Thomas George reports from the Jets-Titans game. Check back later for his complete column:
NASHVILLE — Match the physical, brute nature of Tennessee’s overall game. Check. Score early and force the Titans to do more in the passing game with quarterback Kerry Collins. Check. Strangle the Titans running game. Check. Do not let special teams on their end dramatically decide the game. Check.
And can we get a touch of creativity in the approach, especially offensively?
That was the Jets’ blueprint today. And when completed, the previously undefeated Titans were held in total check.
The Jets won here, 34-13, before a packed crowd at LP Field that had not seen their team smacked around like this. Not in the way the Jets built leads of 7-0 and 10-3 and 20-3 en route to a 27-6 advantage in the fourth quarter.
Even when the Titans scored quickly and moved to within two touchdowns in the final quarter, the Jets continued to create answers and implement them. The final dagger was a 12-play, 75-yard drive. Leon Washington capped it with a 4-yard touchdown run with 2:09 remaining.
Of course, Washington had already ripped 61 yards through the Titans defense for an earlier fourth-quarter rushing score that punctuated just how superior the Jets were on this day. Brett Favre played a smart, nit-picking game where he kept finding receivers on quick crossing routes and slants. The Jets defense was motivated and active, as effective deep on the back end where safety Kerry Rhodes roamed as it was up front where nose tackle Kris Jenkins dominated.
Thus, we saw the Jets grow from their recent victory over nemesis New England. The Jets played this game as if the tallest mountain had already been climbed and as if the Titans were just another team. The Jets’ confidence was evident in everything they did today to climb to an 8-3 record and remain atop the AFC East.
Tennessee is 10-1, the last of the unbeaten teams to fall this season.
For the Jets, a huge accomplishment that indicates how much could lie in store.
For the Titans, a huge reality check and sober reminder that not only are they not perfect, but they are susceptible to being manhandled like this at home.