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Notebook: Titans Take Aim at Second Streak

Posted Dec 23, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans enjoyed breaking one streak with a win Sunday in Jacksonville and want to end another back home in this week’s season finale against Houston.

Nate Washington hauls in one of his six catches for 117 yards against Jacksonville. Slideshow.

Titans coach Mike Munchak said “the only way to have fun in this league is to win” during his Monday press conference that recapped Tennessee’s 20-16 victory at Jacksonville that snapped a three-game losing streak and looked ahead to the Texans, who have lost 13 straight since coming from behind to beat the Titans 30-24 in overtime in Week 2.

The goalposts have changed for both teams since the early season matchup of AFC South rivals that once looked to the upcoming meeting as a possible grudge match for the division or one with playoff implications. The Titans, instead, are trying to eclipse their sixth win total from 2012, and end a five-game losing streak at LP Field. The Texans, who were projected by many as a Super Bowl contender, are in contention for the top overall pick in the draft that is awarded to the team that finishes with the worst record.

“Even though it’s only going to be our seventh and we wished it was a bigger number than that, I think that’s all we can control, so it’s have a good week, enjoy Christmas but be ready to be focused and play a game on Sunday,” Munchak said. “Even though it’s the last one and it’s been disappointing play at home, with the losses, with the losing streak we have at home, all those things we want to put behind us, so all those things we want to put behind us so that next year we don’t have some record continuing, ‘Oh, we haven’t won at home in x amount of games,’ or you kind of just want to put all that stuff to rest by doing that, by winning the last one and having two division wins, again, even though it still just means 7-9, but it’s still a division win.”

Nate Washington, who led Titans receivers with six catches for 117 yards and the 30-yard game-winning TD from Ryan Fitzpatrick became the first Titan since Drew Bennett in 2006 to record three 100-yard games in a season. Washington said it’s “mandatory that we come in this week, work very hard and finish the thing off,” but not overestimate what a win would do for next season.

“It can mean a lot to us but we have to understand we’ve been here before,” Washington said. “We’ve had some seasons where we’ve closed out well and then come back the next season and start of well and didn’t end up the way we wanted.”

Munchak said Washington continued off his seven-catch, 92-yard performance against Arizona the week before and ran great routes against a matchup the Titans liked because of the defense the Jaguars tried to use to take away opportunities from Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker.  

“He played with great energy. He blocked well. He’s been a great example to that (receivers) room, to those young receivers, to our team,” Munchak said. “I’m glad to see him playing so well, especially in a game where we needed him to make some catches for us. He did, and the coverage went to him. They were trying to take some other things away from us that we’ve been doing the last few weeks, so it was a good opportunity. He was getting open and made some great catches.”

DREAM COMES TRUE: Before George Wilson intercepted Jags QB Chad Henne with a one-handed snare in the closing moments, the veteran safety said he dreamed he had done so the night before. Wilson also said his mother told him to “snag me one” during their conversation before the game.

“When she told me that, I was like, I don’t know when or what play it’s going to come on, but I know I’m going to get a chance, so it just happened to come in the two-minute situation,” Wilson said. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity to make that play just to redeem myself from a couple of weeks ago (at Indianapolis) and help our guys get that winning taste back in our mouths. We’ve had a tough second half of the season, and we certainly want to end it with two wins in the division.”

TACKLE EVALUATION: Third-year tackle Byron Stingily made his first start of the season and third of his career in place of David Stewart (shoulder).

Munchak said Stingily allowed one sack before halftime, but was otherwise solid in the pass game and did a “nice job” in the run game.

“He’s a pretty good athlete, strong guy,” Munchak said. “He didn’t have any mental errors and was pretty much on task throughout the game. Good game for him; good, solid game.”

Munchak said the Titans will continue to assess where Stewart, who missed each practice last week, is at before deciding on who will start Sunday.

CASEY BELIEVED TO BE OK: Munchak said he assumes that Jurrell Casey, who suffered a knee injury Sunday, will be able to play Sunday.

DEADLINE SOON: The deadline for fan voting for players to the Pro Bowl is Dec. 26. Click here to vote for players such as Casey, Wright, Walker and Alterraun Verner.

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