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Tennessee 24, Cleveland 10

Titans Give It Away, Take It Back

November 20, 2000|From Associated Press

NASHVILLE — The turnovers came so quickly and so often the Tennessee Titans only could chuckle.

"We almost had to laugh, because it was silly things that were happening to keep us from scoring points," said Eddie George, who rushed for 134 yards and scored a career-high three touchdowns Sunday. The Titans survived seven turnovers in pulling out a 24-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Steve McNair called the turnovers a fluke, but the Titans also realized they were lucky to be playing the Browns.

"Any other team in the league, we would've lost," Titan safety Marcus Robertson said. "I don't want to be associated with another one like this."

It was the most turnovers by a winning team since Oct. 18, 1987, when Buffalo survived seven turnovers in defeating the New York Giants, 6-3. That game featured replacement players. The Pittsburgh Steelers turned the ball over seven times in a 17-12 victory over Tampa Bay on Oct. 30, 1983.

The Titans (9-2) wanted an easy game after their last two were decided by a total of three points. But McNair was intercepted three times and fumbled twice after being sacked. Tennessee, with only 16 turnovers through the first 10 games, gave the ball to the Browns (3-9) on seven of its first nine possessions.

"Nobody panicked, nobody was really frustrated," Titan Coach Jeff Fisher said. "You can't really put your finger on it, a play here and a play there. We moved the ball really well in the first half, and we just kept turning the ball over."

The saving grace? George, as usual--and the Browns, who have the NFL's worst offense.

George bruised his ribs in the second quarter and still carried 36 times for his fourth 100-yard rushing game this season. He is only one yard shy of becoming the fifth player in NFL history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first five seasons.

The Browns couldn't do anything no matter how many times Tennessee gave them the ball. Cleveland went three-and-out off the first two turnovers and picked up only one first down off the third. The visitors finished with only 125 yards total offense compared to 392 for the Titans, who controlled the clock for more than 38 minutes.

"I'm proud of the way the guys played," Cleveland Coach Chris Palmer said. "I don't think anyone gave us a chance when we came in here."

Cleveland went up, 10-7, on a 38-yard field goal by Phil Dawson after Keith McKenzie sacked McNair, knocking the ball loose. But that would be it.

The Titans then took control, moving 45 yards in nine plays, capped by George's second touchdown, a one-yarder. Al Del Greco, who missed a key extra point last week in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens, added a 22-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. George capped a 14-play drive that ran 6:44 off the clock with his third touchdown, another one-yarder.

Victories By George

When Eddie George carries the ball at least 27 times (his uniform number), the Tennessee Titans are almost unbeatable

When George carries 27 or more times, the Titans are:

Career 21-1

2000 5-0

In addition, when George rushes for 100 or more yards, the Titans are:

Career 22-5

2000 4-0

And when George rushes for two or more touchdowns, the Titans are:

Career 7-0

2000 1-0

Research by ROY JURGENS

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