Cleveland at Tennessee

Titans clinch AFC South title by burying battered Browns

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans aren't about to be distracted by a power outage in their locker room or a struggling opponent.

Not now. Not as a division champion.

Kerry Collins threw two touchdowns, and Chris Johnson ran for 136 yards and a score as the Titans routed the Cleveland Browns 28-9 Sunday to grab the AFC South title for the first time since 2002 in what they hope is the first of many goals reached this season.

"Obviously, we're all pleased and happy we won the division," Collins said. "We know there's a lot of things left we want to accomplish. Today was a good first step."

The Titans have won 15 of their last 16 games, and are the first team to secure a postseason berth this year. They maintained at least a two-game lead with three to play for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs, and a subdued celebration featured players dumping a cooler of water over coach Jeff Fisher.

This is the Titans' second consecutive playoff berth, secured with the franchise's best record through 13 games, 12-1. Fisher credited his Titans' 10-0 start with helping them wrest the division away from the Indianapolis Colts.

"It's a rewarding feeling. Our goal when we left the playoff game in San Diego, the day we came back, was to have a home playoff game this year. That was our first goal, first and foremost. We've now guaranteed that. We'll move onto the next step hopefully," Fisher said.

The Titans were a bit like a videoboard that didn't work thanks to a blown transformer that knocked out all but four emergency lights in their locker room. They turned it over three times, with LenDale White losing his first fumble this season, and they had a season-high 13 penalties for 131 yards.

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth said he didn't even notice the power even after dressing in near darkness.

"I thought they were trying to get the mood right," he said.

Cleveland (4-9) lost its third straight and fifth in six games, with the Browns starting a third different quarterback in as many games. It was Ken Dorsey's first start since Nov. 27, 2005, when he was with the 49ers, and he didn't get much help from an injury-decimated team whose top receiver, tight end Kellen Winslow, was out with a sprained ankle.

Tennessee didn't make nearly enough mistakes to help the Browns, who haven't scored an offensive touchdown in three straight games and couldn't add to the 6-0 lead Phil Dawson gave them after the first quarter. Coach Romeo Crennel, whose job status grows shakier with each loss, defended his team for still fighting.

"The Titans are a very good football team, and I think they showed why they are today. We came down here and had some turnovers and had opportunities to try and get a little bit done. We weren't able to get enough done," Crennel said.

The Titans outgained Cleveland 390-178, intercepted Dorsey once and sacked him another time. White just missed joining Johnson with a 100-yard rushing game for a second straight week when he was stopped for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-2. He finished with 99 yards on 24 carries.

Tennessee took the lead for good within the opening minute of the second quarter as Collins found Ahmard Hall on fourth-and-1 with a short pass the fullback took up the left sideline for a 28-yard TD and a 7-6 lead.

Collins added a 9-yard TD pass to Justin Gage in the third quarter.

Dorsey started because the Browns have lost both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson. Dorsey hadn't completed a pass in three years in an NFL game, and he started well enough, connecting with Braylon Edwards on the first two attempts. He wound up completing 22-of-43 as the Titans pressured him early and hit him often.

The Browns also tried running Josh Cribbs from the quarterback spot. He finally got to throw in the fourth period, trailing 28-9, and Edwards just missed getting a second foot down for what would have been their longest completion.

"We're not last year's team," Cribbs said. "We have a different football team. We have to play better football."

Tennessee finally got it together late in the first quarter in a 68-yard drive capped by the TD to Hall. Pinned at their 7, the Titans put together their longest scoring drive this season by moving 93 yards in 10 plays, with White running in from the 3 for his 14th TD this season for a 14-6 lead just before halftime.

During the drive, Johnson joined Hall of Famer Earl Campbell and Eddie George as the only rookies in franchise history to rush for 1,000 yards, and he topped that mark with a 15-yarder on only his ninth carry.

Notes

  • White tied George for the second-highest single-season total in team history.
  • The Titans snapped a three-game skid in this series with their former AFC Central rival.
  • With his first two field goals, Dawson reached 28 made this season for a career high, and added a 39-yarder in the fourth quarter. He missed a 44-yarder wide right in the third quarter.
  • Cleveland's injury list grew with linebacker Shantee Orr hurting a knee, and running back Jerome Harrison hurt his ribs.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Kerry Collins, escaping from Corey Williams, isn't exactly sensational but keeps winning.
 
Kerry Collins, escaping from Corey Williams, isn't exactly sensational but keeps winning. (AP)
 

 

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Sun. Dec. 7Final
60039
Tennessee
(12-1)
0147728
CLE - Pass: K. Dorsey (22-43, 150), Rec: J. Wright (5-40)
TEN - Pass: K. Collins (14-23, 155), Rush: C. Johnson (19-136)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
FGPhil Dawson 47 Yd, 11:58. Drive: 7 plays, 33 yards in 3:02.
FGPhil Dawson 41 Yd, 4:00. Drive: 4 plays, 2 yards in 1:28.
2ND QUARTER
TDAhmard Hall, 28 Yd pass from Kerry Collins (Rob Bironas kick is good), 14:10. Drive: 10 plays, 68 yards in 4:50.
TDLenDale White, 3 Yd run (Rob Bironas kick is good), 1:11. Drive: 10 plays, 93 yards in 5:05.
3RD QUARTER
TDJustin Gage, 9 Yd pass from Kerry Collins (Rob Bironas kick is good), 11:46. Drive: 2 plays, 11 yards in 0:42.
4TH QUARTER
FGPhil Dawson 39 Yd, 13:30. Drive: 11 plays, 24 yards in 3:41.
TDChris Johnson, 25 Yd run (Rob Bironas kick is good), 8:22. Drive: 1 play, 25 yards in 0:08.
Players of the Game
New York

C. Johnson
Rush 19
Yds 136
Avg 7.2
TD 1
Indianapolis

D. Jackson
Tk 12
Sck 0.0
Int 2
Fumb Rec 0
 
Cleveland
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
K. Dorsey22/4315001
J. Cribbs0/1000
RushingATTYDSTDLG
J. Cribbs62407
J. Lewis7703
J. Harrison2202
L. Vickers1101
J. Wright2105
K. Dorsey1000
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
J. Wright540013
B. Edwards338025
S. Heiden42908
S. Steptoe42006
D. Stallworth115015
J. Harrison2606
J. Lewis2302
L. Vickers1-10-1
Tennessee
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
K. Collins14/2315522
RushingATTYDSTDLG
C. Johnson19136133
L. White2499113
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
C. Johnson43008
A. Hall128128
A. Crumpler120020
J. McCareins120020
B. Scaife219014
J. Gage21819
B. Jones218015
L. White1202
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
TB 23 Final
CAR 38
NE 24 Final
SEA 21
DAL 13 Final
PIT 20
STL 10 Final
ARI 34
NYJ 14 Final
SF 24
KC 17 Final
DEN 24
MIA 16 Final
BUF 3
PHI 20 Final
NYG 14
ATL 25 Final
NO 29
CIN 3 Final
IND 35
HOU 24 Final
GB 21
MIN 20 Final
DET 16
JAC 10 Final
CHI 23
WAS 10 Final
BAL 24
OAK 7 Final
SD 34