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Home Remains Sweet for Titans

September 11, 2000|From Associated Press

NASHVILLE — Adelphia Coliseum doesn't quite roll off the tongue when talking of great NFL homes such as Lambeau Field, Mile High Stadium or even Arrowhead Stadium. Just give the Tennessee Titans some more time.

Al Del Greco kicked a 36-yard field goal in overtime as the Titans rallied for a 17-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in their home opener Sunday.

The victory kept the AFC champions (1-1) from going into the bye week without a win. It also kept them undefeated in their new home, tying the NFL record held by the 1971 Dallas Cowboys with nine consecutive victories to christen a new stadium.

"We take a lot of pride in playing here at this coliseum and to win like this will probably add that much more hype to the mystique of this coliseum," Titan safety Marcus Robertson said.

"It's a fun place to play. I love the crowd here, and we don't lose here. That's the bottom line. We don't lose here."

They should have.

The Chiefs (0-2) failed to score a touchdown in the first quarter despite five plays inside the Titan 10. They watched Pete Stoyanovich miss a field-goal attempt. And they had a chance to win with the game tied, 14-14, late in regulation.

A pass-interference call against the Titans' Denard Walker, who missed the season opener under a one-game suspension by the NFL, moved the Chiefs to the Titan 43. Elvis Grbac then completed a pass to Tony Gonzalez for nine yards to the 34, seemingly setting up Stoyanovich to win it.

He never got the chance. Chief receiver Derrick Alexander was penalized for pass interference and Grbac picked up a penalty for intentional grounding, pushing the Chiefs to their own 45. They wound up punting and the game headed into overtime.

"We had a great opportunity," Grbac said. "We let it slip right through our hands."

Once in overtime, it was all Titans, who won the coin toss and needed just five plays to move 48 yards for Del Greco's winning field goal with 12:02 remaining.

"I overheard a number of our players saying it shouldn't be that hard," Tennessee Coach Jeff Fisher said. "The fact of the matter is that it is that hard to win in the NFL."

Tennessee got into overtime thanks to some late help from Neil O'Donnell. The backup quarterback came in with 6:25 left after Steve McNair was carted off with a bruised chest. McNair was taken to Baptist Hospital for tests.

O'Donnell was sacked with 3:11 to go, ending a drive. He didn't waste his next opportunity, moving the Titans 56 yards in eight plays, capped by an eight-yard pass to Yancey Thigpen with 50 seconds remaining for a 14-14 tie.

"We said all along we are very fortunate to have two great quarterbacks," tight end Frank Wycheck said. "You can't win in this league nowadays without two solid starters. Neil drove us up and down the field."

The Chiefs controlled most of the game with a relentless pass rush that came up with four sacks. The hit that knocked out McNair came from end Duane Clemons. McNair walked to the sideline, but laid down on the ground and was carted to the locker room.

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