Titans Playing for Nothing but Numbers

With their Christmas turkey performance against the San Diego Chargers on Friday night, the Tennessee Titans eliminated themselves from contention in the AFC wild-card chase.

Though Jacksonville and Miami both have the same 7-8 record as the Titans, they remain mathematically alive thanks to better conference records, while the Titans' season is over after their game Sunday in Seattle, thanks to a 4-8 AFC record. That means the only thing left for Tennessee to play for this season is the quest to get running back Chris Johnson to the 2,000-yard plateau.

Johnson ran for 142 yards and was the lone bright spot for Tennessee in the 42-17 shredding the Titans took from the Chargers. He now has 1,872 yards rushing and needs just 128 yards to become only the sixth man in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

Johnson even has an outside shot still to surpass Eric Dickerson's single-season record of 2,105 yards, but he would need a career high 234 yards on Sunday to break that record. Reaching the 2,000-yard plateau means a lot to Johnson and it means a lot to the Titans as a team, considering that the 2009 season will go in the books overall as a major disappointment.

"That record would mean a lot to me," Johnson said. "That was one of my goals that I set before this year started, and a lot of people didn't even think I would get close or whatever."

As for Dickerson's mark, Johnson knows it will take a monster finale, but seems to think it is still possible. "Anything is doable," Johnson said. "I feel like I can do it. Just basically we've got to stay in the game and keep the score close and stay in our offense. We can't become one-dimensional."

Another more reachable, if lesser known record, is well within Johnson's reach. He needs just 75 yards rushing and/or receiving to eclipse Marshall Faulk's record of 2,429 yards from scrimmage.

Johnson said he is grateful to his blockers and has already purchased gifts for his offensive line, tight end Alge Crumpler and fullback Ahmard Hall, though he said it was not the cars he said he would buy earlier in the season when the pursuit of 2,000 first came to light around Week 8.

"I didn't get the offensive line cars, but I got them a gift," Johnson said, declining to say what the gifts were.

BY THE NUMBERS: 20:53 -- The Titans' time of possession against the Chargers, a terrible number for a team that needs to run the football effectively and keep its defense off the field.

TRENDING: If the Titans win at Seattle on Sunday, they will finish 8-8 for the fifth time in Jeff Fisher's 15-year tenure. It will give him six winning seasons, five .500 seasons and four losing season.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB Vince Young had his worst game since being reinserted as the starting quarterback, going 8-for-21 for just 89 yards with two interceptions and a lost fumble.

--RB Chris Johnson had just 21 carries Friday night, but he rushed for 142 yards, leaving him 128 shy of 2,000.

--CB Cortland Finnegan struggled with Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates, getting a pair of pass interference calls.

--CB Nick Harper reinjured his forearm and did not play in the second half because of the injury.

--CB Ryan Mouton left in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return to the game.

--CB Jason McCourty, a sixth-round draft pick from Rutgers, was the last man standing at cornerback, playing in the second half. Rod Hood was inactive. McCourty did force a fumble late in the game.

--WR Nate Washington had four of the Titans' eight pass receptions, but had just 39 yards receiving.

--LB Colin Allred, making his first career start, filled in for Keith Bulluck, whose 127-game consecutive starts streak ended with a knee injury. Allred and the Titans defense was ripped for six touchdowns by the Chargers.

--WR Kenny Britt struggled on kickoff returns, averaging just 13 yards on seven returns Friday night.


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