|WR Nate Washington's acrboatic touchdown catch over the Lions is one of the highlights of the Titans' 2012 season. (AP)|
If you ask Tennessee Titans players and coaches to provide an assessment of the 2012 season few will sugarcoat their answers.
A season with a great deal of promise in training camp quickly devolved to a 1-4 start. One year after going 9-7 in coach Mike Munchak's first season, the Titans limped to a 6-10 finish.
Unfortunately, there were more lowlights than highlights in 2012.
• Record setting afternoon vs. the Lions -- The Titans seemingly packed an entire season of highlights into one game in a wild 44-41 overtime win over Detroit in Week 3. Tennessee set an NFL record with five touchdowns of 60 yards or longer in the victory. In a reprisal of the Music City Miracle from the 1999 AFC Playoffs, CB Tommie Campbell scored a 65-yard touchdown on a first quarter Home Run Throwback pass from RB Darius Reynaud. Midway through the fourth, Reynaud scored on a 105-yard kickoff return to tie the game at 27. It was the first of three Titans' touchdowns in a span of 5:25. WR Nate Washington made an improbable, acrobatic 71-yard touchdown catch, before CB Alterraun Verner adroitly wrestled the ball from Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew and raced 72 yards for a touchdown. The play was selected as the top defensive play of the year by NFL.com. Still, after allowing an onside kick and a last-second touchdown on a Hail Mary at the end of regulation, the Titans needed to stuff Lions QB Shaun Hill on a 4th-and-1 sneak to prevail.
• CJ's Home Run plays -- All-Pro RB Chris Johnson had three touchdown runs of 80 yards or more, including a franchise-record 94-yard touchdown against the Jets. The touchdowns against the Bills and the Jets were pivotal in both narrow victories. The Titans trailed the Bears 51-12 in the fourth quarter of a Week 9 defeat when Johnson scored on an 80-yard run down the right sidelines.
• Primetime win over the Steelers -- The Titans sorely needed a Week 6 win over the Steelers on Thursday Night Football. Despite allowing 363 passing yards from Ben Roethlisberger, the Titans defeated Pittsburgh 26-23 on a game-winning 40-yard FG by Rob Bironas with no time remaining. Steelers K Shaun Suisham missed a 54-yard attempt on the previous drive. The Steelers won five of their next seven games, including victories over three playoff teams in the Redskins, Bengals and Ravens.
• Blowout defeats to NFC North opponents -- In three losses to the Packers, Bears and Vikings, the Titans were outscored by a combined margin of 136-34. In defeats to Green Bay and Chicago, Tennessee surrendered 50 points or more. Bears DB Charles Tillman forced four fumbles and LB Brian Urlacher scored on a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown in the 51-20 win. The Titans offense struggled to move the ball in all three games. In the loss to Minnesota, the Titans ran just four plays inside Vikings territory in the first three quarters. In the 55-7 loss to the Packers, the Titans gained just 127 total yards before a meaningless touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter.
• Rash of injuries -- The Titans were beset by injuries throughout the year. After undergoing three knee surgeries in the last 18 months, WR Kenny Britt was limited by the swelling in his knees during the season. Britt may need to undergo additional surgeries in the offseason. Four starters on the offensive line -- LG Steve Hutchinson, C Eugene Amano, RG Leroy Harris and RT David Stewart -- had their seasons end prematurely by injuries. Tennessee also lost TE Jared Cook, RB Javon Ringer, LB Colin McCarthy and LB Zac Diles with season-ending injuries.
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• Stinging AFC South divisional losses -- Both losses to the Texans were by double-digits, but the Titans easily could have defeated Jacksonville on Nov. 25 and beaten the Colts in each of their two losses. A 19-13 overtime loss to Indianapolis on Oct. 28 was particularly deflating. The defeat snapped a two-game winning streak and opened a stretch when the Titans lost five out of six games. On Dec. 9, the Titans squandered a 20-7 lead against the Colts in large part to a Jake Locker interception that was returned for a touchdown by Cassius Vaughn. Jacksonville, meanwhile, won just two games on the season.
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