First Look: Tennessee

Here's the "First Look," your weekly source for news about the Bucs' upcoming opponent. Today's edition takes a look at the Tennessee Titans in the wake of their 20-13 win over Atlanta. Get in-depth analysis and position grades from that game, plus a peek at how that win affects the Titans this week. It's a premium service from

A day after an ugly 20-13 win over Atlanta, the Titans were still abuzz over a hard-to-believe play by defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth on a late goal-line stand.

Haynesworth timed the snap and jumped over the center and guard to get to quarterback Byron Leftwich before he could drop back. A surprised Leftwich tried to pitch the ball to running back Warrick Dunn, but the best Dunn could do was recover the ball for an 8-yard loss.

Haynesworth knew the linemen would try to undercut him and smartly countered.

"Before the snap, you could see on tape how he gathered himself and kind of leaped, like a humongous bullfrog," linebacker Keith Bulluck said. "He was able to disrupt the play, and Kyle (Vanden Bosch) came and finished it off."

Leftwich threw three incomplete passes before Vanden Bosch sacked him to end the threat and preserve the Titans' lead and win.

Atlanta coach Bobby Petrino said the play was going to be a toss to Dunn, who was going to follow fullback Ovie Mughelli.

"I think we had it, I think we had it blocked," he said. "They had a guy leapfrog our offensive guard and center and got a hold of Byron before he could get around to make the pitch.

"I've never really seen that done before."


--Nickel back Vincent Fuller pulled in an interception and returned it for a touchdown for the second game in a row. This time, his 76-yard play provided the winning margin for the Titans against Atlanta.

In a 13-13 game late in the third quarter, Falcons QB Joey Harrington threw behind WR Michael Jenkins, who got a hand on the ball, holding it up in the air for a second. Fuller snatched it and was gone.

"It feels great," he said. "But football, it kind of has its ups and downs. You'll have your upswings and make a play or two, and then you'll have a downswing. You just try and stay even keel and be ready when it comes back to you."

--DE Bryce Fisher and CB Reynaldo Hill dressed for the first time this season Sunday but had minimal roles against Atlanta.

Fisher, acquired in a trade with Seattle on Sept. 11, said he hopes to earn more of a role.

"I got about five or six plays," Fisher said. "It felt good to get a chance to get out there and at least participate for our team. I figure I've got to earn my way onto the field. Just keep practicing hard and earn some opportunities to help."

Hill, who started the last two seasons, only played on special teams.

--The Titans won despite five turnovers for the first time since Nov. 19, 2000, when they beat the Cleveland Browns 24-10. Tennessee committed seven turnovers in that win.


QB Vince Young questioned his own decision-making and said he forced too many throws in a three-interception game against Atlanta. But the day after a win, coach Jeff Fisher was praising Young's game management and offering absolution.

DT Albert Haynesworth was the talk of the locker room Monday for his leap over the Atlanta offensive line that forced a crucial Byron Leftwich fumble and pushed the Falcons back from the goal line on a late-game drive that could have forced overtime.

DE Kyle Vanden Bosch raced to tackle Falcons RB Warrick Dunn at the 1-yard line on a key play against Atlanta, which never recovered and couldn't get into the end zone to tie the game on four plays from there.

TE Ben Troupe caught two balls early against Atlanta for his first receptions of the season, then vanished just as he has in the rest of the Titans' games so far this season.

P Craig Hentrich (back) indicated he was feeling good after returning to action. But Jeff Fisher indicated the team would keep Josh Miller around a bit longer to make sure Hentrich is OK.

CB Vincent Fuller had an interception return for a touchdown for the second game in a row against Atlanta and has been a big piece of the Titans' resurgent defense.


PASSING OFFENSE: D-minus -- QB Vince Young made horrible decisions and throws, resulting in three interceptions and an incompletion on a fourth-and-1 attempt. He didn't complete a pass longer than 16 yards. Yet Jeff Fisher still insisted Young managed the game well.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- The Titans turned 32 carries into 92 yards. LenDale White's early fumble resulted in a 56-yard return TD for DeAngelo Hall. Chris Brown scored the Titans' only offensive touchdown on a 3-yard run. Young busted one 20-yard run but was otherwise contained.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- Tennessee harassed Falcons QB Joey Harrington into a lot of shaky plays and rushed and covered spectacularly on a goal-line stand at the end against Byron Leftwich. One Harrington-to-Roddy White pass went for 34 yards. Otherwise, things were minimized. Atlanta threw for only 115 yards.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The only play that hurt was a 49-yard run that counts against the punt return unit, not the defense. The defense allowed 2.4 yards a carry and just 50 rushing yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- Just about everything that could have gone wrong did. The Titans allowed two huge kick returns, fumbled a punt, missed a field goal, got gashed on a fake punt and allowed a rusher to forced P Craig Hentrich to swallow a ball for a 8-yard loss on fourth down.

COACHING: C-minus -- The special teams events were inexcusable and inexplicable, and saying Young did well managing the game amounts to nothing less than babying the guy. But Jeff Fisher somehow got his defense to hold together and rise to the occasion when the special teams and offense kept putting it in bad situations.

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