the field, McNair completed a pass to wide receiver Kevin Dyson, but Dyson was tackled at the one-yard line by linebacker Mike Jones as time expired. The Rams had held on to a 23-16 win.
Titans-Falcons: The Last Meeting
Atlanta Falcons 13 at Tennessee Titans 20
Sunday, October 7th, 2007
LP Field, Nashville, TN
In Week 5 of the 2007 season, Titans defensive back Vincent Fuller intercepted a Joey Harrington pass and returned it 76 yards for a touchdown that proved to be the deciding score in a 20-13 victory at LP Field (attendance 69,143).
The interception, Fuller’s second for a touchdown in a two-game span, was one of many defensive highlights during a hot afternoon (84 degrees at kickoff) for the Titans. They needed all of them, as five turnovers and key plays on special teams provided the Falcons several opportunities to surge ahead in the contest. The Titans defense, however, allowed the Falcons to gain a total of 198 yards on offense, and they held the Falcons to just four conversions on 18 third downs (22.2 percent).
Particularly in the second half, the Titans defense was able to turn the Falcons away after Atlanta gained possession of the ball deep in Titans’ territory. The final instance occured with less than two-and-ahalf minutes remaining in the game. Titans punter Craig Hentrich was tackled at the Tennessee 19-yard line after Falcons linebacker Demorrio Williams slipped into the backfield before Hentrich could punt. Running back Warrick Dunn rushed to the one-yard line on the next play. Then on the following play, courtesy of a leaping Albert Haynesworth, who cut through the line to disrupt a pitch play, the Falcons lost eight yards. A pair of incompletions and a fourth down sack by defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch ended Atlanta’s chances to tie the game once and for all.
Atlanta jumped out to a 7-0 lead after cornerback DeAngelo Hall returned a LenDale White fumble 56 yards for a touchdown.
The Titans responded on their ensuing possession, driving 58 yards on six plays. Running back Chris Brown got into the end zone on a threeyard run to tie the game.
In the second quarter, Falcons running back Artose Pinner gained 49 yards on a fake punt. That led to kicker Morten Andersen’s successful 32-yard field goal.
Titans kicker Rob Bironas ended the first half with a 30-yard field goal to tie the game at 10-10.
The Titans committed three turnovers in the second half, including two interceptions and a fumbled punt return. However, the Falcons missed two field goal attempts and turned the ball over twice on interceptions in the second half. Fuller’s nterception provided a lead, and it appeared the lead would be safe after linebacker David Thornton picked off a Byron Leftwich pass with 3:20 on the clock in the fourth quarter.
Leftwich, who began the day as Atlanta’s third quarterback, entered the game in the fourth quarter after Harrington was pulled. He had three series to get Atlanta back on the scoreboard, but the Titans defense fended off the Falcons offense on each occasion.