The Tennessee Titans rode big plays from their defense and special teams to their seventh consecutive win on Monday, a 27-21 triumph over the Washington Redskins.
Tennessee defensive back Samari Rolle ended the first half with a sensational 81-yard interception return for a touchdown and picked off Brad Johnson again to stop a Washington drive late in the game as the Titans improved to 7-1 by winning a battle of first place teams.
�They (the coaches) been preaching all week long about scoring on defence, saying we haven�t been making enough plays and we took that kind of personal,?said Rolle.
�I remembered that time was down on the clock and I just tried to get back across field and I had a great wall of blocks and they led me in,?he said of the key play of the game.
The Titans also got a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown from Derrick Mason that put them in front for the first time in the second quarter and a pair of Al Del Greco field goals.
The Tennessee offence got into the act with Steve McNair completing an 18-yard TD pass to tight end Frank Wycheck that gave the defending AFC champions a 27-14 cushion after Washington had closed within six points on a 13-play scoring drive capped by a one-yard Stephen Davis run.
Tennessee�s workhorse running back Eddie George, playing on a banged up knee, ran for 71 yards, including 37 yards on the decisive scoring drive in the fourth quarter, before limping off in the final 75 seconds.
Johnson completed 21-of-40 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns, but he was picked off three times as Washington (6-3) saw its winning streak snapped at five games and dropped to second place in the NFC East, a half game behind the New York Giants.
Johnson found Mike Sellers on a 5-yard TD pass in the first quarter to give the Redskins the early lead. But Tennessee outscored Washington 20-0 in the second quarter.
A three-yard Johnson scoring pass to Larry Centres at 8Grp_A=0,Grp_B=0,Grp_C=0,Grp_D=0,Grp_E=0,Grp_F=1,Grp_G=0,Grp_H=0,8 of the fourth quarter made it 27-21. But Titans held on over the final 6 1/2 minutes to stay two games ahead of Pittsburgh atop the AFC Central and match Super Bowl champions St. Louis, Oakland and Minnesota for the best record in the NFL.